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The Concert and I

A film by Michael Wende (2012)

Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker,

14 min.

The director Michael Wende, well-known for his highly original documentaries about classical music, has taken on the task of portraying the Berliner Philharmoniker and concert life in an altogether new light. The result are three innovative short films which include the participation of the orchestral musicians as protagonists in an unusual role.

The films deal with themes such as the peculiar experience of time which occurs when performing great works, the various instruments of the orchestra itself, and finally, in a reversal of the usual perspective, the feelings audiences associate with a concert visit to Philharmonie.

The first film focuses on music as a temporal art: The phenomenon of how invisible and fleeting sound is arranged in such a way in major works that it disrupts the usual perception and division of time. Here, members of the Berliner Philharmoniker talk about how time seems to expand in anticipation of a difficult solo, how time comes to a halt after the last note of a successful performance, and how the entire orchestra can attune itself to a common pulse.

The second film employs sophisticated visual choreography and the words of a German-English poem to explore the complex and symbiotic relationship between musicians with their instruments.

In the third film, visitors to the Berlin Philharmonie talk about their expectations and emotions. It also deals with the difference between recordings and live performances, the desire to escape everyday life in concerts, and the art of active listening.