After an unbelievably intense week of coachings with Gyorgy and Marta Kurtag and my performance with Tony Arnold, I’m vacationing in Berlin. In Darmstadt, I was very aware of the town’s peculiar qualities–especially how out-of-the-way it is–and how that was perfect for its unique role in the history of postwar music. No one, except the already-initiated, would know what pathbreaking things were happening there. Kurtag’s piece which I performed was premiered at Darmstadt, and is very much a product of the place–full of quite a bit of angst, maximum dissonance always, and a very obscure sense of rhythm.
But it was a very rich week, and an unforgettable experience. Was with my friend the flutist Eric Lamb in Frankfurt for two days after Darmstadt, catching my breath, and then I began my vacation properly. It’s been twelve years since I’ve been in Berlin, and it is a very, very different place than I remember. The purpose of my visit here is to get a sense of what it is now, and how I relate to the city. Last night at a bar called Mobel Olfe in the Kreuzberg neighborhood, I found myself by accident in front of a movie theater for art films that I used to go to all the time, the Babylon, now nested in super-trendy Kreuzberg, which is still charmingly shabby even to a trained eye.