Atmospheric Noise - Listening - Singing
IMPROVISATION FOR THREE ACCORDIONS AND THE SOUNDS OF A CLEARING IN THE FOREST
LISTENING TO THE SOUND OF NATURE SINGING
In an open space in the forest north of lake Summter, Teodoro Anzellotti and two of his students improvise for an hour to rustling trees, chirping birds and croaking frogs ... one of the highlights of the "Mühlenbecker Klanglandschaften" Festival at the end of May 2019.
Theodoro Anzellotti, Tizia Zimmermann. & Kalle Moberg, accordion
25.05.2019 forest clearing lake Summter during the "Mühlenbecker Klanglandschaften" 13.00 - 14.00 p.m.
Uli Aumüller: I still remember lying down on the grass in this open space in the forest, and that the ground and the grass underneath wobbled with every step I took. A pleasant early summer warmth - white and blue clouds flying over the clearing and the strong wind getting caught by the trees. The rhythm of the wind moves throughout the whole area and produces a different rustling noise in various spots - as if I am sitting in the middle of an orchestra - it is not just one uniform sound. Every tree makes its own individual sound, alder or a birch, hornbeam, oak, bird cherry, ash - an acacia (just beginning to bloom) - pines, spruces and Douglas firs produce a rather dark tone, the fresh light green needles make a higher one compared to the darkgreen, blue-black ones …
A sound one can hardly distinguish from the buzzing sound of the motorway a few kilometers away. Add to that a choir of birds singing their own treble melody: chiffchaffs, thrushes, tits, a few black birds and, of course, the occasional robin redbreast - the non-stop silly screeching of cranes complaining about us sitting down here, on their grassland keeping them from their breakfast of frogs, toads and snakes.
Everything sounds like it has always been like this and already perfect in its own right - no need to see its beauty through the eyes of a beholder. Of course it has not always been like this... once upon a time, a few thousand years ago, the sand and these slanting hills were covered with four hundred meters thick glaciers, shaping the surroundings with their weight and movement - as far as the ringroad south of Berlin.
In this open space, sitting on their little stools, are three accordionists, their music stands, with a few notations they prepared beforehand, in front of them.
They try to imitate the orchestral voices of the forest, the wind, the birds, and the many different colors of rustling trees using the sounds and playing techniques of an accordion, and while one accordionist takes over from the other, they continue to follow the movements of the sounds of this particular area, imitating what the forest plays for them.
They copy the sounds, improvise with them, add others, sounds belonging to the same family, or place them in counterpoint to others. Breathe in Breathe out - Inhale - Exhale.
Once in a while the accordions gently blend melodies into a sound structure we have known forever, Bach invented it, the folksong "In an airy Hollow..."...but these melodies disappear just as fast as their sudden appearance from the sea of oblivion, of memory... Goethe once wrote that wind carries kisses from a distant lover, so when wind can carry kisses, it can carry rustling too albeit in a different way and setting.
The sonosphere of the forest is not the only thing that inspires musicians - an always changing constancy, a situation that could remain the same forever yet one moment is never similar to another - and one caused by the other and where time doesn't stop, yet goes on and on generating one eternity after the other - it is not only the sound of this place that inspires the musicians, because - when they open their eyes (mostly they are shut, all three musicians give the impression of being ecstatic and at peace with themselves at the same time) - the forest is besides the sound for the ear a spectacle of colors and lights for the eye:
birches, alders and poplars, white poplars, their leaves have a white, silvery front (and make a sound like that as well) - and dark green on the back, almost black, all grow on one side of the clearing. When all the leaves are moved by the wind it looks similar to the snow on a tv screen, or like waves in the sea when the light shines through the side of the waves causing different reflections or making a prism.
This picture of a wall of ever changing black, silvery light green poplars could very well be interpreted as a music score - nature as an open book yet the writing and signals are ambiguous secrets. Sometimes out of the blue - the rasping, shrill shouting of cranes interrupts this idyll (they complain, as I mentioned before, because we disturb their idyll) ... and then, all of a sudden complete silence as if wind and birds and frogs follow the directions of a conductor:
No wind, no rustling, no birds singing in concert -the only ones not having noticed the invisible conductor of this concert are the three accordionists who happily continue playing as if their cadenza had been composed, a cadenza shortly before the finale, which is not in fact the end but the start of the next beginning.
Cast & Crew
- Sebastian Rausch
- Original Score
- Teodoro Anzellotti