Alphorns in the High Mountains: The Dresden Symphony Orchestra stands at a distance from its fans during the Corona Crisis and remains widely audible. On September 12, the ensemble will be spread over several high-rise buildings in the Dresden-Prohlis district and will give a concert with sounds of the mountain. “Sixteen alphorns, nine trumpets, four tubas and four Chinese Dà Gǔ drums fill a whole residential area with sound”, reveals director Markus Rindt. The public can take a seat in the parking lot of the Prohliser shopping center or stroll through the streets of the new apartment building district. Title of the program: “Himmel über Prohlis”.
Composer Markus Lehmann-Horn wrote a work especially for the concert. Like the other pieces, it should break the narrow boundaries of the classical concert hall and bring people together, Rindt said. In the morning, 33 symphonists are already playing in small groups in the interior courtyards of the residential district and want to whet the residents’ appetites for the free afternoon concert at lofty heights. After all, musicians play at a height of almost 50 meters. The alphorn players are posted on four rooftops. On others, trumpets and tubes provide additional timbres. The striking mechanism is in the parking lot.
“The music in this concert uses spatial distance,” says Rind. There would be several hundred meters between the musicians, the basic motif was communication between groups of instruments: “This is exactly what the alphorn represents: the interaction over long distances in the mountains.” A video team documented the performances throughout the day so that the project could then be experienced as a movie.
Rindt also sees his musicians as pioneers of the project: “The future was never plannable. But now that mundane fact becomes existential. Can we build on familiar life or should we prepare for an unstable coexistence with it? the virus?” For the music scene, that could mean saying goodbye to familiar formats, line-up sizes, and other constellations for a long time. Forced realignment also offers the opportunity to think about and try out completely new formats. You want to create an image of openness, understanding and departure.
The high-rise stage is not entirely unknown to symphonists. In 2006 they performed a “high rise symphony” with the Pet Shop Boys in Dresden. Rindt founded the orchestra in 1998 with musician Sven Helbig. It consists of artists from the independent scene and musicians from renowned orchestras from home and abroad. Often the projects also dealt with political issues. In 2013, the symphony orchestra performed the “Symphony for Palestine” in Ramallah and Jenin (West Bank) – with colleagues from Arab countries. In 2017, they played on the border between Mexico and the United States to protest against the wall planned by US President Donald Trump.