About Baroque
Director: Christian K. Weiß
Length: approx. 58 mins.
© 2005, a co-production with Siemens Arts Program, Lucerne Festival, Freiburger Barockorchester
The "About Baroque" pro­ject con­fronts New Mu­sic with his­tor­ic­al per­form­ance prac­tice. In col­lab­or­a­tion with the Freibur­ger Barock­orchester and the Lu­cerne Fest­iv­al, Siemens Arts Pro­gram makes it pos­sible for five young com­posers to en­gage in an un­con­ven­tion­al mu­sic­al dia­logue with An­cient Mu­sic. In their quest for the "new" in New Mu­sic, com­posers of the pre­ced­ing and present cen­tur­ies have ex­plored and ex­hausted the po­ten­tials of the or­ches­tra’s in­stru­ments in terms of their tech­niques of play­ing and their son­ic pos­sib­il­it­ies.

In­nov­at­ive com­posers have aug­men­ted or­ches­tral cap­ab­il­it­ies by adding en­tire ar­sen­als of tech­nic­al and elec­tron­ic ma­ter­i­als. His­tor­ic­al in­stru­ments too have been used to ex­pand the son­ic world of New Mu­sic. About Baroque has gone bey­ond the as­pect of exot­ic son­ic com­pon­ents. Con­tem­por­ary com­pos­i­tions ex­ploit the spe­cif­ic ways of play­ing and phras­ing, as well as the unique ex­press­ive pos­sib­il­it­ies that his­tor­ic­al per­form­ance prac­tice can of­fer.

Com­posers Ju­li­ane Klein, Re­becca Saun­ders, Ben­jamin Sch­weitzer, Nadir Vassena, and Michel van der Aa had the op­por­tun­ity to par­ti­cip­ate in the re­hears­al phases of the Freibur­ger Barock­orchester and to in­tens­ively study the mu­sic­al ap­proach pur­sued by this en­semble, which works without a con­duct­or.
His­tor­ic­al im­plic­a­tions, con­ven­tions, and ges­tures play a role, as do ques­tions of in­ton­a­tion, son­ic bal­ance, mood, dy­nam­ics, and meter.

About Baroque con­fronts the mu­si­cians with a new vocab­u­lary, a dif­fer­ent style of nota­tion, and a new way of deal­ing with their in­stru­ments. The com­posers are chal­lenged by an un­fa­mil­i­ar styl­ist­ic con­text. To­geth­er, both the mu­si­cians and the com­posers are able to ac­quire new per­spect­ives and new ex­per­i­ences for their work.

The com­posers were com­mis­sioned to cre­ate com­pos­i­tions for the in­stru­ments that typ­ic­ally con­sti­tute a Late Baroque or­ches­tra. No oth­er me­dia or tech­nic­al means were al­lowed. Ex­cept for these con­di­tions, there were no oth­er form­al pre­con­di­tions.

After Ju­li­ane Klein and Ben­jamin Sch­weitzer, Michel van der Aa (NL) began his re­search with the Freibur­ger Barock­orchester on March 8, 2004 in Freiburg. Van der Aa lives and works in Hol­land, where he was born in 1970. He has re­ceived at­ten­tion in Ger­many for his com­pos­i­tions "Here to be found," which was per­formed at the Donaueschin­gen Fest­iv­al (2001) and for "One," which was per­formed with­in the frame­work of the Ber­lin Fest­iv­al (2003).
The Freibur­ger Barock­orchester num­bers among the lead­ing en­sembles for his­tor­ic­al per­form­ance prac­tice. In ad­di­tion to con­certs with prom­in­ent guest con­duct­ors, con­cert-mas­ters Gottfried von der Goltz and Petra Mülle­jans also lead com­pos­i­tions writ­ten for many mu­si­cians "from the front seat," a tra­di­tion which was still prac­ticed as late as the 19th cen­tury. This achieves an in­tens­ity sim­il­ar to that of cham­ber mu­sic. It gen­er­ates its own spe­cial sound, which would not be pos­sible if the or­ches­tra were con­duc­ted from a cent­ral po­di­um. This es­sen­tial as­pect also plays a role in the five new com­pos­i­tions.

About Baroque cel­eb­rated its world premiere on Au­gust 27, 2005 at the Lu­cerne Fest­iv­al. In the fol­low­ing weeks and months, the Freibur­ger Barock­orchester per­formed the five new com­pos­i­tions on a European tour.