Philharmonie Luxembourg has announced 22 concerts as part of the rainy days festival to discover faraway, utopian and imaginary spheres following the motto “out of this world” taking place from Tuesday 15 to Sunday 27 November 2022.
According to Philharmonie, contemporary music has always aimed to invent or discover new sonic worlds and the means chosen by composers to reach this goal range from advanced technology to unfamiliar playing techniques and simply wild imagination.
The Festival Programme
Sofia Gubaidulina and Arvo Pärt have been giving the music world spiritual and mystical sonic worlds for decades. For the pre-opening event of rainy days, the percussionist Christoph Sietzen and the organist Christian Schmitt combine works by both composers with compositions by the Swedish composer Andrea Tarrodi and the "alpha and omega of all music", Johann Sebastian Bach. At the Théâtre des Capucins, the musical theatre work "Subnormal Europe" opens the festival. In this performance, the singer Noa Frenkel is increasingly transported into a live 3D video game, a virtuoso staging of the power of data to overwhelm present times. In "Zeugen", the composer Georges Aperghis, on the other hand, creates a poetical and intimate musical theatre with the help of hand puppets by Paul Klee and texts by Robert Walser: the Zeugen, or witnesses, talk about themselves, their stories and ideas in a subtly ironic manner.
Contemporary music owes one of its most original and effective sonic worlds to the composer Helmut Lachenmann. Almost 60 years have passed between his first and his most recent work, String Trio No. 2. Ensemble Recherche will perform both, juxtaposed with a new work by Chris Swithinbank, who grew up in Luxembourg, and a piece by the Finn Kristine Tjøgersen, which was inspired by underwater recordings of singing fish.
The all-star trio of Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Jean-Guihen Queyras and Mark Simpson pays homage to Lachenmann in a portrait concert dedicated to the composer.
The festival also appeals to cineastes: in 1930, the Ukrainian film director Alexander Dovshenko created the silent movie Semlya (Earth). A milestone of Soviet cinema and a timelessly moving document, the film portrays the conflict between Communist youth in a small Ukrainian village and the tradition of the large landowners. The Russian composer Alexander Popov wrote a new score for this classic film in 1997; it will have its European premiere as part of the festival in Luxembourg on 20 November 2022.
Sounds as creatures with lives of their own – this is a notion which Francisco López explores in his immersive performance, in which he will choose samples from his extensive archive of personal recordings, mixing them and letting the sound-creatures interact directly with the space. The artist Thomas Ankersmit makes two appearances: in his tribute to the artist Maryanne Amacher – a pioneer in triggering unexpected, physically immersive experiences through her music – he transforms not only the architecture of the Philharmonie’s foyer, but also the turns the audience members into resounding bodies. His second performance spins a web of sound within the Casino space, with the goal of radical simplification: instead of samples and digital effects, Ankersmit relies entirely on the possibilities of an analogue synthesizer.
On the last festival weekend, soprano Juliet Fraser takes her audience into idiosyncratic soundscapes in three new solo works with electronics composed for her, presenting vocal art of the highest virtuosity at the pulse of our times. From birdsong to the melting ice reserves of the Arctic and Swedish folk music: the composers featured in Karin Hellqvist’s violin recital draw upon varied inspirations, creating a comprehensive panorama of contemporary violin music. Throughout his life, the French composer Gérard Grisey was fascinated by the laws of space and the possibilities of making the cosmos audible. In 1989, he took pulsars – rotating neutron stars whose magnetic waves can be transformed into sound waves – as the point of departure for his Le Noir de l’Étoile, an hourlong composition for six percussionists spread throughout a space, which has since become a new music classic. Grisey wrote it for Les Percussions de Strasbourg, who now perform in Luxembourg for the very first time. The festival ends with the traditional Bal contemporain.
After the legendary production Black Mirror with United Instruments of Lucilin at the Gantebeensmillen in 2016, Alexander Schubert returns with the immersive installation Sleep Laboratory, a dream-like journey through virtual realities. In his sound installation and associated half-hour performance "Just when I thought I’d know you", the Luxembourgish artist Patrick Muller plays with the idiosyncrasies of the architecturally and acoustically intriguing foyer of the Philharmonie, inviting the audience to re-explore and experience this special place in conjunction with his eponymous sound installation.
The Noise Watchers offer world premieres of new works by two of their founding fathers, sharing the soundscape of the Salle de Musique de Chambre with the members of Percussion Under Construction.
OPL, Contemporary Music Academy and Programming for Young Audiences
In its concert, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg (OPL) juxtaposes current orchestra worlds, namely a new work by Mark Andre, a sound explosion by Milica Djordjević and musical observations on decolonization by George Lewis, with Younghi Pagh-Paan’s homage to the creative power of women in Korean folk culture.
In collaboration with neimënster and United Instruments of Lucilin, the festival will establish an academy for professional instrumentalists. The Lucilin musicians will share the podium with the participants, preparing a concert of contemporary chamber music works. The week will feature group rehearsals and individual coaching on playing techniques by members of the ensemble.
The children and teenagers participating in the workshop "What do the stars sound like?" can slip into the role of a composer and develop their own musical ideas. Accompanied by professional musicians, they embark upon an interstellar journey of discovery – and their new compositions will be heard during the final workshop concert.
Children aged seven to twelve are the target audience of the interactive performance "Am Bësch", commissioned by the Philharmonie in cooperation with the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the festival Musica Strasbourg, the Ultima Festival Oslo, The Momentary and Wien Modern. The production featuring music and cartoons drawn especially for this purpose is presented by the New York-based ensemble Yarn/Wire and Elsa Rauchs, taking the audience into a forest of special sounds where children can also invent, discover and collect sounds.
Rainy days 2000–2022
The festival rainy days was founded in 2000 by a group of musicians and composers around Claude Lenners and Guy Frisch with the twofold aim of giving the Luxembourg "New Music" scene visibility and presenting international events in Luxembourg. Over its 22 festival editions to the present one, the rainy days festival has undergone a remarkable development. It has remained true to its founding idea: year after year, internationally renowned artists are invited to the rainy days to present exciting and visionary projects. At the same time, it shows the current musical creativity of the region. From 2005 to 2016, the festival was curated by Bernhard Günther. The present edition marks the farewell of Lydia Rilling, the festival’s artistic director since 2016, who now passes the baton to Catherine Kontz.
The rainy days festival pass can be purchased for €55 (€30 for young people aged below 27) during its opening hours (Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 18:30) in person at the Philharmonie’s Billetterie or via tel.: 26 32 26 32 or via www.philharmonie.lu.
Further details available online via https://www.philharmonie.lu/en/programm/festivals/rainy-days.