Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. In the front: Kerstin Avemo
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. In the front: Kerstin Avemo | © Volker Beushausen, Ruhrtriennale 2022

»Ich geh unter lauter Schatten« is music theatre entirely in the spirit of the Ruhrtriennale: conceived for the enormous dimensions of the Jahrhunderthalle in Bochum, it dissolves the boundaries of the imaginable regarding sound, scenery and poetry.

About the production

What shapes life more than the idea that it is finite? In reality, that small step over the threshold at its end is an eternity. In his final work, Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (Four Songs to Cross the Threshold), Gérard Grisey sends the angel across this ominous threshold first, then civilisation, then the voice and, finally, the human race. And each time, the magical membrane seems more porous. In his final composition, Glaubst du an die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (Do You Believe in the Immortality of the Soul), Claude Vivier looks the end of his life directly in the eye. And sketches it precisely as it would later turn out – as if death had moved into his life long ago. Does life also remain present in death?

In the music theatre creation Ich geh unter lauter Schatten (I walk among many shadows), four women follow these rites of passage, pushing open doors to related worlds of sound and ideas by Giacinto Scelsi and Iannis Xenakis – and through their transcendental exercises they allow some sense of metaphysical existence to become apparent in earthly life. Grisey’s musique liminale (liminal music) is itself a product of transcendence: he enters the limits of the note and creates an entire vocabulary out of these fine microtones. Scelsi had begun this journey into the impalpable interior of the note in meditative séances and opened up a territory that paved the way for both Grisey and Xenakis. In their hands, stiff, limiting material becomes soft and lively. Concepts such as interior and exterior, or life and after-life, become redundant. In Grisey’s closing lullaby, at the latest there is an acknowledgement that the drastic gulf between life and death is perhaps only a chimera generated by human fears: one that we have lost the ability to see through – or that we never learned in the first place.

Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil/ Tempus ex Machina: Casa Ricordi SrL., Milano Vertreten durch G. Ricordi & Co. Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH, Berlin

Nuits/ Okanagon: © Éditions Salabert, Paris. Vertreten durch G. Ricordi & Co. Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH, Berlin

Glaubst Du an die Unsterblichkeit der Seele: Boosey & Hawkes · Bote & Bock GmbH

Produced by Ruhrtriennale.

Audio introduction

Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. In the forefront: Caroline Melzer. In the Background: Chorwerk Ruhr and Klangforum Wien.
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. In the forefront: Caroline Melzer. In the Background: Chorwerk Ruhr and Klangforum Wien. | © Volker Beushausen, Ruhrtriennale 2022
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler | © Volker Beushausen, Ruhrtriennale 2022
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. Clockwise: Kerstion Avemo (blue costum), Kristina Stanek (brown costum), Sophia Burgos (white costum), Klangforum Wien , musical direction Peter Rundel.
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. Clockwise: Kerstion Avemo (blue costum), Kristina Stanek (brown costum), Sophia Burgos (white costum), Klangforum Wien , musical direction Peter Rundel. | © Volker Beushausen, Ruhrtriennale 2022
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. In the forefront: Kristina Stanek.
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. In the forefront: Kristina Stanek. | © Volker Beushausen, Ruhrtriennale 2022
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. Sophia Burgos
Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, Elisabeth Stöppler. Sophia Burgos | © Volker Beushausen, Ruhrtriennale 2022

ZEIT FÜR KULTUR – Podcast

Ruhrtriennale 2022 – Behind the Scenes: Ich geh unter lauter Schatten

Gérard Grisey — »Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil«
Recorded 2001, Cologne, WDR Funkhaus
Catherine Dubosc/ Klangforum Wien/ Sylvain Cambreling

From the magazine

Dates and tickets

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