Fire in California: More than 30 dead by forest fires

The state of emergency in California continues , the number of victims continues high: in the northern California village of Paradise in burned out houses and cars, another six bodies were found, the police said on Sunday evening (local time). Thus, the number of victims increased to 31 people. Two burned bodies had already been discovered in a car in Malibu, southern California, on Friday.

In Paradise , where the so-called “camp” fire since Thursday destroyed more than 6,000 houses, many people continue to be missing. The authorities spoke on Sunday of 228 people. Presumably, there are also people on the missing person list who could already bring themselves to safety. Chaotic conditions with closed roads and no telephone network make it difficult to find relatives.

More than 8,000 firefighters fought on the weekend against three major fires in the north and south of California. Almost 150,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, the command center in the Los Angeles district said.

With the return of the fierce Santa Ana winds, the situation in Southern California remained tense. Evacuation orders remained in force for the celebrity town of Malibu and surrounding areas. The so-called “Woolsey” fire destroyed dozens of houses there, they said.

Expensive villas destroyed in Malibu

The estate of Thomas Gottschalk and his wife Thea in Malibu also burned down. His villa was destroyed, Gottschalk confirmed on Sunday. “I can not say anything because I miss the words,” said Gottschalk the “Bild” newspaper. “I had the poem” The Panther “in the handwriting of Rainer Maria Rilke hanging on the wall.This is also in flames Like the staircase through which my children have always raged. “

He had just hosted a charity gala for children in Germany when he found out, said Gottschalk. The 68-year-old is since 1990 based in the US state of California.

US singer Miley Cyrus has also lost her house as a result of the fires. “My house is gone, but the memories I share with family and friends remain,” she wrote on Twitter . Despite the material loss, she sees herself as “one of the lucky ones”: “My animals and THE LOVE OF MY LIFE have certainly made it out & that’s all that matters at the moment.” The singer thanked the fire department and police. Cyrus’ house adjoined the estate of Gottschalk.

Allegations rejected by Trump

In case of prolonged drought, heat and violent winds, a speedy relaxation of the situation is not in sight, warned the fire department on Sunday. But there was also a bright spot. Thanks to a massive fire fighting record, one of the three major fires – the so-called “Hill” fire – could be contained to 70 percent.

Californian Governor Jerry Brown drew a bleak picture on Sunday for the drought-ridden West Coast state. Brown takes the position of numerous researchers who blame climate change, with rising temperatures, for severe droughts, more severe forest fires and other weather extremes. “This is not the new normal, it’s the new abnormality,” said Brown.


Böhmermann and Barnaby

The ZDF is three programs. There is the main program, already for the seventh year market leader in German television, there is ZDFinfo, which makes its orientation on documentation similar programs like the private news channel n-tv. And there is ZDFneo, which is getting closer and closer to the “second TV league” of Vox, RTL 2 and Kabel 1, if it does not repeat it.

ZDFneo, started in 2009, manages the balancing act to win younger audiences and not to scare off older ones. With sitcoms such as “Blockbustaz” or “Fuel – More than Super”, especially with the “Neo Magazine Royale” by and with Jan Böhmermann , the average age, which is in the original ZDF audience at 62 years, on the um-the-50s Mark pressed. Which also succeeds in the series celebrating premiere in ZDFneo. Last Thursday, for example, “Gray Zone”, a production in the proven Scandi Noir style, in which ZDFneo had invested money.

On November 14, even greater attention should be generated: Launch of the crime series “The Perfume” after the bestseller by Patrick Süskind. Considerable cast ( Wotan Wilke Möhring , Friederike Becht, August Diehl), remarkable director (Philipp Kadelbach) and a major producer (Oliver Berben) come together. “The Perfume” comes at the same time with the launch of ZDFneo in the media library, on ZDF, the series will run in early 2019.

A broadcaster must first dare to do so: broadcast a high-quality production first in the “small” and then in the “big” program. In the ARD comparable behavior can not be detected; the third, for example, in terms of fiction, is not just a festival of “crime scene” rehearsals.

Mix of innovations and repetitions

The TV channel ZDF achieves the desired success with this program tactic, ZDFneo has climbed up in the perception of the audience. The innovations are outweighed, many traditional ZDF viewers will say: captured by a wide repertoire of Reruns. The crime series “Last Track Berlin”, the revenant “Wilsberg” and on Monday the classic par excellence: “Inspector Barnaby” in double episode.

Where John Nettles’ Tom Barnaby is acclaimed by the church louder than his successor John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon). The crime series is far from any TV vision and very close to the Agatha-Christie tradition: Britishness at its best. There are on Monday up to two million Fanzuschauer in it, even if in the second of the “TV movie of the week” is running.

The mix at ZDFneo, at the same time the documentary track at ZDFinfo, allow ZDF to sharpen its main program more sharply on quotas, or to “liberate” programs that do not arouse much public interest. The best documentary place, on Tuesday at 8:15 pm, will then offer a “shoe market check” on the 18th of September. On Sunday there was already the melodrama “A Summer in Vietnam” on Wednesday with “Aktenzeichen XY” on Criminal Hunt, and on Thursday the comedy slogan “Envy is not a solution”. But there are still ZDFneo.


“Extra time” on Arte: Berlin, rough and tender

In the nursing home, the “Berlin air” is popular. When Cem (Mehmet Atesci) tunes the classic, it helps to attract the residents very well, because then as if by the push of a button arms and mood fly up.

Also at the end of the movie “Nachspielzeit” the song by Paul Lincke has a special, connecting meaning. The lilting Lincke march, which is over 100 years old, has long since become a cliché – but Berlin and its air have changed enormously.

Cem is a German-Turkish, currently working in voluntary service, is in love with geriatric nurse Astrid (Friederike Becht), radical left and ready to resist. Against Nazis and against the real estate gold diggers who push the old tenants out . “If you are a victim, it goes on and on,” he tells his friend Marc (Jacob Matschenz).

The conflicts coagulate into a duel

In “Nachspielzeit”, author and director Andreas Pieper tells vividly and excitingly about the fight for the neighborhood, about gentrification , left against right, west against east. The conflicts, which can only exist in this formerly divided metropolis, coagulate into a duel: between Cem from Neukölln and Roman ( Frederick Lau ) from Lichtenberg, who blames the “Kanaken” for his unemployment.

Immediately in the first scene you see Cem with a baseball bat in his hand, Roman kneels in front of him. The bat has Cem of Calli (Aleksandar Tesla) urging him to strike.

Rough and tender is this “modern Heimatfilm”

Speculator Calli is the criminal villain who thrives everywhere in the neighborhood and plays everyone against each other who is cold, smart and, if in doubt, brutally runs his business. Of course, Pieper lets his audience fidget, one learns only at the end, whether Cem the temptation to strike, could resist or not. Until then, the film follows two protagonists on their way to escalation.

It all begins with a foul on the football field, slices are smashed, Roman and his right-hand buddies are hired by Calli to give the “hippies a decent swatter.” With the “hippies” is meant the “Mietarmada” that transforms apartment tours to the hassle of brokers in happenings. Also present: Cem, who has thrown a fire charge into a construction site, and Astrid, who is hesitating to get involved with Cem.

Rough and tender is this “modern Heimatfilm”, as Pieper, a graduate of the Babelsberg Film University, calls his second feature film. The camera of Armin Dierolf is moving a lot and creates a close proximity to the characters and their everyday life. Both young men seek their identity, break away from their parents’ home. Cem’s parents operate a restaurant whose existence is at stake not only because of Calli, but also because of the passions of the father. Roman’s father squats lonely and overwhelmed by the new time in a lousy apartment.

The third father figure in this film plays Horst Westphal (“Cloud 9”) , who gives the old president in this young, exceedingly remarkable ensemble: Westphal is the former East German sports reporter Liebach, who now commented on the world events as a retirement home and the young, angry Cem to think with a mixture of bitterness and historical awareness. “Nachspielzeit” tells the story of young Berliners, but this Berlin does not come from nowhere. And luckily it does not always have to be Paul Lincke: “Every day is the best day of a life,” sings Johannes Rögner of the band Frittenbude in “Zeitmaschinen von Müll”.


NDR “crime scene” role reversal in Lüneburg

“Am I a witness or do I stand under suspicion?” For Commissar Thorsten Falke (Wotan Wilke Möhring) it is an unfamiliar situation. After a tragically failed mission, the federal police officer sits opposite a commissioner of the Lueneburg police in an interrogation room, the microphones of the recording device are directed at him and he must answer the questions of Joachim Rehberg (Jörn Knebel). “When the sun comes up, I have to go to the press. Until then, I want to know what happened “, Rehberg explains to the colleague.

“Everything they say” is the name of the new NDR “crime scene” with Wotan Wilke Möhring and Franziska Weisz as Falkes colleague Julia Grosz. Of collegial mood is in this case, however, felt little. In their statements, the two contradict each other again and again, the relationship between them seems shattered.

A young woman lost her life in an access that was never allowed to happen. There is a possibility that the bullet comes from Falkes weapon or he is in another way to blame for the death of the innocent woman. The Lüneburg Commissioner is to reconstruct the course of events and is dependent on the statements of Falke and Grosz.

It initially looked like a routine case: The BKA Commissioners are to examine a man who is suspected of having committed war crimes in the Syrian-Lebanese border area as a member of a militia. When he finds the man (Youssef Maghrebi) in a school where he helps with integration lessons, he flees. In a later access in a factory hall it comes to a firefight. His companion Amila is mortally wounded.

This “crime scene” is unusual in many respects and extraordinarily successful at the same time. The writers Arne Nolting and Jan Martin Scharf are not bothered by the fact that the setting is reminiscent of the crime series “True Detective” with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, they point out that the construction with an unreliable narrator and different perspectives already by Akira Kurosawa was used in “Rashomon”.

The refugees in the film are “real”

With Özgür Yildirim, “What They Say” was implemented by a director who was already involved in the development of investigator duo Falke / Grosz . Although interrogated separately, he lets the two commissioners interact in a kind of remote duel. As a filmmaker of German-Turkish origin, Yildirim is annoyed when non-Germans are to speak broken German on television.

The refugees in this “crime scene” are therefore real refugees, “and that’s what they hear,” says the director. Yildirim came to the aid of a coincidence. It turned out that both Sabrina Amali, who plays the Lebanese Alima, and Franziska Weisz French speak. This makes these scenes look very authentic.

The impressive atmosphere of the film, which consists almost equally of the chamber play situation of the interrogation room and flashbacks to the events before the interview, is further enhanced by the image design of Matthias Bolliger and the music of Timo Pierre Rositzki. Falke and Grosz have not been seen like that before.


After scandalizing Jim Acosta: CNN sues White House

Image result for cnn sues white houseNew Escalation Level: The US television channel CNN has sued the White House for locking up its reporter Jim Acosta . In a lawsuit filed in Washington on Tuesday, the broadcaster argues that suspending the accreditation violates Acosta’s and CNN’s constitutional rights, the broadcaster said on its website. If nothing is done about what happens in the White House, this would have an impact on the work of many journalists, the broadcaster continued. The expulsion of press representatives could have a “deterrent effect”, thus suppressing critical journalism. Live on air, the CNN moderators spoke of a “historic moment for press freedom.” The lawsuit seeks to ensure that this does not happen again.

Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders described the lawsuit as “another showmanship” by CNN. Acosta had the opportunity to answer two questions during the press conference and then “physically refused” to drop the microphone and let colleagues have their say. “The White House can not hold an orderly and fair press conference if a reporter behaves in a way that is neither appropriate nor professional,” Sanders said. The freedom of the press was not served when an individual of more than 150 journalists present tried to seize the event for themselves.

The Correspondents Association of the White House supports the suit of the transmitter. In a statement, she described the exclusion as disproportionate. “The President of the United States should not be able to arbitrarily choose the men and women who report on him,” said Olivier Knox, spokesman for the association.

The White House had also justified Acasta’s lockout by saying that during a tumultuous press conference by President Donald Trump last week, the journalist reportedly touched a White House intern who wanted to take the microphone away from him. Experts and journalists last expressed the suspicion, however, that the video was deliberately manipulated by the incident.


US President threatens journalists: Trump calls for “respec” for the White House

Image result for trump threatens journalistsThe quarrel over CNN reporter Jim Acosta and the withdrawal of his White House accession rights has become an affair with presidential spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, sparking a debate over the limits of government propaganda in a democracy. The White House correspondents accuse her of broadcasting a rigged video to corroborate Acosta’s accusation that he was physically opposed to a member of the press staff who was supposed to take the microphone away from him.

Donald Trump had given the floor to Acosta at the press conference on Wednesday’s election exit, but withdrew it after exchanging words. Then the co-worker went to Acosta. He first held the microphone and continued talking. It came to body contact.

On the video that Sanders distributed via Twitter , the gesture of the gesticulating Acosta has been accelerated, video experts analyze. So the short physical contact with the employee does not seem like an inadvertent touch, but like a knocking off of the woman’s arm. In addition, the manipulated video contained no soundtrack, so that Acosta’s apology “Pardon me, ma’am” was not heard.

The White House had suspended Acosta’s passport after the press conference. Sanders reasoned that Acosta “laid hands on a young woman.”

The reactions in the US were divided. Media left center view in the punishment Acostas an interference in the press freedom. Right-center media tell Acosta that he’s making it a way to engage the president in exchange, rather than asking questions. He does not act like a journalist, but like an opponent of Trump.

But now the White House is accused of not having forged a manipulated video, but spread it, although the source was questionable. Whitney Shefte, chairman of White House photojournalists, says, “Manipulating images manipulates the truth.” That’s “misleading, dangerous and unethical,” especially “if someone does that on behalf of the highest state office.” Melissa Chan of The New York Times, who currently lives as a Bosch Fellow in Berlin, feels reminded of China. There, the government had denied her the accreditation with similar justification.

Trump threatened on Friday with another meeting with journalists that even more of them could be deprived of accreditation: “There could be others,” he said. His personal attacks on individual media representatives, he continued on this occasion. Journalist Abby Phillip, who also works for CNN, said he had asked a “stupid question”. “You ask a lot of stupid questions,” he said.

Phillip had asked if, following the expulsion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions with the help of his temporary successor, Matthew Whitaker, the president wanted to curb the investigation into possible illegal Trump contacts with Moscow in the 2016 election campaign.

At his brief press briefing on Friday, Trump also cursed radio reporter April Ryan for being “loser” and “very mean”. He urged journalists to treat the White House with “respect” for being a “very holy place”.


Donald Trump vs. Jim Acosta: US President Punishes News Reporter

Image result for jim acostaThe White House has withdrawn CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s access to US government headquarters after a heated controversy between President Donald Trump and him at the press conference on Wednesday’s US election outcome . The reactions in the US are split. For some, the decision is evidence of restrictions on press freedom under Trump. For the enders, the overdue consequence of Acosta’s behavior. He had repeatedly ignored the rules for dealing with the media with the president and damaged the dignity of the office.

“That’s enough, give the microphone back”

Acosta regularly uses Trump’s media encounters not just to ask a question, but to engage the president in exchange. When Trump gave him the floor on Wednesday, Acosta questioned him about his statements about migrant hijackers from Honduras to the US border. After a brief back and forth Trump interrupted him harshly: “That’s enough. Give the microphone back. “

Acosta refused and continued talking. When a White House employee took the microphone out of his hand, Acosta held it tight. It came to a brief collision, until he let go. The president criticized this behavior. “You are an outrageous, terrible person. CNN should be ashamed that someone like you works for the station. “

'It is enough!' - Trump gets in touch with CNN correspondent Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee calls the fistfulness as justification for the suspension of the “White House Hard Pass”, which at any time entitled to access the White House without prior notification and without escort. “We are in favor of press freedom, but we do not tolerate anyone putting hands on a young woman.” Acosta called this allegation “a lie.” He asserted, “I did not touch her.”


Benjamin Opera in the Philharmonic: When angels sneer

George Benjamin is an amazingly clear-sighted daydreamer. The British composer, born in 1960, writes such a lucid music that it unfolds the effect of a mind-expanding drug in no time at all. Surrendering or energetically plucked violins, stuffed trombones, thumping basses, an archaizing bass gamba and irritating percussion from clacking stones to various maracas to the big drum knit a seductively dense, harmonious fabric. Familiar climes mutate into strange soundscapes, with nervous, flickering melodies and violent emotional eruptions.

This year’s Composer in Residence of the Philharmonie itself is on the podium of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra ; spirited and unerring they navigate through the score of Benjamin’s opera “Written On Skin – A Stormy Ride”. The work, which premiered in 2012 in Aix-en-Provence and is now being taken over at 20 venues, is finally being heard in Berlin. Not on an opera stage, but half-scenic in the Philharmonic, directed by Benjamin Davis. Whereby the lack of scenery and costume is compensated by the intensity of the interpretation and the so impeccable and strikingly dramatic vocals of the five outstanding soloists.

Sensual music theater full of eroticism, poetry and humor

The story of an angel and jealousy, based on an Occitan troubadour text, about an autocratic protector (authoritarian: Evan Hughes), his wife Agnès (sovereign in the highest heights: Georgia Jarman) and a young book illustrator (cool, seductive: countertenor Bejun Mehta ) has it all – as a sensual, symbolic music theater full of eroticisms, political allusions, poetry and humor. With astounding elegance Benjamin leaps between the times, the Middle Ages and the present, crossing the sound of the Renaissance with that of the Newtonians and the Epic Theater.

“Cancels all flights from the international airport and populates the sky with angels,” says the text of the dramatist Martin Crimp, the concreteness of the fiction as concise as well. Again, Benjamin lets the singers step out of their roles, as you could already see in his short opera “Into The Little Hill” , in September in the Chamber Music Hall. The singers talk simultaneously in the third person, they also change the roles. Thus, the three mockingly commenting angels themselves become protagonists in this drama about the dangerous power of love and the (sound) painting that reveals the hidden, the desire, the violence, the self-empowerment of a woman forced into immaturity.


Intendant of the Berliner Philharmoniker: “We can now think more freely”

Mrs. Zietzschmann, the Berliner Philharmoniker have just completed their first tour with the future chief conductor Kirill Petrenko . How was it?

Fantastic! It has already felt like the official start of his term, although Kirill Petrenko only starts in Berlin at the end of August 2019. It was a blissful experience for the orchestra, with everyone involved feeling that the boundaries had already been explored artistically. And then what happened on stage, has also transferred directly into the audience. After the season opening in the Philharmonie and the charity concert in the Schlüterhof of the Berlin Palace, the festivals went to Lucerne, Salzburg and London.

Five appearances in five different locations – for this to work, the conductor must be extremely pragmatic. After all, there are only brief attempts at adapting to the acoustic conditions of the respective hall. Petrenko is not famous for pragmatism. How did he handle this challenge?

Impressive and with exactly the qualities that we appreciate about him: precise preparation and focus on the needs of a touchdown rehearsal. He enjoys touring very much because it gives him the opportunity to deepen his interpretations, to work on the details together every day. He is extremely well organized, so he can use the time available perfectly. Of course, the fact that the Philharmonic is very familiar with the halls was also helpful.

Petrenko is known for immediately withdrawing after concerts to return to the score study. How close was he on the tour for the Philharmonic?

He is very close in the rehearsal process. Everything that has to do with music, there is a very intense exchange. After the last concert we arranged a party – and then there was time to get closer to him personally in a relaxed atmosphere.

At the end of April 2019 you will present the first Petrenko season. Where will the thematic priorities lie?

Of course, Kirill Petrenko has looked at what Simon Rattle has done over the last 16 years . In fact, there are only a few gaps. A composer who was less present and with whom Petrenko wants to deal in the future is Mendelssohn Bartholdy. In future, Russian works will have a higher share, for example, he has set Tchaikovsky’s Fifth for his next appearance in Berlin in March 2019. And of course he will conduct the German core repertoire from Mozart to Brahms and Strauss.

And hopefully also Beethoven! Of course, after the explosive interpretation of the Seventh at the start of the season, one wishes for a Beethoven cycle from him.

Yes, that’s the way we are. However, Kirill Petrenko’s focus is not on cyclical performances. But the Beethoven symphonies will occur regularly in his programs.

Construction sites are currently spread all around the Philharmonic. How does your audience react?

Very understanding. There are actually no complaints. And the first construction phase, when the parking lot was replaced by a pedestrian zone, immediately revived the site. The new forecourt on the east side is well received, in the summer people sat on the lawn and the benches, which was very nice to watch. And we are getting more sidewalks, through the future narrower Karajan road and the transformation of Scharounstraße in a place.

Will there be the opportunity to drink or eat before the concert?

We are in discussion with the authorities and heritage protection about what is feasible, and I hope that we can start in the spring with a catering offer on the forecourt. In the medium term, I would also like to revive the old idea of ​​establishing a restaurant on the terrace of the chamber music hall. And then of course there is still the plan of a reception building for the Philharmonic on the northeastern tip of our property at the transition to Potsdamer Platz. Here one could house the cash registers and the shop, a café as well as areas for the education programs.

How about if you would use the new federal money for it? That’s 7.5 million euros per year .

De facto, however, only 1.8 million more of them come from us because the state subsidy was significantly reduced. We prefer to invest this money directly into the music. For example, in the European concerts, for which we have always had to look very expensive sponsors. Thanks to the federal money, we can now think more freely, also with regard to the choice of the venue. On the other hand, we would like to make guest appearances in countries where you can not afford the Philharmonic. Already this season we are going to Poland, where, unlike in Japan or the US, there are no such high ticket prices. But it is important to us not only to be present in the richest nations. We have also budgeted for digital education. And finally, we want to set new thematic accents with Kirill Petrenko, also in the form of festivals.

In addition to their own concerts, the Philharmoniker are increasingly organizing guest performances by other artists in the Philharmonic and the Chamber Music Hall, including piano recitals, string quartets and early music. This leads to a market distortion, because you with your subsidies in the back the ticket prices can of course calculate differently than the private organizers.

I do not think so. Rather, our events enrich the overall offer. Because many of our projects could not be handled by a private concert promoter, a concertante performance of George Benjamin’s opera “Written on skin” with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, for example. We support the youth orchestras with which we are associated, and with our invitations we support the privately financed ensembles such as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, which has not been in Berlin for years.

Any private organizer would also like to do a piano recital with Krystian Zimerman!

That’s true. But he has a very close connection to the Philharmonic, and that’s why he calls us when he wants to perform in Berlin. As far as the quartet nights and the original sound ensembles are concerned, we try to work closely with the private broadcasters. And I’m also open to doing something in common with the private sector, such as a guest appearance by the London Symphony Orchestra with a certain Simon Rattle.

What about the new competition from Pierre Boulez Saal, operated by Daniel Barenboim?

We all benefited from it, because it obviously fueled the enthusiasm of the audience for chamber music. In our area, too, occupancy has been rising since the opening of the Boulez hall. Which surprised me quite well.

Simon Rattle once described the director’s post at the Philharmonic: “It’s a hard job, much like playing in a string quartet. It feels like you’re married to the other three people – but without the benefits. “It feels that way”

The string quartet is indeed a good picture, because there are four of us on the foundation board where the important decisions are made.

In addition to the chief conductor and you are there represented two musicians who represent the one hand, the orchestra, on the other hand, the media activities.

In comparison to what I experienced in my former job as manager of the NDR-Klangkörper, where I moved in a four-state consortium, the Berlin situation is more manageable for me.

Which instrument do you play in this quartet?

Of course the first violin!

The three others would presumably also say that …

(laughs) Each one of us actively participates in the discussions and, like in a modern string quartet, one or the other plays a major role. That’s what makes a good discourse.

But in case of conflict, the director has to speak a word of power?

Yes, but luckily we did not have any situation in my first season that would have been necessary.


Composer George Benjamin: The angels that I called

“Ultimately, the conductor is about becoming invisible,” says George Benjamin. The sentence would probably not sign many Maestri. But the 58-year-old Briton has a different view of the profession than many of his colleagues. He is a composer who also conducts. “My job is not to explain to the orchestra what it has to do, but to listen to the musicians. But I have to know the score really well. Then a give and take can develop, “he says. “What the musicians need, I only learn by listening.”

George Benjamin had written music as a young boy and then performed with his classmates, he was a pianist, played drums in various orchestras and at the age of 16 he left Paris for Paris to become the last pupil of the great Olivier Messiaen become. Four years later he attracted international attention with his symphonic work “Ringed by the Flat Horizon”. He was a student at Cambridge.

But his multiple talent has not gone to head George Benjamin. Whoever encounters him experiences a restrained gentleman who speaks in a low voice, who takes his time for his answers, who weighs words because he is concerned with precision and imagery. As in his compositions. They are often seductively toned and extremely well-orchestrated, conjuring suggestive moods with polyharmonics. In short, they approach the audience in a sensual way.

As in architecture, it first needs a foundation

At the same time, Benjamin’s music is more complicated than it appears at first hearing. “Spontaneity in contemporary music is just as much an illusion as it is in architecture,” says George Benjamin. “I really appreciate the freedom we have as composers today. But in order to be able to write music as it seems to me, I have to create my own rules. This invention process takes a long time. “

Like an architect, he explains, he needs an idea first, then a mold, finally concrete construction plans and a foundation that will no longer be visible later. “Once this process is completed, however, the scaffolding disappears, as in architecture, and the viewer sees only the finished work.”

George Benjamin has no trouble letting go of his scores, releasing them to the music world when they’re done. “I even enjoy listening to my works when other conductors interpret them. I have wonderful memories. Sure, if it’s a bad performance, then of course I’m suffering. But I have to take the risk. “

Benjamin has a long history with Berlin

When he is sitting at a new composition, he often fails for months to take the pleasure of taking the baton in his hand. Because as a composer he is a slow worker and therefore needs the exclusive focus on working with the music paper. If the premiere is done, he gladly accepts guest engagements. “This is a great pleasure, after a long, quiet phase at the desk.” Most of the time, he conducts his own work or works by other contemporary composers. But his repertoire now covers the entire twentieth century, sometimes even trips to Berlioz or Mozart.

George Benjamin has a long history with Berlin. In 1993, he first worked with the German Symphony Orchestra, then in 2002 Kent Nagano brought him to the orchestra as “Composer in Residence”. This in turn resulted in the 2006 debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker, who have now offered Benjamin a residence for this season. At the Philharmoniker’s first music festival, he will conduct a program that combines his orchestral piece “Palimpsest” to Ravel’s piano concerto for the left hand as well as pieces by Pierre Boulez and György Ligeti on Sunday and Sunday. And on September 12, he performs his chamber opera “Into the Little Hill” with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra . Two months later, the music theater play “Written on Skin”, his greatest success, which has been reenacted by 20 stages worldwide since its premiere in 2012 in Aix-en-Provence , finally follows. Not in Berlin.

The 21st century angels are strict with humans

“I have to be patient,” commented George Benjamin smiling the question, why probably none of the three metropolitan opera houses has requested from him. All the more he looks forward to the two evenings with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in the Chamber Music Hall and the Philharmonic respectively. For he likes concertante performances of his operas. “It’s different from the theater, of course, but the pieces can also make a big impact in the concert hall.”

Although it urged him to the dramatic, the dramatic, early on, George Benjamin hesitated for a long time to write an opera. “Because I had to find a way to tell stories, without copying the naturalism of the cinema.” With the playwright Martin Crimp, he had finally found his partner in his mid-forties. Together, they developed a technique “that allows one to respect the artificiality of a situation in the opera house and at the same time bring the subject close to the viewer.”

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German Symphony Orchestra Berlin Kent Nagano turns Mahler’s second into a celestial channel

Breaths in the soul drama. Conductor Kent Nagano.

In “Written on Skin”, for example, the story takes place in the Middle Ages, but there are also three angels who observe and comment on the event. “These are real 21st century angels who are very strict with us humans,” emphasizes George Benjamin, “a bit like the chorus in Greek tragedy. In the meantime, they also dive into the plot as minor characters. “A role model for Martin Crimp was Wim Wenders’ film” The Sky over Berlin “. There is also a similar meta-level in “Into the Little Hill”, where the performers tell the story of the Pied Piper of Hameln, on the one hand, and become part of the characters they report about on the other hand.

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