Ars Electronica 1982
Festival-Program 1982
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Festival 1979-2007


Linzer Stahloper

'Giorgio Battistelli Giorgio Battistelli

Friday, September 24, 1982, 8.00 p.m. Linzer Hauptplatz (Linz Main Square)

By Giorgio Battistelli. With steelworkers, musicians, and machines of VOEST-ALPINE AG Linz.

Direction: Lorenzo Vitalone

Realization of "Linzer Stahloper'' in cooperation with VOEST-ALPINE AG Linz.

With the support of Osterreichische Spielbanken AG.

Thursday, September 23, and Friday, September 24,1982:
starting at 1:00 pm.: Tours of the works of VOEST-ALPINE AG (leaving the Linzer Hauptplatz Main Square—every hour on the hour)

Friday, September 24,1982, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Concerts by bands of the VOEST-ALPINE AG in the pedestrian zone of Linz:
Landeskulturzentrum Ursulinenhof: Band from the VOEST Works at Krems, Lower Austria
Hauptplatz/Rathaus (Main Square /Townhall): Band from the VOEST Works at Traisen, Lower Austria
Taubenmarkt: Band from the VOEST Works at Donawitz, Styria
After the concerts they will march to the Linzer Hauptplatz (main square)
7:15 p.m. Hauptplatz: Official opening of the CARILLON—LINZER GLOCKENSPIEL
7:40 p.m.: The bands from the VOEST Works at Krems, Traisen, Donawitz and Linz arrive at the Hauptplatz
7:45 to 7:50 p.m.: All the bands play together
7:55 p.m.: The CARILLON—LINZER GLOCKENSPIEL is sounded
8:00 p.m.: The LINZER STAHLOPER begins
by Giorgio Battistelli. With steelworkers, musicians, and machines of VOEST-ALPINE AG Linz. (Premiere)

The BIBLE, German translation by Martin Luther (Old Testament), Genesis 4, 1-26
Michail Prokopewitsch Gerasimow, Iron Flowers
Wladimir Timofejewitsch Kirillow, The Iron Messiah
Denis Diderot, Encyclopedia (Editor)

The Cast:
Tubal-cain: Oskar Czerwenka
Denis Diderot: Karl Oblasser
Jean LeRond D'Alembert: Michael J. Posey
Voices of ghosts of Diderot and D'Alembert: Angelo degl'lnnocenti
Children's Voices: Alexander Berger, Helmut Krenn, Wolfgang Langeder
Costume design: Beatrice Bordoni
Executed by: Gerhard Müllner, Ursula Grabner

Direction: Lorenzo Vitalone

STEEL Orchestra: of Linz workers from the Linz Works of VOESTALPINE AG with their TOOLS AND MACHINES
Flame Scarfers: Johann Dibold, Josef Lugmayr, Reinhold Stelzmüller, Max Brandlmayr, Manfred Leitner, Konrad Leonhardsberger, Othmar Fugger
Angla Sanders: Karl Rovere, Alois Leutgeb, Franz Hahn, Alfred Sentz
Compressors: Herwig Hofmeister, Roland Neger, Johann Schmiedinger
Large Vehicles: Erich Hawlan, Josef Wolf
Turning Lathes: Alois Bachinger, Anton Ziegler
Apprentices with Anvils: Roland Furchtlehner, Werner Hergl, Christian Hochedlinger, Gerhard Huber, Anton Leitenmüller, Georg Link, Friedrich Witzeneder, Gerald Angerer, Andreas Schaufler, Gerhard Branyik, Joachim Swetlik, Heinz Bauer, Günther Mairhofer
Forgeman with Assistant at work (at the forge): Helmut Becksteiner, Robert Donner
Arc Welders: Reinhard Schlager, Leopold Hörl

Brass of the VOEST-ALPINE Band:
F-Horns: Adalbert Mikesch, Franz Ocenasek Josef Schaubmair, Hermann Manzenreiter.
B-Flat Trumpets: Manfred Buchberger, Gerhard Seisenbacher, Walter Rammerstorfer, Herbert Siegl.
Trombones: Siegfried Punz, Günther Straßer, Herbert Schönberger, Johann Jax.

Percussion Group (Landesmusikschule Grieskirchen):
Reinhard Eder, Herwig Stieger, Norbert Herbertinger, Herbert Huemer, Gerhard Partinger, Gabriele Weinzierl, Hans Trenker

Dancers (Bruckner-Konservatorium Linz):
Daniela Fuhrlinger, Rosemarie Kleestorfer, Romana Grurl, Ulli Hackenbuchner, Claudia Pfeiffer, Marion Mizia, Manuela Kofler, Katharina Kolmbauer, Kornelia Tamas, Ingrid Zopf, Christa Rittmansperger
Tubal-cain, biblical blacksmith, bass
Jean LeRond D'Alembert, French philosopher, tenor
Denis Diderot, French philosopher, tenor
Three boys
Workers with their tools and machines
Seven percussionists
Twelve brass players
Twelve dancers

The scene is set on the historically grown, central Linzer Hauptplatz (Main Square of Linz). Bells of the neighbouring churches ring in the opus. A chord of brass sounds from the balconies. Only the turners are at work, as Tubal-cain steps out of the past over a bridge. Tubal-cain is the "master of all coppersmiths and blacksmiths", as he is called in the Bible (Genesis 4); in records of the medieval guilds of stone-masons, he is quoted as one of the founders of human craftsmanship. He is held to be related to music, because "the hammersmiths are beating the time". Tubalcain tells the story of his family, descended from Cain. The stage for Tubal-cain is a model bridge, built by VOEST-ALPINE apprentices. His tale is interrupted by the sounding of tubular bells and vibraphones, as flame scarfers light the scene with their torches.

At the same time the two French scientists and philosophers D'Alembert and Diderot are working on their encyclopedia, a comprehensive work on the state of the crafts and early industry.

Diderot lists all metal-working trades known in his time. Tubal-cain continues his tale: of how Cain slew his brother Abel and of the mark that God put on Cain.

Metal appears on the scene: 12 dancers in metal costumes alight from a tramway at the beat of the percussion instruments and dance on the stagefloor of the square. While compressors and motor vehicles start up, Diderot continues writing: of the nailsmith, the brooch-maker, the knifesmith, and the gunsmith.

But Tubal-cain has not yet finished this tale: He himself is descended from Cain, he the "master of all coppersmiths and blacksmiths". Like Diderot and D'Alembert, he represents the past. Now, however, present-day steel-industry is taking the scene. We hear the sounds of the steelworks. D'Alembert is also working on his list: silver platers, boiler-makers, chasers, and minters are his contribution. But work proceeds unperturbed: turners, welders, fitters with angle sanders cannot be distracted by academic thinking. Work for them is a reality and not the subject of scientific interest.

Accompanied by the sound of anvils, where iron is being hammered and molded, metal appears again. Diderot and D'Alembert have not yet finished their work. While they are still at it, metal dances.

As the Bible has preserved its validity through the ages, the story of Tubal-cain continues till "men began to invoke the Lord by name" (Genesis 4, 26).

Together Diderot and D'Alembert complete the chapter on the metal-working trades; they make their exit. Their shadow, their spirit, however, continues to live. Their work has rendered them immortal. Three boys appear: children to represent purity, aesthetics, beauty of work—they sing of the spirit animating the steelworkers, they sing of the "Giant Material", they sing of the "Iron Messiah".

Tubal-cain, who had meanwhile left the stage, enters again, not as a mythical figure but as the worker he once had been. He sings of the worker's longing for beauty and "forged flowers of iron".

Gradually unity, harmony prevails—all instruments are united into an overwhelming final crescendo on the notes G and E. Accompanied by these sounds, all participating workers at their machines tell their personal story, like Tubal-cain before, and a powerful final tone concludes this work from the Linzer Hauptplatz.

The Score
After "Experimenturn Mundi"—Opera di musica immaginistica (1981), the "Linzer Stahloper" is the second part of an intended trilogy by the Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli, a trilogy joined together by one common idea: to combine art and work in the form of a complete composition of new music-theatre.

In "Experimenturn Mundi" the music was inspired by the atonal rhythmics of the traditional crafts, in the "Linzer Stahloper" it is inspired by that of the iron-manufacturing industry.

The composer's approach causes an abstract problem: With reference to Pierre Boulez it may be defined as a problem of "atonal rhythmics", i. e., of a kind of music which differs from the traditional by its asymmetrical structures and which is not transferable into traditional rhythmic notation.

The instruments employed in the "Linzer Stahloper" are: tools, equipment and machines, as well as brass and percussion instruments. The orchestra combines musicians and workers.

Since adequate musical knowledge cannot be expected of the workers, professional musicians might have taken the individual parts as in Karl Heinz Stockhausen's "Intensity" and "Autumn Music". This, however, would eliminate an essential feature of the opera: the inseparability of the actual result of the work from the work gestures and the resulting sound. As Battistelli, from the beginning, had intended to include the VOESTALPINE workers in his work, he had to find some way of indicating to them their entrances. So he abstained from using conventional linear notation and, as in "Experimentum Mundi", he developed a special score for the "Linzer Stahloper". From the graphic lay-out of this score, a non professional musician can gather when and where an entrance is made and how the opera progresses.

The actual score of the Linzer Stahloper consists of four large pages, with each containing 15 minutes of music. The parts of the singers and of the percussion and brass instruments are noted in the conventional way. They are joined by directions for the other instruments—made up of machines and equipment of VOEST-ALPINE and elements from the vicinity of the square (church-bells, trams).

Directions for these instruments are entered in the score as graphic or photographic pictures of the place or kind of entrance.

Statements of minutes and seconds do not only indicate the coming-in to the individual machines and tools, distributed between the different parts on the pages, they constitute points of reference for the other performers, too.

The conventionally notated parts for seven percussionists, 12 brass players and singers are arranged between the graphic notation for the workers. Reflecting on the constant changing of material in the production process of iron and steel, Battistelli has attributed a continuous role to brass and percussionists: Throughout the first 30 minutes of the opera 3 brass players are continuously in action, one taking over from the other, thus effecting a constant change of timbre. The execution of the voices shows an aleatory feature: individual notes are marked for the brass players, their duration as well as their execution (for a series of notes long and short graces are marked) can freely be determined by the respective musicians. In the score, the percussionists find individual sequences of bars which they can interpret freely as to their timbre as well as measure. The parts of Diderot and D'Alembert offer similar possibilities. Battistelli has marked short series of notes to be repeated continuously within the allotted time and to be adjusted as to their intensity and measure. The three children have their recitative noted on two tones.

The main character of the Linzer Stahloper is Tubal-cain, the biblical "master of all coppersmiths and blacksmiths". His part is the only one in complete, conventional notation. His scenes are the dominating factor for the whole cast. All of the musicians and other characters have to take their bearing from the rhythm and measure of this singer.

Three quarters of the work is determined by the basic concept of the Linzer Stahloper. Only in the final minutes Battistelli abandons it. Alongside the sounds of industry a final crescendo develops on the notes G and E, and at an exactly indicated tempo, all instruments, machines, and singers join in to conclude with a final unison E at sforzato fortissimo.
The Linzer Stahloper is an artistic expression of the steel city Linz. Like no other project of ARS ELECTRONICA'82, the opera is based upon the city's double identity, on the industrial and cultural presence of Linz. The commissioned work is the artistic attempt to integrate the worlds of culture and work, of art and work into a new unity.

Similar attempts have been made in the 20th century—especially in the Russia of the Twenties—attempts that have to be seen against the economic, social, and political background of their time.

Any attempt of linking the worlds of culture and industry carries a common risk, then as today: the risk of aestheticizing the reality of the working world.

Conscious of this risk, the Linzer Stahloper tries a new approach. The basis for the realization of the Linzer Stahloper is the acoustic, the optical, and the sociopolitical dimension of the iron and steel production in the Linz works of VOEST-ALPINE AG. Instead of transforming these realities into an ordered composition, the composer used them in an abstract manner.

The Linzer Stahloper revolves around "Metal" as a musical and dramatic leitmotif.

The artistic execution of this leitmotif is carried out from different perspectives:
Metal in its mythological dimension is represented by Tubal-cain, metal as industrial material is demonstrated by the workers at their machines producing a work piece in the course of the Linzer Stahloper.

Scenic presentation of the various perspectives occurs in individual yet parallel plots combining into one work of art, like an old fresco. In his Linzer Stahloper, Giorgio Battistelli attempts an artistic expression of historic and present-day dimensions of iron and steel production.

From the basic concept of this commission for Ars Electronica 82, the Linzer Stahloper must not be seen as an isolated artistic product but rather as a process of development in various stages:

1. The artistic stage
The basis of the realization of the Linzer Stahloper on the day of its presentation is an exact score resulting from the acoustic and visual personal impressions the composer experienced when visiting the plants of the VOEST-ALPINE AG Linz.

A selection was then made out of the sum total of impressions from an artistic and practicable point view: Could the acoustic impressions be used musically within a composition, and which of the machines that could be transported from the work premises to the Linzer Hauptplatz were to be chosen?

The next step was to make tape recordings that were then processed in the studio by Battistelli.

In accordance with the musical structure of the opera, Battistelli developed its story:
The topic of the Linzer Stahloper is Metal, Tubal-cain, Diderot, and D'Alembert are the main characters, and the Linz Steel Orchestra performs the music.

2. The politico-cultural aspect
In compliance with the basic concept of the commission, the Linzer Stahloper as presented on the Hauptplatz is the result of cooperation between various local institutions. Talks and discussions were held with the persons and institutions concerned, especially with the participants and the departments of VOEST, before the Linz Steel Orchestra was set up. Professional singers, workers with their machines, brass players from the VOEST Works bands, the percussion ensemble from the Musikschule Grieskirchen, dancers from the Bruckner Conservatory, and children from the Musikhauptschule Harbach (a secondary school offering additional music instruction) in Linz share in presenting the Linzer Stahloper as part of the program of Ars Electronica.

The costumes for the dancers were made in the senior class for metal sculpturing at the College of Arts and Industrial Design in Linz.

The Linzer Stahloper is accompanied by an informative program of the media under the heading "Culture and the Working World". Various labour organizations like the Chamber of Labour, the Austrian Federation of Trade Unions, the Catholic Working Youth, the College for Adult Education, Linz, and the Catholic Extension Program are participating with lectures and discussion evenings.

At the same time, Austrian radio will offer a thorough concomitant explanatory program.

Tours of the works of VOEST-ALPINE AG have also been organized for the day before and the day of the performance (starting from the Linzer Hauptplatz).

3. Technical feasibility
The Linzer Stahloper is a genuine first performance. Repeated rehearsals with all participants are not feasible since the machines required, the large number of persons involved, and also the site of the performance itself, the Linzer Hauptplatz, are not available over extended periods of time.

The Linzer Stahloper can be studied and rehearsed in smaller groups only.

As machines and equipment involved in the project can be provided for a limited time only, a complete first performance can take place only on the day of the premiere itself.

Thus the Linzer Stahloper can hardly be repeated. It is genuinely unique. This, of course, implies quite a risk.

The Linzer Stahloper is not a completed work of art but a climax in a course of development. A development which may be continued in other comparable industrial cities.
Considering culture in its comprehensive implication, as concerning the entire sphere of human life, we must realize that the labour movement has always been a cultural movement. Right in the beginning, the workers formed associations for education. They tried to provide access to our rich cultural heritage for working men. The exhibition "With Us Marches the New Age" shown in the Koppenreiter-Remise in Vienna last year, gave evidence of the vigour of that movement and of its cultural impetus.

With the rise of the labour movement as a decisive social force, economic conditions for living were improved, working conditions were regulated by law, and a network of social securities was established.

In the present economic situation it must be the main concern of Trade Unions and Chambers of Labour to secure jobs for everyone, and not only for reasons of securing a living. Creative work is a vital need for working man as it can lead to self-realization and is an essential feature of life.

Man has to be taken as a whole, to be understood as an inseparable being, uniting mind and body. Working and cultural life also form a unity which creates a feeling of self-respect in the worker.

Culture must be seen as an essential of life. It cannot be conceived without creative work. There is no work of art, there is no culture without work.

The more men appreciate spare time over material wealth the more meaningful life will become; a life in which cultural activity is not a consumer good but is life itself. Trade Unions and the labour movement have opened up the halls of our cultural heritage. It is our concern that as many employees as possible enter these halls. Labour organizations must, therefore, emphasize the equality of economic, sociopolitical, and also polito-cultural claims. A unity of work, the arts, and man must be established. This is one of the most important tasks of the future.

We welcome every attempt that manifests the relation between working life and cultural life, between work and the arts.

Such an attempt is the performance of the "Stahloper" within Ars Electronica in Linz. With this experiment, the young Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli tries to bridge working life and cultural life. Or rather tries to make visible the existing bridge. To do so, he presents the history of metal work from the beginning to the present day and shows its relation to man. This is why the composer wants workers to participate who always work with metal. All of the 70 persons involved are equal partners in the attempt of an artistic presentation of their work. The city of Linz which is dominated by its steel industry is an ideal place for such a courageous experiment.

As President of the Chamber of Labour of Upper Austria, I extend my best wishes to this daring undertaking. May it serve to propagate the close relation between creative work and the arts and all cultural activities. May a large number of workers and employees appreciate this undertaking. Culture belongs to everyone, as everyone contributes towards culture by his work. Cultural activity, after all, does not only serve the development of the individual personality, it also helps to combat those trends of present-day industrial society that are so adverse to a development of mind and emotion.

Fritz Freyschlag, President of the Chamber of Labour for Upper Austria
With some 25,500 employees, the Linz Works of VOEST-ALPINE AG is the biggest employer of Upper Austria and the largest industrial site in all of Austria. After the destruction of what was left of the original at the end of the war, the plant on the Danube was rebuilt and enlarged in the forties and fifties. Today, besides its iron and steel production, it includes qualified steel processing, apparatus and machine construction, as well as large engineering offices for the worldwide activities of the industrial engineering division of the VOEST-ALPINE AG.

The economic significance of this key industry-not only for Upper Austria but for Austria on the whole-is manifested in its business volume. Sales of the works at Linz amount to about 30 billion schillings of which 24 billion or some 80 percent are made abroad. Steel from Linz is to be found in almost every European car and household appliance. Turbines and pipes for utilizing water power have been supplied to four continents.

Components for nuclear industry have been exported to America and Asia. Revolutionary developments for international steel industry were started here. Complete industrial plants for the metallurgical, the chemical, the petrochemical, the paper pulp and paper, and the building material industries have been planned in Linz, their erection organized, and finally been built on all continents. The impact of the company goes far beyond the immediate staff: The amount disbursed for wages and salaries of more than six billion schillings annually is indispensable for the purchasing power of the entire economic region of Upper Austria and especially for many smaller businesses and services. VOEST-ALPINE AG places subcontracts amounting to more than 3 billion schillings annually with other firms in Upper Austria. This guarantees another ten thousand jobs in Upper Austria outside the company. The training of skilled labour costs the company more than 100 million schillings annually for the Linz works only—it constitutes another contribution towards strengthening the entire national economy.
The Kiwanis of Linz ring in the Linzer Stahloper with the sounds of Bruckner over the new KIWANIS CARILLON. This carillon is installed in an attic window of house no.18 facing the Linzer Hauptplatz and will be sounded for the first time shortly before the Linzer Stahloper.

It consists of 19 electronically controlled bells and plays the main theme of the Symphony No. 4 and of the Piece for Piano in E-flat major by Anton Bruckner. These compositions have been arranged for the carillon by Professor Father Augustinus Franz Kropfreiter. As of September 25, 1982, the carillon can be heard two times a day—at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The two themes by Bruckner, played in the original key, together last about four minutes.

"The Kiwanis Club Linz have installed this carillon to please citizens, visitors, and friends of Linz and at the same time hope to have embellished the pedestrian zone of the Hauptplatz and to have promoted revitalization of the old part of our town. Tunes by Bruckner were chosen in the conviction that this was appropriate for the city where Bruckner had lived. The Kiwanis Club Linz wants to thank the Mayor of Linz, Herrn Hofrat Franz Hillinger, and all those who have given us moral and financial support."

Arch. Dipl. Ing. Gerhard Sedlack, President of the Kiwanis Club Linz