On 9 May 2008, a unique concert was staged at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Specially composed for the occasion, Vor dem Verstummen by Harald Weiss received its world premiere in the field of stelae, when it was performed for an appreciative audience of thousands for the one and only time by musicians of the Berliner Kammersymphonie orchestra under the baton of celebrated conductor Lothar Zagrosek. The sound experienced by each individual was different, depending on his or her precise location amongst the stelae.
Visit the Holocaust Memorial
You will need to visit the Memorial to experience the concert in all its unique interactivity. The sound of the instruments changes depending on your location and route through the field of stelae, growing louder or softer, more passionate or muted. This means that the concert you hear will be personal to you.
Outside the Memorial, you can listen to the piece in offline mode in the conventional, non-interactive way.
Harnessing innovative technology
In order to stage this first virtual concert in the world, a complex process was used to re-record all of the instruments in December 2012. Geo-coordinates were assigned to each individual instrument as well as to the female vocalist, and a completely new type of software was developed. This enables the instruments to be perceived in a virtual 3D space within the smartphone application, and to simulate the concert at the Memorial. The listener’s location at the Memorial is identified using the smartphone’s GPS function, and the sound associated with those specific coordinates is determined.
Seit dem 23. Januar 2013 wurde dieses Projekt, noch in statu nascendi von Anne Will wir folgt vorgestellt:
Und noch in dieser Woche wird dieses Video auch über den Link
in englischer Sprache mit dem folgenden Transkript im Untertitel zu sehen sein:
In May of 2008, on a day much warmer than today, a truly unique concert took place here, at this place amidst the stelae of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.
The piece was called "Vor dem Verstummen" and was specially composed to be played at this location. It was a world premiere - nothing like it had ever been heard, or seen, before.
This very exceptional concert was performed by 24 members of the Berliner Kammersymphonie orchestra,
including Soeren Link on the trumpet, who stood and played at this very spot.
He - and his fellow musicians as well - were not able to see either the conductor or each other while playing. They had these little monitors that they used to keep in contact.
And each of the 3000 people who came to listen had their own unique and very different listening experience.
If you were standing closer to the trumpet you would of course perceive it as being nearer. Or if you were close to the trombone you would hear it more clearly and more intensely.
Helge von Niswandt, the trombonist, was also there and performed at this spot here.
Now you are probably thinking, "Gee, I wish I could have been there." Unfortunately, though, you weren’t. And, of course, it’s just not possible to repeat this concert over and over again.
But there is an alternative. And it comes in the form of an app which you can install onto your smartphone. The developers are still working on this app.
Thilo Morgner with his clarinet will also be on it when it is done. The app will work by computing your exact location within this field of stelae.
Depending on where you are, for example closer to the clarinet, you will then hear the clarinet more intensely.
But this project is quite complex and expensive.
The 24 musicians all got together again and each had his or her instrument’s part recorded.
The results were placed onto 24 separate tracks which now have to be merged together.
It’s a lot of work, but it’s a terrific project and the first of its kind anywhere in the world. And I think it would great if you got a kick out of supporting the project. So if you have a little money that you could spare for this work that would be really, really fantastic.
Seit dem 3. August 2013 wird in den nachfolgenden Video über die besonderen Herausforderungen an die Beteiligten berichtet:
Und auch dieses Video ist nun über den Link:
mit englischen Untertiteln und dem folgenden Transcript zu sehen:
The small broadcasting room at the Haus des Rundfunks has never seen anything like this before. One conductor and his orchestra. 24 musicians who, though playing together, are isolated from one another.
In the concert hall, you normally sit there and the music comes from the front and passes over your head. For the composer it’s like standing in front of a painting, to keep to this metaphor for the moment. And now we are moving into the painting.
The challenge in composing this piece was always to think how can I create an interesting and yet different impression at every point throughout the entire field of stelae?
And the unique concert took place on 9 May 2008, at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
24 musicians performed Vor dem Verstummen by Harald Weiss.
The musicians stood within a 100 metre radius at various points within the field of stelae that makes up the Holocaust Memorial. This means that the sound experience was different for each listener depending on his or her location.
It was a truly fascinating experience. But seeing how much effort and cost is involved in such a production, there is just no way to perform it every year. Given the wonders of modern technology, like smartphones, we came up with the idea of offering listeners a virtual concert.
It’s a special smartphone app that uses geodata to map where the instruments were when they were actually played and where the app user is at the moment.
Listeners can use the app to walk through the field of stelae and virtually experience the original concert.
The app will be very easy to use. You just download it, at the memorial or at home, press play and the app will locate you and know whether you are on the memorial site and if so, at what point.
It will then reproduce the concert as you move through the field of stelae.
The Berlin-Brandenburg Broadcasting Company provided the technology, expertise and broadcasting room to have each instrument recorded separately.
This allows the app to adjust the volume of each instrument depending on where the listener is standing.
But it wasn’t at all easy to create 24 individual soundscapes while all the instruments were playing in the same studio at the same time.
It took us a few hours, but we managed to collect all of the sound panels from every room in the building and set up what looked like a large office space with each musician placed in his or her own little cubicle.
This is not the type of working environment that orchestra musicians are used to, but it worked perfectly.
The partition walls made it possible to record each instrument on its own while still allowing the musicians to hear one another and see the conductor.
It makes for more direct contact and of course makes it easier during the recording to develop the music together and achieve the maximum effect, particularly here in a broadcasting room like this one.
Everyone involved in the project succeeded in creating a new form of music that is, technologically speaking, unique in the world.
The app should be ready by spring and will give everyone the chance to virtually relive the listening experience of 2008.