1 sqm stopped time in the Süddeutsche Zeitung
Rarely read such beautiful lines about my work:
“What, in the midst of the monastery building yard, reminds one a bit of spruced up voting booths from the outside, holds a “square meter of stopped time” in its respective interior. Artist Mathis Nitschke has built loudspeakers into the smooth white wooden walls, allowing those who make their way into these chambers some silence upon arrival before a sound envelops them out of nowhere. The quarter note of a sound stretches by the technology to a multiple of duration and an intangible of sound.
We can go wherever we want in our world: Nowhere else will we hear and feel, as we do in this confined, embracing space, how mutable the effect of sounds is when their context is wrenched from them. It’s exciting and evocative, especially as you feel anew and differently each time you visit. And the two-dimensional unit of measurement square meter expands quite quickly into a third dimension of space and a fourth dimension of time. One leaves the place of action with the desire for one’s very own, cherished sounds that extend into eternity. Whistling, one strolls home across the nightly pavement and dreams of Arcadia there.”
(translated by deepl.com)
1 sqm stopped time. Soon in Ebersberg
already for the third time the Ebersberger Kunstverein (near Munich) organizes the ARKADIEN-Festival from May 19th! The theme of the third edition “Brave New World” is a reference to Aldous Huxley’s novel of the same name, which sketches a dystopian future as it becomes more and more reality in the eyes of some.
I am represented with my commissioned work “1 sqm stopped time”: Closed chambers of 1 sqm footprint stand in the middle of the urban space and invite you to listen. Extremely short sounds are extended to the maximum: the fractions of a second of a gunshot become 10 minutes of music. The surprise of a fist blow turns into a consoling elegy. The moment of an explosion becomes an orchestral state of Wagnerian proportions.
“When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other” (Martin Crimp) at the Schauspiel Köln
About yesterday’s premiere Die deutsche Bühne writes: “With moderately used light moods (light: Michael Gööck) and sound carpets (Mathis Nitschke) images and scenes are created here that remind of beautifully oppressive atmospheres in films by David Lynch. While the woman is forced into a wedding dress, she tells of a violent dream of escape and an act of violence against an animal. Thomas Jonigk’s convincing German-language premiere production altogether creates the world of a nightmare in which nothing is clear and yet painful themes are grippingly played out.”
Visit the performances at Schauspiel Köln!
Hopium Machina Vision at the Paris Mondial d’Auto 2022
For this high-end hydrogen-powered vehicle, I developed an information-driven sound concept for the user interface and an immersive sound installation for the booth at the Paris Mondial d’Auto 2022, where the unveiling of this innovative automobile caused quite a stir.
Read more here >>>
The most prominent beta tester of the Planet app so far
Last weekend, when conductor Krzysztof Urbański was a guest of the Munich Philharmonic (the first time since he conducted the concert recording of the “Planets” (Gustav Holst) used in my app in February 2020), I got to show him the Planets app.
What can I say. He was deeply impressed and took so much time that he almost missed the beginning of his following concert. But then, the orchestra doesn’t start without him.
The intimacy of the sound from within the orchestra and the possibility of moving around within the orchestral sound were a completely new and exciting experience for him.
The artistic director of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Paul Müller, was also present at the appointment and was surprised and impressed by how much the experience captivated him after his initial technical panic.
For me, the encounter was a very important confirmation of my thesis that smartphones and headphones can be used to unlock valuable novel musical experiences. Indeed, here one is experiencing a complete symphonic work in its “full-length” arc. It’s a world premiere in a tech-savvy scene that, until now, has rarely gone beyond interesting and curious but brief morsels.
Now why did I write above that Urbański was the most prominent beta tester so far? Because since the update released yesterday The Planets can be experienced not only with German narration but also in English. Both language versions were recorded by the great Cologne actor Stefko Hanushevsky.
In addition to the additional language, many more locations have been added where The Planets can be experienced, in Germany besides Munich e.g. in Berlin, Augsburg, Ingolstadt, Nuremberg, Cologne or Hamburg. Internationally you can now find localizations e.g. in London, Amsterdam, New York, San Francisco and many more.
Have a look at the map on the project website, all current locations are listed there. And the plan is to add many more. Feel free to let us know if you miss a localization near you!
Why digital music outreach is a good idea
Rita Argauer writes today on the occasion of the “Planets” app on br-klassik.de:
“The question remains: Can an app replace the concert experience? Probably not. Classical music still sounds best live. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon. But if you think about it in terms of outreach, this kind of music-aesthetic experience is worth a lot. Because here, classical music is not explained in a dry or educational way. In the “Planets” app, music can be experienced in a low-threshold, good-sounding and technically fascinating and equally playful way. And it’s accessible to everyone, even to people who don’t usually get to hear classical music.”
Read the full article here >>> (German only)
Death – what’s that?
Radio play by Gesche Piening, with music by Mathis Nitschke
First broadcast on March 30, 2022 at 10:03 p.m. on DLF Kultur
Broadcast on June 10, 2022 at 9:03 p.m. on BR on Bayern 2
Or listen to it here (in German): https://www.hoerspielundfeature.de/hoerspiel-ueber-kinder-tod-und-trauer-tot-was-soll-das-sein-100.html
Helping grieving children is hard. It also leads adults to emotional limits, makes helpless, sometimes speechless. The radio play tells the story of people who were confronted with death at a very early age and quickly learned to remain silent.
Children and young people approach the subject of mourning, death and dying in a much more unbiased way than adults. However, their specific questions, idiosyncratic fantasies and coping strategies often silence those around them. Children quickly learn that it is better not to ask questions about death if they do not want to provoke unpleasant situations. Dealing with people who are grieving is not something we take for granted. Almost reflexively, we push grief into the private sphere, where those affected withdraw until it “doesn’t hurt so much anymore”. This experience shapes the mourners for a lifetime. Who will be with us one day? And how can we stand by people who are grieving?
By Gesche Piening
Directed by the author
with David Bennent, Patrick Güldenberg, Steffi Kühnert, Martin Rentzsch, Linn Reusse, Katharina Marie Schubert and Jörg Schüttauf
Music: Mathis Nitschke
Sound and technology: Thomas Monnerjahn and Eugenie Kleesattel
Assistant director: Susann Schütz
Dramaturgy: Barbara Gerland
Production: Deutschlandfunk Kultur with Bayerischer Rundfunk 2022
“Brother Eichmann” at the Schauspiel Köln
Cordial invitation to the premiere and the performances of the monologue with the overwhelming JÖRG RATJEN as Adolf Eichmann starting on October 23 at Schauspiel Köln!
Info and tickets: https://www.schauspiel.koeln/spielplan/premieren-21-22/bruder-eichmann/
“BROTHER EICHMANN” by HEINAR KIPPHARDT
DIRECTION: THOMAS JONIGK
STAGE & COSTUME DESIGN: LISA DÄSSLER
MUSIC/SOUND: MATHIS NITSCHKE
DRAMATURGY: STAWRULA PANAGIOTAKI
“In 1961, Adolf Eichmann, the planner and organizer of the Holocaust, was sentenced to death by hanging in Jerusalem. In one of the most highly regarded trials of the post-war period, unbearable details about the National Socialist extermination machinery and its perpetrators come to light for the world public, because the defendant talks.
Author and dramaturge Heinar Kipphardt – along with Peter Weiss and Rolf Hochhuth one of the main representatives of documentary theater in the 1960s – distills over 3,500 pages of interrogation and court transcripts into a theatrical text. The play is premiered posthumously in Munich in 1983. “A trial has in common with a play that both begin and end with the perpetrator, and not with the victim,” writes Hanna Arendt in her account EICHMANN IN JERUSALEM. Kipphardt’s play brings this perpetrator, this “brother” (“Bruder Hitler” – Thomas Mann), uncomfortably close.
From the rehearsals (video by me):
am broke without me
a radio play by Gesche Piening, with music by Mathis Nitschke
first broadcast on Friday, 10.09.2021 at 21:05 on BR Hörspielartmix (Bayern 2)
and on Sunday, 29.09.2021 at 22:03 on Deutschlandfunk Kultur
Or already now in the BR radio play podcast:
Being broke, going bankrupt, living heavily in debt, filing for personal insolvency – these are threats we’d rather not think about in detail and certainly don’t want to experience ourselves. But what if it does happen?
In “am broke without me”, the shaken self-esteem of those to whom it does happen, the despair of those who can no longer keep up, and the hope that everything will one day be the way it was.
Text and direction: Gesche Piening
Composition: Mathis Nitschke
With: Stephan Bissmeier, Katja Bürkle, Martin Feifel, Julia Gräfner, Raphaela Möst, Andreas Neumann, Murali Perumal, Nina Steils and Cathrin Störmer
Double bass: Leonhard Schilde
Percussion: Erik Costa
Sound and technology: Michael Krogmann, Adele Kurziel
Assistant director: Pauline Seiberlich
dramaturgy: Katja Huber
Production: BR/ DKultur 2021
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
The island of the gods
greetings from Neubrandenburg. Together with 9 young musicians from Romania, Lithuania, Egypt, Austria, Luxembourg and Germany, all of them on the threshold between winning competitions and professional careers, I am working on a concert very close to the audience, which we will present on the
Saturday 31.7.2021, 11:30
at the Detect Classic Festival in Neubrandenburg
on the grounds of the airport Trollenhagen. The idea of the music festival is as sympathetic as it is grandiose:
“On a weekend in summer, we land in the middle of the sound of a symphony orchestra, enjoy live music and take off at night in the light and fog of electronic music. We explore classical and ambient, electronic and contemporary, avant-garde, beats, rhythm, room acoustics and blur boundaries between club and concert hall.”
The initiative for our concert project, with which we will be guests at the festival, comes from the European Union of Music Competitions for Youth EMCY. For more than 50 years, EMCY has not only been organizing competitions throughout Europe, but has also been linking their young graduates with each other and providing them with new perspectives on making and performing music in special projects.
For me, this project marks my debut as a concert designer, taking a collaborative approach from the start. In several online calls since April, we have used various techniques from design thinking to jointly develop not only a concert program but also a staging method in which each individual can find their own contribution – and thus themselves.
We will use the lounge on the festival grounds, an open tepee equipped with hammocks and couches, to facilitate an atmosphere of relaxed discovery and listening. There is no central stage, but the musicians in variable lineups will appear in ever-changing places inside and outside the audience.
The title for the concert is our main work “Pulau Dewata” by Claude Vivier, in English “The Island of the Gods”. Inspired by Balinese gamelan music, the piece is composed without predetermined orchestration. I resist my impulse to create an arrangement and trust the collective here as well: in the next few days we will develop the orchestration together.
In addition to Vivier, we play “Reflected” by Manuela Kerer, a piece that reacts directly to the audience in terms of sound and thus actively involves the listeners in the musical events. Every morning before the rehearsal, I use the opportunity to do “Ear Cleaning” with the group, with listening exercises by R. Murray Schafer.
The concert ranges from violin duets by Luciano Berio to Bulgarian Racheniza to musical; always surprising, touching, inspiring.
Touching the soul has future!
One of my most striking memories from my younger years is this sentence from a conversation with a Russian physicist in the evening over one too many beers. As silly as this sentence actually is, it comes to my mind again and again. Especially on days like today, when I hear enthusiastic young musicians playing live(!) and I get goose bumps.
It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced that.
We are all already looking with concern to the coming autumn and thus to a further future in which no souls will be touched. I would therefore like to join the call of the Munich Chamber Orchestra:
“We can all contribute together to ensure that concert operations can take place without restrictions as far as possible. Appeals to politicians alone will not be enough. If as many of us as possible get vaccinated, we increase the likelihood that the pandemic will be manageable – and at the same time the chance of the fulfilling and enriching concerts we all want.”
And my next newsletter will be shorter again, I promise.
P.S.: See and hear Maxim Tzekov and Arthur Possig here at the first audition for the Racheniza: https://vimeo.com/579183629/c927b831cf