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© Eadweard Muybridge

Inconspicuously but relentlessly, Finnissy weaves one piece of music into another – often one pulse against another.

About the concert

Michael Finnissy The History of Photography in Sound (1996-2000) Cycle for piano solo
German premiere of the complete cycle

Sat, 4. Sept: Chapters I-VII (concert and lecture)
Sun, 5. Sept.: Chapters VIII-XI (concert and lecture)

The British composer Michael Finnissy is a prominent exponent of the so-called »New Complexity« – a music that is extremely dense and contains a rapid succession of events, rhythmic complexity and the constant reworking of musical material. The paradoxical title of his piano cycle The History of Photography in Sound is derived from Finnissy’s eccentric process of composition because it is similar to the filming and editing of a film: the material he works with is a never-ending archive of music by other composers. He reverses, interleaves and overlays quotations from composers including Bach, Berlioz, Paganini and Debussy as well as elements of folk and pop music from around the world so that they are barely recognisable. Inconspicuously but relentlessly, he weaves one piece of music into another – often one pulse against another. Removed from their old contexts, quotations and familiar motifs lose their artistic meaning and in Finnissy‘s reworking they gain a new, documentary function due to their social and historical significance. This is music from and about music.

Finnissy allowed himself to be guided through elven entirely different chapters by art historical phenomena such as Eadweard Muybridge and Edward Munch along with philosophical ideas about photography and reproduction by Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes and Walter Benjamin.

The British pianist and musicologist Ian Pace will divide the German premiere of this almost six-hour cycle across two afternoons, prefacing each part with a personal introduction, introducing the audience to this fascinating world that defies the borders between sound, image and time in a manner that is both playful and monumental.

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