What a great program! Anton Webern Fünf Sätze für Streichquartett op. 5, Alban Berg Lyrische Suite für Streichquartett, and then, after a short intermission, Jonathan Harvey’s String Quartet No. 4 with live electronics. The Arditti Quartet gave yet another memorable concert and again the hall was half empty. This is something I just cannot understand. Where are all those young people who listen to contemporary electronic pop music every day? Where are all those avantgarde artists who work for a new kind of art in Berlin? Where are the literati who dream of untold stories, charting new territority for us to explore? Haven’t they heard yet that the future of music has arrived and that it can be experienced in the Berliner Philharmonie for a mere 10 Euros?
Is the marketing department of the Berlin Philharmonic doing something wrong? Why can’t they attract those audiences dying to encounter the new, the unexpected? Have they tried to address those young masses in Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg who are rushing through subway stations from a busy day at the library (or the studio, the university, the office) to a cultural event in a shady Friedrichshain backyard spending the little money they have on what matters to them most: music, theater, art, and literature? Have they distributed flyers at the U-Bahn stops at Eberswalder Strasse, Warschauer Strasse, Mehringerdamm, or Görlitzer Bahnhof? Have they posted their concert announcements on internet pages? Have they made it clear that this is music performed by multiple channels and a world-class string quartet? That the sounds travel through the concert hall with light speed, whirling around your head, making you belief you are pitchforked into space? That this sound experience is produced by a software that makes Björk’s music sound cute and unexiting? Do people know that this is it?
If we have done all of that and people still don’t show up to events like this, we can really give up on the future of music. If we really have to feel like the Leiermann in Schubert’s Winterreise (“keiner mag ihn hören, keiner sieht ihn an”), then it’s all over. But until I have heard from everybody in this city that nobody wants to hear this music, I will refuse to give up, I will refuse to go with the Leiermann…
Drüben hinterm Dorfe steht ein Leiermann
Und mit starren Fingern dreht er, was er kann.
Barfuß auf dem Eise wankt er hin und her
Und sein kleiner Teller bleibt ihm immer leer.
Keiner mag ihn hören, keiner sieht ihn an,
Und die Hunde knurren um den alten Mann.
Und er läßt es gehen alles, wie es will,
Dreht und seine Leier steht ihm nimmer still.
Wunderlicher Alter, soll ich mit dir geh’n?
Willst zu meinen Liedern deine Leier dreh’n?