Jacob Greenberg

Sunday, July 20, 2008

und jetzt...

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.