A House of Call. My Imaginary Notebook

Heiner Goebbels, Ensemble Modern Orchestra

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An orchestral spectacle as a tribute to the human voice

During projects, while travelling and meeting people, composer and director Heiner Goebbels collected audio fragments in an imaginary notebook for years. These form the basis of the concert piece A House of Call. My Imaginary Notebook

Heiner Goebbels is known for his collage-like way of storytelling. He meticulously coordinates text, music and stage setting, while at the same time leaving plenty of room for the imagination of his audience. 

Through the years, he collected recordings of all sorts of things, from theatre monologues to an Armenian singer or the sounds of a construction site. The common thread in this collection is the human voice. The sounds owe their appeal to what they mean, but certainly also to how they sound. Now, they are making their way into this four-part composition. 

Goebbels wrote this piece especially for the Ensemble Modern Orchestra, with which he has frequently intensively collaborated for a long time already. The musicians respond to the audio fragments, they comment, interrupt, encourage or run counter instead. They also make themselves heard with remarkable initiatives, like an outstanding jazz solo on saxophone. This results in a masterfully composed and surprising journey in listening in which the human voice takes centre stage.


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