(Plurality of Centers)

Opera for five instrumental soloists, political speakers, electronic music, radios, video projections. Based on a formal structure by John Cage.

Premiere: June 2007, Musikfabrik at Radialsystem V, Berlin

The myths of New Music have become old and brittle. Some believe they are irretrievable. And yet, contemporary music cites them onstage again and again, drags Ur-Gestalts and -incidents into the spotlight, believing to unveil them, to unscramble them. New myths, those of every day life and those of the media-society are set to equal level with the old. They are demystified in the believe, the power of intellectual penetration will indicate the mystical itemization of the sublime. What has yet been done to identify sub specie saeculi the real behind the shimmer, in order to cheat the powers of music and atonality and serialism, to twist this atonal music, also, in order to create new, more positive myths. The more they were demystified, the more assertive, magic became the term. There are many concepts that dare a lot in order to review New Music in more contemporary forms. Blunted perceptions, jaded representations are supposed to be broken or at least, disturbed. Alienation-effects have found their way into New Music. But one thing seems to be prohibited, still: Whoever charges an audience with its political helplessness, undermining the function of dischargement of contemporary music, whoever despises the demarcation line between reality and concert, violates the secret cosensus, that life outside moves on and has nothing in common with the radically formalized music in the concert. At the bottom of Schmickler's 'E-UROPAS' is John Cages 'Europeras V', that Fluxus-opera, in which Cage leaves the choice of musical material up to the opera singers. For Schmickler's 'composition', five virtuoso interpreters of New Music select their favourite parts of the 20th century repertoire. They are being accompanied by texts by Cornelius Cardew and Guy Debord as well as numerous voice-overs of John Cage, Mauricio Kagel ans Klaus Schöning and Schmickler's own electronic composition '«22 gliders»-rule'. This appears as a critical dialogue of quotes and references of Modernity.
Goodbye 20th century.

Credits: Juditha Haeberlin: violin, Axel Porath: viola, Dirk Wietheger: cello, Ulrich Löffler: piano, Dirk Rothbrust: percussion, Hayden Chisholm: speaker, Carsten Goertz: scenography, 
Marcus Schmickler: live electronics

E-UROPAS Libretto (excerpt)

1. Zwei altgewordene Hörspielmacher erinnern sich im Jahre 2009 an ihre Zeit, in den 60er und 70er Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts, in der viele von uns neues ausprobierten, vergessene Entdeckungen wiederentdeckten und Möglichkeiten der akustischen Welt erkundeten. Bei Ihrem Gang durch Produktionsbüros, durch verstaubte Archive und Studios fragen sie sich, was aus der Kreativität von damals geworden ist. Sie blättern in alten Texten und Partituren und Regiebüchern, spielen Tonbänder ab. Erinnerungen werden wach, an das Handwerkszeug des Hörspielmachens, an die Chancen der neuen Radiophonischen Kunst.

2. Whilst eager to tap new sources of vitality, to experiment with compositions that had the character of catalysts, stimulating the sensitivity, imagination and inventiveness of the Orchestra members, the content of the music was invariably reactionary. The concern was to create 'beautiful experiences'. The problem was really one of form.

3. Aleatory (chance) music seemed richer, unpredictable, free! But serialism, the tradition stemming from Schöenberg, was formal, abstract and authoritarian. Most important was the social implication of Cage's work - the idea that we are all musical, that 'anybody can play it'. All this, at least, in theory. Serial music, on the other hand, was definitely elitist, uncompromisingly bourgeois, and anti-people.

4. "Nun, dass war vor 30 Jahren- erinnerst du dich noch an diese Rolle und an den erstaunlichen Aufnahmeprozeß?"
- "Ich setzte damals den Begriff 'Hörspiel' in Klammern um ihn auszuklammern sozusagen. Meine Beziehung zu Sprache ist eine Mischung von Vertautheit und von Fremdheit.  

The nucleus of College composers were dissatisfied with 'established, serious music'; in other words, they were dissatisfied with the elitism of 'serious' music and its strong class image and with the repression of working musicians into the role of slavish hacks churning out the stock repertoire of concert hall and opera house. The prevailing dry, limited critical approach in this century had for them killed spontaneity and simple enjoyment of music and reduced it to an academic and self-conscious 'appreciation' of form and technique.

6. - "Was machen wir hier?"
- "Wir sollen uns erinnern"
- " Erinnerst du dich?"
- "Das ist lange her, vor 40 Jahren"
- "Erkennst du es wieder?"
- "Unser altes Funkhaus"

7. 'The lower strata of the middle class . . . sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which modern industry is carried on, and is swamped in competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialised skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production.' . . . 'Further, as we have seen already, entire sections of the ruling classes are, by the advance of industry, precipitated into the proletariat, or are at least threatened in their conditions of existence.' (...more)

2012Apr 27 Radio: Deutschlandradio: E-UROPAS "PLURALITY OF CENTERS, Goodbye Moderne" feat. Juditha Haberlin, Axel Porath, Dirk Wietheger, Ulrich Löffler, Dirk Rothbrust, Hayden Chisholm, Marcus Schmickler. 00.05 cet 
2009Sept 18 'E-UROPAS' on WDR3 Radio (11.00 pm cet) 
2007Jun 21 Berlin: Premiere of 'E-UROPAS' with Musikfabrik at Radialsystem V.