Rodney Graham

Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof / Historical hall

Parsifal (18. June 2000, 20:18:13 – 22:19:23 h) WP
Real-time excerpt from “Parsifal 1882 – 38.969.364.735 A.D.” for 12 string and 9 wind instruments
Orchester GENERATION BERLIN, director: Christian von Borries

For more than 20 years, Rodney Graham, who was born 1949 in Vancouver and still lives there, has been creating large complexes of work about specific historical and cultural contexts, in which he uses various media including printing, installation, photography, music, film and video. Since his participation in the 1997 Venice Biennale and his solo exhibition at the Vienna Kunsthalle in 1999, Graham has been reaching a broader audience in Europe. He is currently staying in Munich and Berlin as a guest of the DAAD.

The “Parsifal” score, one of Graham’s first musical works, is based on an anecdote about the premiere performance of Wagner’s “Parsifal” in Bayreuth in 1882. It seems that Engelbert Humperdinck, Wagner’s assistant, was asked to write some additional bars of music that could be repeated to bridge the technical difficulties of the transformation scene in the opera’s first act. Graham’s composition inserts additional new asynchronous instrumental loops into Humperdinck’s loop of supplemental music. The artist has calculated these loops from the creation year 1882 until the year 38,969,364,735 which is when, according to mathematical computations, the orchestra will again be synchronized with itself. Calculated expressly for the Berlin concert, “Parsifal (18. Juni 2000, 20:18:13 – 22.19.23)” is a real-time excerpt from a composition that is situated beyond all imaginable temporal dimensions.

Ingrid Buschmann, Gabriele Knapstein

In cooperation with Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin. Made possible by Hauptstadtkulturfonds and Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie.

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