• Juliana Hodkinson
  • Angel View (2014)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen / Chester Music NY Inc (World)

Commissioned by SCENATET with the support of the Danish Arts Foundation, SPOR Festival and Berliner Festspiele/MaerzMusik

  • fl.tbn.perc.pf.egtr.va.vc and electronics
  • 30 min

Programme Note

Angel View is an assemblage of urban and musical debris, somewhere between a wordless live radio play, enacted film soundtrack and instrumental theatre.

Chiseling cement, falling debris, scraping cutlery, breaking glass, criss-crossing cables, squealing tram-wheels, an upturned bicycle, a grid of cables, a travel souvenir, a shop window, a revolving carousel, a brace of monkeys, a wall under siege, a dining table laid for an ancestral dinner – it is a sonic bazaar. Made up of over 20 parts, each designed to overlap, the work’s architecture is full of of non-sequiturs and arbitrary cross-relations between imagined streets intersecting and running parallel, reflecting the surrealism of everyday life described in Walter Benjamin’s Einbahnstrasse and still present in the contemporary dilemmas and opportunities of Berlin today.

All this is heard as if from an aerial perspective, perhaps the Victory Column where angels sit in Wings of Desire, from where Berlin below is observed as a series of tragedies.

As Walter Benjamin puts it:

“A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”

Benjamin: “On the Concept of History.”

- Juliana Hodkinson