Ensemble Modern Orchestra with Vimbayi Kaziboni
Saturday, 26 September 2020 | Prinzregententheater Munich| 7 pm
Please note that the concert begins at 7 pm.
Introductory talk: 6 pm with Heiner Goebbels
Heiner Goebbels [*1952]
A House of Call. My Imaginary Notebook 
Commissioned by Ensemble Modern, Berliner Festspiele/Musikfest Berlin, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Bavarian Radio’s musica viva series, Kölner Philharmonie, Wien Modern/Wiener Konzerthaus and beuys2021.
Ensemble Modern Orchestra
Vimbayi Kaziboni, conductor
Heiner Goebbels, lighting design
Norbert Ommer, sound design
about the Programme
Ensemble Modern Orchestra already featured an orchestral piece by Heiner Goebbles on the programme of its very first tour in 1998. Now the composer, responding to an initiative from the Berlin Festival and Ensemble Modern, has give this Frankfurt group a new cycle for the 2020 Beethoven Jubilee.
A House of Call. My Imaginary Notebook is a four-part cycle of compositions in which Ensemble Modern Orchestra will react to voices that Goebbels has preserved in an imaginary notebook – voices that he stumbled upon, sometimes by accident, during projects, journeys, encounters or archival work. They now return to “set the tone” with their own sounds and languages: dialogues, conjurations, prayers, invocations, appeals, speech-acts, songs. These unique and “idiosyncratic” voices will be allowed to resound on a concert stage, most of them for the very first time. The orchestra’s musicians will answer them individually or collectively like the chorus in a responsory, whether to commentate, interrupt, reinforce or contradict.
“a prolonged visit to a house of call” is a line on page 41 of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, not far from the onomatopoetic “roaratorio” that would give its name to an audio piece by John Cage. Cage’s piece left a lasting impression on me, for in the midst of a stream of multiple voices he reads through the 628 pages of Joyce’s novel, mesostic by mesostic, like “sung writing of language”. Those are the words that Roland Barthes used to describe the “grain of the voice” (le grain de la voix), and this grain, or roughness, is what the voices that found their way into my imaginary notebook have in common.
Heiner Goebbels, 2020
The attraction of absent, acousmatic voices has played a major role in many of Goebbels’s works, whether in his first single Berlin Kudamm 12.4.81 (1981), Chaconne / Kantorloops from Surrogate Cities (1994), the performance Stifters Dinge (2007), the sound installation Genko-An (2008– ) or his audio pieces. In A House of Call the voices become, for the first time, the protagonists of an entire concert.
The première will be given in the Philharmonie during the Berlin Festival. The work will then be performed in the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, in Munich’s Prinzregenten Theatre during Bavarian Radio’s musica viva series, at Wien Modern in Vienna, the Cologne Philharmonie and the Düsseldorf Tonhalle.
more about the programme
try out – march 2019
Have a look behind the scenes of the composition process.
This project forms part of BTHVN 2020. Supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
The guest performance of the Ensemble Modern Orchestra in Munich is made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.