Ars Electronica 1982
Festival-Program 1982
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Festival 1979-2007


Computer-Acoustic Dance Theatre

'Hubert Bognermayr Hubert Bognermayr / 'Harald Zuschrader Harald Zuschrader

Tuesday, September 28, 1982
Brucknerhaus, Main Hall, 8:00 p.m.

Visualization of Hubert Bognermayr's and Harald Zuschrader's First Computer-Acoustic Sound Symphony by the TANZTHEATER 46

ERDENKLANG is a composition commissioned by LIVA—the Linz Special Events Planning Corporation

Edition: Erdenklang-Musikverlag Ulrich Rützel, Hamburg



COMPUTER-CONDUCTORS: Hubert Bognermayr, Harald Zuschrader

METAL SOUND: Betha Sarasin-Baumberger

STAGE SCENERY: Buddy J. Podechtl, Johann Brenner


MUSIC ENGINEER: Alois Janetschko

Performed by music soloists: 5 music computers: Bob Moog, Sw. Gyan Nishabda, Klaus Prünster, Bruno Spoerri
Violoncello: Alfred Peschek

Water: Astrid Braun
Rocks: Elisabeth Bogner, Sigrid Hinum, Reinhold Sahl
Mineral: Michaela Auinger
Metal: Sieglinde Rothner
Sand: Hartmut Schönherr
Earth: Ruth Schalko
Wood: Jutta Maria Grueneis, Peter Sommerfeld
Earthen: Isabella Marian
Eden: Andrea Lang

Computer-acoustic dance theater, consisting of an introduction, 5 scenes, and 4 ritornelli by Hubert Bognermayr and Harald Zuschrader. Libretto (based on the First Computer-Acoustic Sound Symphony ERDENKLANG by Hubert Bognermayr and Harald Zuschrader) by Erika Gangl.
Ritornelli by Hubert Bognermayr, Bob Moog, Sw. Gyan Nishabda, Alfred Peschek, Klaus Prünster, and Bruno Spoerri.

The Cast:
Dancers: Allegories of Water, Rock, Mineral, Metal, Sand, Earth, and Wood; Earthen; Eden.
Musicians: 5 computers with main and solo programs; ritornelli with violoncello, electro-acoustic guitar, sound antennas, and electroacoustic wind instruments (lyricon).

Place: On Earth. The Erdenklanguhr, the 5 music computers, and the sound antennas are integrated into a scenery consisting of water, rock, minerals, metal, sand, earth, and wood.

Time: The life of humankind.

Half an hour before the performance begins, the noises of the audience are picked up in the foyer by a highly sensitive microphone, are forwarded to one of the five computers and stored. Integrated into an existing composition program they are immediately played back into the foyer in its new sound. The concert-goer is included in the performance with the noises produced by him or her.

Introduction: It is 8 o'clock. Eight times the Erdenklanguhr calls the sounds of water from the computer. Nothing else stirs. Life is bound in primary matter, everything living is merged with its material. The spirit begins to separate life from the rigid mass, but it remains covered, still enveloped. Only slowly emerging consciousness succeeds in releasing the individual lives as allegories from their primary matter. One after the other, the allegories of water, rock, mineral, metal, sand, earth, and wood, and finally Earthen and Eden appear. It is the gradual process of a birth with a continuous increase in strength and tension until at its climax, movement by means of the computer releases sounds originating from water.

First scene: EARTH-LIGHT:
The music is called from the main computer program. Life is gradually set free of its primary matter until as its allegory it experiences its own existence through consciousness. A lyricon solo rises over the choral sounds of the computer. Life asserts itself as a symbol of the dead, in the image of dead matter, it lives as an allegory of water, rock, sand, earth… Ritornello with a violoncello: Still during the first scene the violoncello is bowed. The sound is stored in the computer and immediately allocated in the programmed score of the scene's finale. We hear other music. But the natural sounds of the violoncello are gradually changed, varied by the computer until from the dialogue violoncello—computer the idea "machine" emerges.

Second scene: EARTH-DEEP:
It is nine by the Erdenklanguhr. Nine times it calls a succession of machine noises from the computer. The guitar modulates the factory noises called from the computer and introduces the second main computer program. Man and his society emerge, the non-human becomes a characteristic of the living spirit. Life together under a social order turns into individual lives alongside each other.—Man is increasingly burdened, it gets crowded, the crowd looks for space. Soon no space is left for free movement, free breathing, free thinking, free living.—Change of scenes: An apparently intact world, an illusory world arises. The fugue is its musical form. But man is not guided by it, he is constrained by it.—Man, continuously changing his environment, becomes his own puppet. He fights. But he has trapped himself. Absorbed by his self-made environment, he himself becomes a machine …
Ritornello with a guitar: The guitar no longer has its natural sound …

Third scene: EARTHING:
Meanwhile it is ten by the Erdenklanguhr. Ten times it calls sounds from a transformer station from the computer. The computer executes its third main program, it presents a world of concrete and power lines. What is still alive in man is whipped by electricity. Man appears to be doomed.

Ritornello using newly developed voltage and contact controlled instrumentation for music computers: Man's mind is at work, his movements turn to music, which he follows in improvised behaviour. In the environment he has made for himself he searches for paradise.

Fourth scene: EDEN:
It is eleven by the Erdenklanguhr. Eleven times it calls traffic noise of a metropolis from the computer.—Unexpected energies are set free, man is at work. But what he considers Eden bears destruction.—The soul leaves the dancing puppets. Soul-less, the bodies stagger about till madness and chaos bring about the collapse. (The noises of the metropolis together with the noises of the audience stored in the beginning are a musical representation of chaos.) The bodies appear to be cast at, against. and over each other by a supernatural force; exhausted and limp, living creatures lie prostrate on the ground, close to earth. Man has lost his Eden, which he had wanted to make for himself as paradise in this world … Ritornello for a lyricon: Nothing stirs. Only music can be heard, all other movement is extinct …

Fifth scene: EARTHEN:
Five minutes to twelve the Erdenklanguhr stops, soundless it strikes the finale of the living. Once more, living creature can rise with the help of earthen forces, it raises its hands, looking upwards, hoping to reach the helpful-divine. But man, symbol, allegory, image of his own earth, is doomed by his own guilt to return to the primary matter from which he has emerged.

The premiere of ERDENKLANG is the attempt at a new music-theatre: the attempt of a fusion of the visual and acoustic experience of our environment. The visualization of ERDENKLANG begins with dance. The movement releases sounds causing new forms of movement by the dancers which in turn release sounds again. The composed symphony is called in live via various synchronous computers, dance both controls and visualizes the music. Independent improvisations by renowned soloists lead—together with the dance-improvisations—to sound experiences going beyond the symphony. Thus, with the help of aleatoric moments, composition and improvisation blend into an inseparable entity, Erika Gangl, choreographer and director of this First Computer-Acoustic Dance Theatre presented at Ars Electronica, has been concerned with similar problems for years.

This first performance with the "Tanztheater 46", which she founded together with the composer Alfred Peschek, is a premiere combining her dance-theatrical images with the computer-acoustics of the music-computer team from the "Electronic Forester's House".
Hubert Bognermayr and Harald Zuschrader add a new dimension to electronic music: The synthetic sound pattern is enriched by the inclusion of natural sounds from our environment. The acoustic biosphere releases impulses for the composer.
Bognermayr and Zuschrader about ERDENKLANG:
"Computer-acoustics realize the classical utopia of many composers, to have potential control over all sounds of the environment as well as any conceivable sound of their own imagination.

The sound of the future wants harmony. The two antipodes—translucent sound of nature and electronically-produced power sound—are overcome in the computer-acoustic world of sounds. The sounds of earth may be tuned and thus used for tonal purposes. The warmness of natural sound is integrated into electronics—electronic music loses its COLDNESS."

ERDENKLANG—was realized with the following computer-acoustic sounds:
sounds of water, the authors' voices, sounds of various steelstrings, industrial sounds from the Linz Steel Works, steel plates, steam hammer, steel tubes, steel sheets, drops of water, murmuring of a brook, humming of an electric transformer station, authors' voices on "A", environmental sounds, street noise, plastic cups, plastic buckets, sounding materials: wood, glass, metal authors' voices on "U", bamboo, voices of birds

Characteristic of ERDENKLANG is its place of origin:
The "Electronic Forester's House" at the foot of the Pöstlingberg. In this romantic cottage Hubert Bognermayr, Harald Zuschrader and Klaus Prünster have developed their computer-acoustic music.

The computer-acoustic composition by Bognermayr/Zuschrader presented on record has been commissioned by LIVA, the Linz Special Events Planning Corporation and has been produced by the Hamburg producer Ulrich Rützel on a label specializing in computer-acoustic music.

The ERDENKLANG Label wants to promote artists specializing in computer-realization of natural sound material and understanding computer music as a synthesis of the treatment of synthetic and natural sounds.

… after the appearance of ERDENKLANG, the German feuilletons have named the loners from the Upper Austrian forest the Gurus of electronic music …

… In the beginning was water and many a living thing emerged from it, showed phantasy and trade …

… With ERDENKLANG and the computer-accoustics connected to it some decades of musical development have been opened.

The ERDENKLANG symphony is important, both as a compendious demonstration of the sound possibilities realizable with the computer and as an imaginative product of Bognermayr's and Zuschrader's art of composing.

The world of euphony is turned upside down—a new experience of sound is created

ERDENKLANG opens a new chapter in the history of music.

HOBBY (Technical Magazine)
The computer team masters all the natural sounds of the world

The "Electronic Forester's House" has meanwhile become the mecca of electronic artists.

Austrians created a musical sensation ERDENKLANG, symphony with raindrops …

… The body—an instrument. The body, part of the natural materials like water or earth is to become an instrument.

… ERDENKLANG is the LP of the month!

Erika Gangl, protagonist of expressional dance, puts her visualization into a scenery filled with earth and sound. Movement is closely related to environment: sound is released by movement. Technology makes its contribution: the computer makes the movement audible. Buddy J. Podechtl and Johann Brenner, the producers of the stage scenery were asked to provide peat, sand, rock, water, wood, and crystalline structures.

This scenery is dominated by Drobar's clock, the Erdenklanguhr, striking a new hour with each of the five movements of Erdenklang. Five minutes to twelve, however, the Erdenklanguhr stops. Perhaps one day the music computer in the Electronic Forester's House and the presentation of Erika Gangl and her Tanztheater 46 will be the only reminders of the throbbing life of this world.
The largest glass-painted clock in the world will be the center of the ERDENKLANG scenery at the premiere of this First Computer-Acoustic Sound Symphony.

The artist, Joe Drobar, united traditional native craftsmanship with latest computer technology in the creation of the ERDENKLANGUHR. The oval face was painted in the traditional glass-painting technique with self-made natural paints.

A very old clock-work will control modern computer technology. Instead of the usual hourly strikes the ERDENKLANGUHR will play different compositions—created from genuine terrestrial sounds and called up via a computer system.

Details of the clock:
Height: 3.52 m
Dial: 72 kg
Frame: 54 kg
Clockwork: 127 kg
Base: 51 kg
Pendulum: 6 kg
Weights: 30 kg each
Resin varnish and paint: 1,5 kg
In 1978 Erika Gangl and Alfred Peschek founded their TANZTHEATER 46 in Linz.

Erika Gangl had combined works by Webern, Valdambrini, Peschek, and Schönberg's "Verklärte Nacht'' into a presentation that won international acclaim and was then expanded into the "Ballet total", a six-and-a-half-hour program. On the occassion of its participation at the "Bolzano estate 81 ", the TANZTHEATER 46 was called "famoso corpo di ballo austriaco" by the Italian daily "Alto Adige".

Erika Gangl's very own dancing technique indicates that contemporary direction of dance-theatre based on Alfred Peschek's new trend in music which is celebrating its European premiere. In addition, "Gangl-Peschek" have developed in the course of time a kind of ellective affinity, originating in their mutual avant-garde approach and inducing a continuous reciprocity of the two forces of music and dance. The ground had been prepared for ERDENKLANG. The music of Hubert Bognermayr and Harald Zuschrader provokes this very interplay of forces and the computer expands the possibilities and provides a new dimension, that of the Computer-Acoustic Dance Theatre.
Erika Gangl:
"The body itself, part of the natural materials like water and earth, becomes an instrument. It writhes like a scream, like a final call to reason for all mankind. ERDENKLANG is not only to point towards the lateness of the hour for this our world of concrete and power lines, it is to lead the way towards a new revival of our environment. Everyone aware of the polarity of art and nature knows that only art can lead the way."