New philosophic interpretations of the music from today


Differences in German scope

(There is a) very recent production in Viena, in the Wiener Festwochen there was a presentation of Schubert’s Winterreise in collaboration with William Kentridge, who is a very famous artist of southafrica, specialist for film and image film […] (a) recent newspaper, Die Ziet, talks about this project, because is something unusual, (and it asks) do we need this film for a music which does exists since long long time?

“Does Franz Schubert needs that of our most inner images to be opened out? Are our ears, nowadays under the dictatorship of visual culture, so reduced that without the visual part it can no longer play its role as a sense? Is it possible to value a music genre, as intimate and unspectacular as Lied is, for it? Is it a new revaluation of Lied if the image also appears? […] The answer is really uncomfortable. It has been possible to make this project, to bring this ritual to all the joyful people of art’s world, to all the followers of this musical and poetic form and create that magic world that, for example, the singer Diskau with his work before.  The interpretation with images causes a fresh and atractive action as the drama from Schubert was played by the very first time […] we need Schubert, and we need him to complete the social utopia that, ultimately, can’t be forgotten, they have to be re-dreamed” [1]

In some fields this discussion is not really new but one could say it’s more ten years ago or twenty years ago, today because of the feeling of the young generation appreciate more elements with films, more concepts with intermedia and that’s a question old in the field of contemporary music that’s a reason I’m talking about this, the relationship with music and images, music and film. It’s, of course, not very new, the relationship was also important, for example, for Debussy […] the inspiration of terrenal and impressionistic elements was so important to create really a new style and so you can follow the line between Debussy and today and you’ll find lots of composers who are inspired by pictures and also by films, that’s clear, but to point out what’s new.

I would like to concentrate for the first step on a book from Albrecht Wellmer who is a very well known philosopher in Germany who is coming from the tradition of Theodor Adorno, of course, but he tried to go further […] to give descriptions from the point of view of a philosopher concerning all the tradition in Darmstadt after the Second World War.

Bezug über Musik and Spräche is the tittle. It (consists) to find out how important the creation of a new language was not only the voidance of the old one, which is clear. It’s a very big step from the new classics elements before the world war and to the period after it […] the creation of a new language with new ideas of images.

I think every living composer could be proud of have a text from a philosopher of fifty page which is a really attempt to integrate his ideas in an overview on theories […] the idea is that Helmut Lachenmann created a specific type of Musik mit Bilder , music with images. Musik mit Bilder is the title, the subtitle of his opera Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern (The Match Seller).

His idea of music is here, in this book, explained as Musik mit Bilder, which means there’s a new space in our imagination, concrete elements based on the idea to reduce all classical effects and ideas. You can make something like deconstruction or redaction of all classical effects and elements and construction of new, and so that is for me a really important example that the dialectic between semantization and disemantization is now in discussion in German’s speaking countries more than ever before. As you could read all books from ten years ago […] this disemantization is a total avoid of semantic elements and now you’ve some projects to create another language for the relationship between sound and semantic.

“Inside a “inner musicality” we can develop a process related to a world music context in the modern music (new music) in which, in an advance way, we could reach a time-superposition of a semantization and disemantization, which are the two categories from the musical materiality […]With semantization I mean – quoting the author- the closure or the block of new possibilities in the language and in the musical materiality. Tonal music development was a really good example of this semantization from a natural music materiality, that’s why the Nietzsche’s quote for understand this large process between music and poetry is so interesting, because, at the end, he  said that the musical form can be, at the same time, a definition of a terminology and from what’s typical from the emotion”. [2]


A lot of discussions concerning Albrecht Wellmer, but also others, concerning one point to avoid to be too close within the space which gave us the tradition of absolute music. To be more open, to open other fields and then come the main point to be closer to the bilden Kunst of the art.

Now in Germany there’s something like a revolution concerning the collaboration between artists and composers. Collaboration in a new way, which means to think about also, if it’s really necessary, Musikhochschule, conservatory for music, and universities for arts. If you can really divide those parts it’s more than then years ago a really discussion and one person who was one of the first who spoke about that then or fifteen years ago was Peter Ablinger. Austrian composer living in Berlin who studied art and music and who is not sure in which field he prefers to live. Now he made a project, for example, this is of course art, […] Arboretum. It’s a landscape opera, which means he wants to create sound of nature.

“Lately I realized that was produced a special reliance in the music through the institutions, orchestras, collectives like ensambles, the academy, education, the instrumental tradition and the concert halls and the sciences are not responsible of this prominent historicity in the business or the musical essence in society but also participating, en lots of cases, like corrupters of the new music music or, at least, like creators of an atmosphere of prejudices and taking of a post which is confronted, in so many chases, to the act of musical creation which some of this institutions, sometimes, tried to develop” [3]

Peter Ablinger is now integrated in some thesis, some idea of philosophers of the next generation compare to Albrecht Wellmer. I would like to give you one example of a very often discuss book. This book is called The Digital Revolution and is coming from Harry Lehmann. This book was published one year ago in Mainz and I found in the internet one of the main introduction sentence of the presententation of Harry Lehmann in Harvard University and I would like to present you this first sentence of his idea:

Big change does mean for Harry Lehmann and for some others that all in the field of contemporary music, to say the truth all in the field of music, now is changing. All would be presented by youtube and another platforms in the internet. All elements of regarding music are changing, (and they) will be changed during the next ten or twenty years, and all elements of concert presentations and so will be changed as well. What is really important (is that) all institutions will change, have to change. That means […] (to) find other strategies. Opera houses, music universities and all relevant elements and, of course, our head will changed […] there’s a big need to be aware of the new possibilities of digital era.

“ Only digital revolution change currently the field, only it can make to go back to absolute music, only this exit is the one that can get out the music, contemporary music, the new music from the periferia role or from it’s own isolation that have in so many cases” [4]

So, now we ask if there are positive examples in Harry Lehmann’s world, also, to say the truth, Albrecht Wellmer’s world. We are coming to elements of combining video and orchestra instruments which are mentioned in Harry Lehmann’s book and I will show you something from Johannes Kreidler a composer based in Berlin (Shutter Piece).

The situation is very simple […] there’s an ensemble, a really well known, Ensemble Recherche from Freiburg. In the concerto there’s a video with elements in some section of a football match during the, not the recent championship but the last or so, and of course it will concentrate on the question of intensity of music in conflict to the other elements so reflection of the possibility to concentrate on music and something more […] for Johannes Kreidler is very normal and he feels the need to give to all his new pieces […] the possibility to be heard all over the world (youtube). For Johannes Kriedler is unbeilable and unthinkable to present a string quartet without video, without media elements. It’s old-fashioned […] for a part of the younger generations. They said, as we could hear in Darmstadt last spring, one month ago : “Ok, we don’t only have string quartets, we have the opportunity of the internet why shouldn’t we use it”.


(There’s a) conflict because of one element, the element of entertainment […] (Some) composes says “yes, music would be also something like entertainment”. In his conference Helmut Lachenmann said “ entertainment is for me nothing concerning, nothing in contact with art. Art is in one side and entertainment is in the other side” and so we are in the middle of a conflict which really exist. For this conflict, of course, the impulse, the impact, of Harry Lehmann and the philosophers like him are necessary and important.

There are a few music journals in Germany one is MusikTexte and another one is Neue Zeitschrift Musik, a third one is Positionen and, at least, Positionen, a Berlin’s published music magazine, is really in an intensive way making something like informations or propaganda for the new possibilities of digital composing or combining digital elements with concert elements. 

Another example of this is Brigitta Muntendorf a composer from Cologne. She tried to combine a flute, or some flutists, with video.

Flute Cover. Public privacy is the subtitle. Some part is in the concerto and mostly are coming from the video during the concert and, of course, between public and privacy is difficult to find the difference but that’s the topic of the whole piece.

[…] There are flutist from all over the world that has sent the video and she tried to make a composition with this elements. In the concert situation this does not exist, but only the videos from all over the world but the rhythms of the videos, and the music, of course, and the score of the main flutist as well. So it’s a combination between digital elements from the internet and concert situation. 

Of course there’s also music avoiding the concert hall, totally only for the internet situation. It’s clear but this is rather a new attempt to make more something like that concerning this relationship. 

Full conference in podcast:




[2] Wellmer, A. Musik und Sprache. Hanser, Carl GmbH + Co. Neuauflage (2012)

[3] Peter Ablinger. Unkown source.

[4] Lehmann. H. Die digitale Revolution der Musik: Eine Musikphilosophie. Schott Music (2013)




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