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Kyoto
Film concert: Beethoven

Film concert „Beethoven“ - Portrait: Thomas Köner
Film concert „Beethoven“ - Portrait: Thomas Köner | Photo (detail): © Thomas Köner

An audio-visual retelling of Beethoven's life: a silent film, a narrator, a pianist – these are the ingredients of Thomas Köner's film performance. 

This audiovisual project involves a screening of the 1927 silent film Beethoven, a bio-pic about the composer’s life, whose intertitles are voiced by a Japanese benshi. Benshi were skilled voice workers at Japanese cinemas who provided live narration and explanatory commentary as well as voicing multiple roles in early Japanese silent films, so they were a key element of the early Japanese cinema experience. At this screening of Beethoven, passages of Beethoven’s music will be played live on the piano, though not at the original tempo (which would take 7 minutes), but slowed down to last the length of the film (70 minutes), with the notes and chords played according to the cutting and editing of the images. The result is a “timeless” gravitas that serves as an “event matrix” for the sound design by multimedia artist Thomas Köner, whose soundscapes are based on the narration and emotion portrayed on the screen. 

Scheduled performance:

  • November/December 2020 (tbc): Kyoto

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