Heiner Goebbels: Imaginary Stages




Heiner Goebbels, Stifters Dinge. Photo by Mario del Curto.


Heiner Goebbels, Stifters Dinge. Photo by Ewa Herzog.


Heiner Goebbels, Stifters Dinge. Photo by Ewa Herzog.

FringeArts presented the Philadelphia premiere of two works by Heiner Goebbels, an internationally acclaimed German composer and director known for his hybrid blend of theater, installation, and experimental composition. Stifters Dinge is a performative installation driven by a large-scale set that includes five mechanically operated prepared pianos, movable walls, and projections. Two technicians, the only humans in the piece, make a brief appearance and then disappear, leaving no human counterpart on stage for the audience to follow, thereby creating a landscape, without commentary, from which the audience must draw its own conclusions. The music varies from melodic to forceful, borrowing from Bach and recordings of Malcolm X and Claude Lévi-Strauss, while the pianos play of their own accord, and pieces of the set’s architecture ring, buzz, and thrum. The companion chamber composition Songs Of Wars I Have Seen joined instrumentalists from baroque ensemble Tempesta di Mare and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra on both period and contemporary instruments, with text by Gertrude Stein.

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