Four Helicopters, The Queen of England and a Sofa...

I've been incredibly busy since my last post, what with all my new students starting their various courses this week in addition to a raft of other things going on.

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 1

 

I spent the weekend in my favourite British city, Birmingham. The reason for going there was to hear the premier of Karlheinz Stockhausen's unperformed last work, "Mittwoch Aus Licht". a truly unique and phenomenal 'opera' (in the loosest sense of the word). Scored to the tiniest detail for actors, electronics, lights, soloists, choirs, string quartet, camels and four helicopters, this piece is not likely to be performed again any time soon. (The photographs in this section might seem a bit odd, but I didn't want to take photographs during any of the performance, so these come from the bits before and after sections started.)

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 37

 

The performance lasted about 7 hours (with two half-hour intervals) and took place in an abandoned chemical factory, where the chemical smell still lingered. It was hard to know what to expect. I was at the final performance of the series (5 in total) and had deliberately avoided hearing too much about it and James, a friend of long-standing with whom I attended the performance also kept me in the dark, despite having seen it twice in the run already: a true fan! Actually, after the performance finished, I regretted not having been able to see it more than once: music of such complexity cannot be understood on one hearing, though I was familiar with some of the sections.

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 35

 

The opera is divided into six main sections:

 

Wednesday Greeting (Mittwochs-Gruss), an electronic work which is performed octophonically around the auditorium with the audience sitting in complete darkness, whilst bursts of light illuminate groups of actors and dancers performing little tableaux. This is a preamble to the four scenes which follow and outlines the themes of the work.

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 30

 

World Parliament (Welt-Parlament), a work for solo voices and choir in the form of a discussion in which delegates from all around the world sing. According to the lavish programme notes, "in session above the clouds on the top floor of a skyscraper or in a floating glass dome[...] The president introduces the topic of debate, love." (Emphases in the original.)

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 29

 

Orchestra Finalists (Orchester-Finalisten), in which the orchestra are suspended above the audience - who lie on the floor - and play along to an electronic score, often acting out parts. In this section, the trombone player ends up in a water-filled paddling pool, the double-bass player roars and a man with a smoking hat wanders about... who can say?

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht -

 

Helicopter String Quartet (Helikopter-Streichquartett), probably the most audacious piece of music ever written: a string quartet depart the hall to be piloted into the skies above the auditorium, each instrument in a separate helicopter with which they must play along, moderating their vibrato to fit in with the helicopter rotors, which are also scored! The whole thing is mixed live to the audience in the auditorium.

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 18

 

Michaelion, a frankly incomprehensible piece of brilliant nonsense for orchestra, electronics, pantomime camel, actors, and a short-wave radio. From the programme: "First Luciamel communicates short-wave events via a short-wave receiver..."

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 15

 

Wednesday Farewell (Mittwochs-Abschied), the audience leave the auditorium to a different space where they meet and cheer the performers while films and an electronic score are played.

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 13

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 5

 

Mittwoch Aus Licht - 12

 

I am at a loss as to what to make of the whole thing! I loved the music: 6+ hours passed in a blink. I didn't understand most of the action but the music makes the most fantastic sense without needing to understand what Stockhausen "meant" by it. In a way, it is unbelievable that it was actually performed in its entirety at all and everyone involved should be praised for their vision and energy in getting it together. Another feather in the cap for Birmingham!

 


 

North Glasgow College - where I teach - has been host to the Association For Contemporary Jewellery's current touring show, "Diamond Jubilee", which I have had the enormous pleasure of preparing for and setting up. The theme of the show is to reflect - I choose the word carefully, for it is not necessary a celebration - the sixty-year reign of Queen Elizabeth the Second of England, First of Scotland, our current monarch. As a committed republican, against monarchy in all forms, I wasn't really sure about what this exhibition would bring, and although it has been in Birmingham, London and Edinburgh already, the first time I saw the work was when I unpacked it to show it at the college.

The private view was this evening:

 

Diamond Jubilee - Private View

 

A most excellent show it is, too! My own favourite pieces are Maria Hanson's "C60": 

 

Diamond Jubilee - Maria Hanson

 

And Dr Grace Page's "Miracle Cure for the Monarchy", a witty and stylish chatelaine:

 

Diamond Jubilee - Grace Page

 

Star of the show as far as public response, however, is probably Zoe Robertson's remarkable crown made from flocked jelly moulds, "Flock on, Queenie!":

 

Diamond Jubilee - Zoe Robertson

 

You can even have a souvenir "diamond ring"!

 

Diamond Jubilee - Souvenir Ring

 


 

Those of you who have received your copy of "Metalsmith" magazine will know that I have some work in the current Exhibition in Print, "Gothic: Sinister Pleasures" and SNAG are taking the physical exhibition to SOFA in Chicago in November and then onto the Metal Museum in Memphis. I've decided that I will go to SOFA for this event - hope to see some of my online associates there too, of course - and as it is a Very Important Event, am making a brooch to wear to the first night:

 

Macbeth Brooch - WIP - 8

 

Made from some sort of cap for a container which was found many years ago in a derelict garage in Dennistoun, silver and gemstones, it is based on the line from Shakespeare's "Macbeth", "It will have blood, they say: blood will have blood" and is loosely modelled on Victorian interpretations of Scottish plaid brooches. I will, of course, be wearing it with my kilt!

Views: 69

Tags: birmingham, birmingham opera, chicago, diamond jubilee, grace page, jewellery, jewelry, justified sinner, macbeth, maria hanson, More…mittwoch aus licht, north glasgow college, shakespeare, sofa, stockhausen, zoe robertson

Comment

You need to be a member of crafthaus to add comments!

Join crafthaus

Comment by The Justified Sinner on August 29, 2012 at 2:41pm

Haha! How excellent. I hadn't heard of this before. Thanks for letting me know.

Comment by Brigitte Martin on August 29, 2012 at 9:23am

I'd think Wales would be another likely location... Take a look at this:

Wife Carrying and Worm Charming are just a few of the events featuring in The World Alternative Games currently taking place in Wales! http://LDN.in/o6ETqq

Already famous for its unusual and quirky events, Llanwrtyd Wells is now proud to present: The World Alternative Games 2012.
The idea for the Games was born after it was announced that London would be hosting the Olympics in 2012. As one of the greatest sporting events on the calendar, it seemed a wasted opportunity not to hold some sort of celebration in Llanwrtyd to commemorate this.

Comment by The Justified Sinner on August 29, 2012 at 2:23am

Ah yes, but also so very German: Stockhausen specifies the pantomime camel in the score! The best of both worlds, I think.

I think you could be right about the "very British" part, though. It is hard to imagine such a crazy work by anyone happening anywhere except here... perhaps Japan?

Comment by Brigitte Martin on August 28, 2012 at 6:26pm
A pantomime camel. Priceless. Thanks for the in-depth report. Outrageous fun !! So very British. And I mean that in a good way .... ;-)

A modern metalsmith/metal artist can be found working in traditional metals as well as in nontraditional materials. The designs can range from the classic to the extravagant, and the techniques can either be centuries old or decidedly current.

The wide range of expression preferences, design options, materials, and processes has lead within our field to unfavorable misconceptions, misunderstandings and in some cases even outright disdain between artists. Can the metal and jewelry field overcome its division and send out a much-needed signal?

We appreciate and respect our historical past and acknowledge that current materials have a rightful place in jewelry/object making!

Arriving at this message is the goal of this traveling exhibition opening at the SNAG conference in Boston 2015, Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, CA - Aug 19 - Sept 20, 2015, Equinox Gallery, San Antonio, TX - Oct 16 - Nov 15, 2015, Baltimore Jewelry Center, Baltimore, MD - Dec 11, 2015 - Jan 08, 2016, Brooklyn Metal Works, Brooklyn, NY - Feb 5 - Mar 4, 2016, Thomas Mann's Gallery I/O April 1 - June 25, 2016.

DETAILS on exhibition premise, call for artists, submission guidelines.....

OFF TO THE RACES:

Rachel and Brigitte got started on their own cooperation. Follow along and comment.

Latest Activity

Emily Hickman liked Robert Villamagna's photo
22 minutes ago
The Justified Sinner posted a blog post

Texas!

I've just got back from almost a week in the Lone Star State which I was visiting on the invitation of my friends and colleagues, James Thurman and Umut Demirguc Thurman. What a trip! Based in Denton, Dallas, the main reason for my visit was to speak to the students at the University of North Texas and to work with them on a couple of practical workshops. Before…See More
35 minutes ago
Rameen Ahmed posted a photo
2 hours ago
Kim Cridler and Jessica Calderwood are now friends
2 hours ago
Chanda Glendinning joined Brigitte Martin's group
Thumbnail

Crafthaus Project Grant 2014

Every Fall, crafthaus awards a micro project grant to a crafthaus member regardless of location, professional background, or craft field. The grant is unrestricted and intended to provide assistance for a personal or group project.All projects will be published anonymously, without revealing any personal information about the submitting party.The crafthaus membership and the general public review all proposed projects and vote for the one they wish to see supported. One vote per person.Voting…See More
3 hours ago
The Justified Sinner commented on Brigitte Martin's blog post Marine Life in Glass - Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka
" I saw the flowers and plants in Boston. These are incredible works and really have to be seen to be appreciated. I wish I had been able to see the animals."
4 hours ago
Brigitte Martin posted a status
5 hours ago
chesley williams joined Brigitte Martin's group
Thumbnail

Co:Operation GARNISH

Can the metal and jewelry field overcome its division and send out a much-needed signal?We appreciate and respect our historical past and acknowledge that current materials have a rightful place in jewelry/object making! Arriving at this message is the goal of this exhibition cooperatively arranged by Rachel Timmins and Brigitte Martin.Please join this group to stay informed !! This is the official exhibition blog.See More
5 hours ago
chesley williams liked Brigitte Martin's group Co:Operation GARNISH
5 hours ago
nora rochel posted photos
7 hours ago
nora rochel joined Lorena Angulo's group
Thumbnail

Behind the Brooch part 2

I am happy to share with all of you more images of wonderful brooches from artists around the word. I had so many submissions on my first call that I had to create a second part exhibition. This exhibition focuses on a side of the brooch we usually do not pay much attention to: the back side. Our first look is naturally always trained at the front, but when we do take the time to look at the back of a brooch, it will oftentimes reveal a surprising aspect for us, a delightful little secret. With…See More
8 hours ago
Vicky Saragouda liked Stefanis Alexandres's photo
8 hours ago

Instill - Material Matters 2014 - The School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University, UK

INSTILL- material matters offers an opportunity to experience the recent works by MA postgraduates from The School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University, one of the most important and internationally renowned contemporary jewelry programs in Europe.

Crafthaus has been privileged to show work from the graduating jewelry classes of the Birmingham City University for the past 5 years in a row. Thank you Professor Astfalck for this wonderful opportunity!

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

© 2014   Created by Brigitte Martin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service