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: 68

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.

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

Rachel and Brigitte will be appearing on the wonderful Jay Whaley Metalsmith Benchtalk Radio Show, talking about the Co:Operation Garnish project, how they came up with the idea, what the project is about and the plans moving forward.

The radio show will be LIVE on air September 25, 2014 @ 6PM EST / 3 PM Pacific.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whaleystudios

Listeners can call in during the show via phone, skype, or directly connect via the blog talk website.

Latest Activity

Glen S. Gardner commented on Brigitte Martin's blog post Patrick Dougherty - Stickwork
"Hi Patrick,  Nice to see you here!  "
59 minutes ago
Mo Schreffler 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
3 hours ago
Brigitte Martin posted blog posts
4 hours ago
Brigitte Martin commented on Brigitte Martin's group Co:Operation GARNISH
"Rachel Timmins and I are very excited about our upcoming Jay Whaley Metalsmith Benchtalk radio interview on Sep 25 @ 6PM EST / 3 PM Pacific! We got busy working on our project this week and will be able to share some exciting news for CoOperation…"
5 hours ago
Mo Schreffler posted photos
6 hours ago
Chuck Domitrovich 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
20 hours ago
Harriete Estel Berman commented on Brigitte Martin's video
Thumbnail

Artisanal Pencil Sharpening

"Can't decide if he is serious or not. Here is how I sharpen pencils. In the 9:27 minutes of this video I can sharpen many pencils perfectly.   "
20 hours ago
Roxy Lentz commented on Brigitte Martin's video
Thumbnail

Artisanal Pencil Sharpening

"Boy am I glad I saw this. I learned, or thought I learned how to sharpen a pencil with a jack knife at my father's knee. But he neglected to tell me how lucrative it could be, and how exacting. If David Rees would have been my mentor, I would…"
yesterday
Peter Antor posted photos
yesterday
Brigitte Martin posted videos
yesterday
Emily Hickman liked Angela Gerhard's photo
yesterday
Emily Hickman posted photos
Thursday
2Roses liked Brigitte Martin's blog post Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should
Thursday
The Society of Arts and Crafts posted an event
Thumbnail

CraftBoston Holiday at Hynes Convention Center

December 5, 2014 at 10am to December 7, 2014 at 5pm
Comprised of 175 exhibitors, CraftBoston Holiday is a highly regarded, must-attend event for artists, collectors, and craft enthusiasts. Presented at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, CraftBoston Holiday is conveniently located in a fashionable, concentrated shopping district perfect for the holiday season. Come for the day to shop for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts, meet and support the makers, and learn about fine contemporary craft. Dates & Hours Fri. December…See More
Wednesday
Parker Brown posted a status
Wednesday
Parker Brown posted a status
Wednesday
Brigitte Martin posted a blog post

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

BY ALLISON ARIEFF on medium core, Sep 15Last spring, I attended the Bloomberg BusinessWeek Design Conference in San Francisco. Ben Kaufman, the CEO of Quirky, was one of the speakers in a conference that unabashedly celebrated consumption (and only had…See More
Wednesday
Harriete Estel Berman posted a status
"Generosity of Eye: Art Transformed into Education Worth Watching this film http://j.mp/XfsdFg"
Wednesday
Emily Hickman left a comment for Sophia Georgiopoulou
"Thanks Sophia! I love your work too!"
Wednesday
jenny Fillius and Emily Hickman are now friends
Wednesday

© 2014   Created by Brigitte Martin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service