„Choir in space“ – for me there are different kinds of „space“ we have to think about.

Space as locality, venue, location

In this meaning I see the following questions or possibilities:

  • A regular concert on stage in a concert hall or in a church is part of our culture and many people love it. The question if it’s “dead” can’t be answered about the external form, it must be answered about a lively performance and about a flow between artists and auditory. Many examples show: there are dead performances “old fashioned” and also dead performances in extraordinary locations and settings.
  • The reasons to search new locations can be different. For me the first: artistic reasons. There has to be any relationship between the music and the room. Thought in traditional ways: in a church you can’t only perform sacred music, but not every music (and especially not every text) is to perform in a sacred room. The history and/or the atmosphere of a venue is more than good acoustics.
  • One other reason could be to go there, where people are. There are many very interesting and exiting examples for that. Yes, do it! It is very important to leave the “ivory tower”, but it will not work without a deep connection to the profundity of art/of music.
  • It is also important to talk about the technique necessary for a very good result. Amplifying the sound and creating light, also the possibilities to help people to understand the words sung by a choir are so important. Beginning with a program booklet with the texts, going to a moderation where useful or even projecting Images or translations can make the room and also the concert/event/performance lively.
  • A very difficult theme are performances open air. Some examples Show: yes, it’s possible! But to go out where people are needs real competence in this things, needs a professional support if music shall not lose its quality.
  • And – no joke – we should talk about the virtual room! Not only (but also) Youtube will revolutionize our world and the world of further generations. Young people – go!

Space as social space

  • Performing in unusual locations can reach people, who never would come to a regular choir concert. I’m sure: that is right and important! But I thought a long time about the problem, that you never will find a place, where you really find people in their daily life and where you also have the atmosphere for artistic high-level-performance. So for me there are two different things:
  • One is to perform in rooms near by the people – where they live, where they work, where they spend their free time. So we can make the hurdle smaller they have to take to come to us. But they still have to do the step; that’s part of being a free human.
  • The second one is to stimulate them to do this step. Here we have to be very unconventional and we need to compromise on quality, too. But this difference between advertisement and artistic performance seems very important for me, especially regarding the discussion of professional level.
  • You always can open a new social space if you go to the young people! The School is also a new, alternative concert-room. Here I see the same: going to classes, to sing with them, to talk about music and singing is one – to perform a real concert for them is anything else.
  • Also in my mind: „l’art pour l’art“ is important and enough for more than one life. But if we really want to reach new social classes for our theme, we also have to empathize in their personalities. Are we willing? Are we able to do that?

Space as mental space

  • The human requiem of Jochen Sandig is opening mental spaces, makes you see and hear the music of Brahms in a completely new way. Most of the audience (I’m sure) going to this performances had already contact with traditional concerts or recordings of “Ein deutsches Requiem”. But that is not less important! Let’s always think about new mental spaces, even for very well favorite pieces!
  • Opening mental spaces depends not on changing the location, but of course changing it can help. Very personal: for me art has to change people, not in a certain direction I want to force, but I want to leave my auditory changed: asking, confirmed, exited, comforted…
  • Combining choral music with other arts also is very effective to open mental spaces.

Space for communication

  • One of the greatest chances of new locations, new settings: you can create space for communication with your audience! You can discuss a long time about the question how to get in contact with single persons by view or even physically; not for everyone this will be a good experience. I think we also have to think about any possibility to receive – not only to send!
  • A lead-in for concerts is not yet standard but usual. What about a lead-out? Talking? Writing – on walls, physical or virtual?
  • Are there any meaningful possibilities to let react the audience meanwhile music is running? A great chance for contemporary music, a great chance for composers!
  • Space for communication for me also as many other Things has at least two sides: we can think about new ways, but who doesn’t want to do it or who is not able to do it, is not damned do die with his choral work. And people (conductors, singers, audience) should always feel free to communicate, they should not be forced. Here we have really great chances, if in special location there are areas for contact and areas for retreat.

Space in time

  • There are some very good impulses to open our thinking about time. An example near here: every Saturday noon in the city centre of Regensburg there is a church presenting little concerts of 30-45 minutes – there are going 300-500 people, surely not coming only for choir music. Life has changed – perhaps a great step is done, when we change the dates of our performances.
  • We should be considered not only on the time of the concert itself but also on the time before and after. One phenomenon of our changed life is, that everyone has to hurry all the time; most people have to hurry also to get to a concert in time. Creating a time(room) to arrive could be very important.
  • To find new ways sometimes only is to think about old, forgotten things. Often there is the right and important comment, that our questions do not depend on the repertoire generally and do not only relate to contemporary music. To open spaces in time – I think – we can learn from the early music, written for rooms which are giving time for sound and for breath. Our greatest advantage: to breathe with our audience.
Thankful thinking about the Meeting in Marseille – Robert Göstl