Music & clubs

MaerzMusik: Our picks

The 2019 edition of Berlin’s “festival for time issues” focusses on nothing less than the making and writing of history. It's on Mar 22-31 in venues across the city. Here's our guide.

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Photo by Camille Blake

The 2019 edition of Berlin’s “festival for time issues” focusses on nothing less than the making and writing of history.

After last year’s zeitgeist-y theme, “Time Wars”, MaerzMusik returns on a rebellious note with pianist Frederic Rzewski playing “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!”, his take on a Chilean resistance song from 1990. In addition, you can catch up on your knowledge of spectral music with “Clepsydra”, a piece by Horațiu Rădulescu from the early 1980s, staged for the first time in its original version (Mar 22, 20:00).

One of this year’s highlights and probably furthest journeys back in time – we’re talking dinosaurs here – comes from Jennifer Walshe. After her performances at MaerzMusik in 2017, the Irish experimental composer and vocal artist returns with an elaborate multimedia opera on the concept of time, aptly named Time Time Time, which includes texts from philosopher Timothy Morton and musical contributions from Matmos’ M.C. Schmidt and others (Mar 24, 20:00). Choreographer Catalina Insignares and director Catalina Mendonça don’t go all the way back to the beginning of time with their project useless land. During a reading-slash-sleepover at Haus der Berliner Festspiele, they present a variety of texts from before the industrial revolution (Mar 24, 23:30). Blending a historical document with contemporary music, ensemble PHACE plays a newly composed score by Olga Neuwirth, setting music to the 1924 silent film Stadt ohne Juden (The City without Jews) (Mar 29, 20:00).

Last and certainly longest, The Long Now will once again take over Kraftwerk Berlin for its 30-hour nonstop journey featuring Frederic Rzewski reprising his opening concert piece, and plenty of brass and brass-like instruments played by Tonaliens and Mazen Kerbaj as well as an audiovisual installation by Liping Ting (Mar 30, 19:00). Panels and workshops, e.g. on history writing and queer history, an installation on televised 20th-century avant-garde music, as well as shamanistic rituals – if you can believe it – round off this year’s programme.

MaerzMusik Mar 22-31 various venues, full programme at