Thursday 17 October 2019, 7.30pm
The Henning Christiansen estate and Mark Harwood / Penultimate Press presents a rare diffusion of Henning Christiansen's work Symphonie Natura – a collage of electronic drones and animal sounds, recorded at the Zoo in Rome in 1985. The diffusion will be followed by a live performance by Mark and others, responding to some of Henning's ideas and philosophy around music and animals.
“First of all, I think of Bruckner's great symphonies modelled after nature, from the days of flourishing orchestral culture, great feelings and gazing into the soundscape. Which was always the landscape of a concert hall and musicians dressed up as penguins, many violins. Originally most ideals of instrumental sounds were derived from animal voices or other sounds of natural phenomena. The violins, for instance: someone found out that stretched out, dried bowels could produce sounds, there is a funny saying: "My bowels are crying."
This has been civilized, "refined", and much has been achieved for the human mind (Save the Nature, use it). The strings have played spirituality to the human being. Today, however, I have the opportunity to treat the voices of sheep electrically so that they can be used as instruments for our acoustic expression and also to set us thinking about our present-day relation to nature - also to our own nature as human beings.
I have worked with animal voices before, in the ROMA ZOO, e. g., I made a suite of animal voices which I called SYMPHONY NATURA, I have also worked with the howling of wolves and with canaries (The Green Birdchoirpiano - Museum of Art, Northern Jutland) ("Freedom Is Around the Corner" - Yellow Music in Berlin) and also monkey singing, all of it nature variations on tape. What is important to me now is where and in which context such works are being performed. I have been in concert halls, in theaters, but I am not really harpy with these environments for my animal music. I have to construct new "concert halls" for such works and therefore I really like this relatively large "Concert castle" on the meadow at the Danube in front of the famous Brucknerhaus, it is ideal for me and I am writing a new slogan: "Sheep instead of Violins." The meadow belongs to the sheep, it is their territory, that's where they belong and people come to visit them.” (H. Christiansen)
Henning Christiansen (May 28, 1932, Copenhagen – December 10, 2008) was a Danish composer and an active member of the Fluxus-movement. He worked with artists such as Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, Bazon Brock and Wolf Vostell as well as with his wife Ursula Reuter Christiansen. Other collaborators include Bjørn Nørgaard, Carlo Quartucci, Carla Tato, Ernst Kretzer, Ben Patterson, David Moss, Ute Wassermann, Andreas Oldörp, Christophe Charles, Bernd Jasper, Henrik Kiel, Vilem Wagner, Vladimir Tarasov, Niko Tenten, and many others.
His overall goal was to work collaboratively and to trespass conventional boundaries. He resented the idea of an isolated artistic genius and his entire production can be seen as a subsequent and vibrant example of praxis in a constant flux. He believed in the need to trespass conventional boundaries between artistic disciplines. This is visible from his engagement in Fluxus, over numerous collaborative performances to his position as a professor at the Art Academy in Hamburg (Hochschule für Bildende Künste).
Christiansen lived almost 40 years on the Danish Island Møn. He presented a retrospective exhibition in Copenhagen and participated in the music festival Wundergrund shortly before his death. (wikipedia)