InnerSound 2012

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Reality Check

Posted by innersound on August 6, 2014 at 2:50 PM

VORTEX | DAY 2 | The National University of Music in Bucharest | The Opera and Multimedia Studio 


Reality Check (Austria): VORTEX

Barbara Lüneburg (D) – violin & Martin Mallaun (A) – zither 

Works by:


Sabina Ulubeanu (1979*) - Nachtfalter, 2014

Silvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) - Courante - Rondeau - Sarabande from the Suite in A-major BWV 1025 

Daniel Mayer (*1967) - N.N., 2014 for zither, violin and electronics

Leopold Hurt (*1979) - Reality Check, 2012 for zither, violin and electronics




A vortex: a region within a fluid where the flow is a spinning about an imaginary axis. Once formed, vortices can move, stretch, twist, and interact in complex ways. For our Innersound programme, a Suite composed and arranged by two famous baroque composers, the lute-virtuoso Silvius Weiss and the baroque-master Johann Sebastian Bach, builds our imaginary axis. It forms the core around which we spin more and more to the periphery of musical tradition and soundworlds until we reach today's life in field recordings for Reality Check by Leopold Hurt.


Silvius Leopold Weiss (1686 – 1750) was a German composer and lutenist, the master lutenist of the 18th century and one of the greatest players of all time. Markgrafin Wilhelmine de Bayreuth, sister of Frederick II of Prussia and herself a composer, said "(Weiss) excels so much in playing the Lute that no one has ever matched him, and those who will come after him will only be left with the glory of imitating him." Between Weiss and Johann Sebastian Bach existed musical and personal links. So it is not alltogether surprising, that the Suite for violin & harpsichord in A major BWV 1025 was recently identified as an arrangement of one of Weiss' lute sonatas. Martin Mallaun transcribed the lute part for alto zither by using a facsimile of the Dresden manuscript.

Romanian composer Sabina Ulubeanu's is an active presence on Romanian and international stages. About her music, the composer writes: To write music is for me a necessity, a must. I need to express myself, my feelings, and my emotions. So, my music is first of all intimate and subjective, my vision of the world. Sabina Ulubeanu is also a photographer, exhibiting her images in Bucharest, Lisbon, Vienna, in group and solo exhibitions. In her photography, she approaches strange, intimate spaces building warm connections with human subjects and reflecting her own feelings on reality. Her new work for the duo, Nachtfalter, was inspired by a photo she had taken in 2013. A butterfly of the night spins around an unidentifiable light source. The composition explores dark, nightly atmospheres as well as the dancing fragility of the moth.


Philosopher, mathematician and composer Daniel Mayer has been highly distinguished during his compositional career. Part of his compositional process is to record the single instruments he is writing for and afterwards to delve into the microscopic inner structure of the sound material he has gathered. He then moves, stretches and twists their features into an electronic soundworld that interacts with and circles around the natural instrumental sounds. Compositions by Daniel Mayer are usually vortices on their own.


Microphone test recordings recorded in a public space immediately before a TV-live-broadcast serve as a basis for Leopold Hurt's Reality Check. We can hear preparations and expectations in connection with the event, police cars and walkie-talkie communications. Hurt uses the raw sound material and exaggerates the gestures with the help of electronically amplified, often harsh instrumental sounds. The violin and the zither get amplified and multiplied in the sampled sounds until they become a musical „mass“, that integrates the open-air-field-recordings into an artificial electronic performance.



... a confirmation of facts to combat rumors

... a phrase used to bring a person back into the reality of life

... a test to determine if one is dreaming...

Internationally renowned artists Barbara Lüneburg and Martin Mallaun explore the potential of the combination of violin and zither in the reality of the 21st century. Traditional connotations blurr– from the core of the classical music to the periphery of the performing arts wondrous discoveries can be made.



Barbara Lüneburg's work as a soloist and chamber musician has inspired numerous composers to write solo works, violin concertos and chamber music for her. In her carrier, she was awarded prestigious scholarships and various prizes in violin competitions. Barbara studied at Musikhochschule Karlsruhe and Lübeck, in London (Guildhall School of Music and Drama) and at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. She combines Russian and Western European virtuosic violin tradition with a fresh contemporary approach to music.


Barbara Lüneburg has featured on many CDs and radio productions documenting the versatility and high standard of her performing abilities. Critics have described her playing as 'viciously virtuosic, passionate, translucent, of an amazing capacity for purity of sound and integrity of pitch, detailed and nuanced, expressive and gripping'. Her first solo-CD The Refined Ear (label coviello classics) received international acclamation. International reviews speak of Weapon of Choice, her solo DVD with multimedia works (label Ahornfelder), as a groundbreaking production. BBC music magazine gives her latest DVD with Bach and Scelsi 5 stars and labels it "audacious".


As a soloist she has performed with groups as diverse as SWR Radiosymphonic Orchestra, Xenakis Ensemble Netherlands, Slagwerkgroep Den Haag, ASKO Ensemble, Landesjugendorchester Hessen and Rheinland Pfalz, Pfalztheaterorchester Kaiserslautern or Schwerin Philharmonics. Her touring schedule has taken her through Europe, both Americas, the Middle and Far East to major festivals such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival (GB), Wien Modern (AT), Tongeyong Festival - Korea, Roaring Hooves – Mongolia, Cervantino Festival – Mexico, Music Marathon Chicago- USA, Fadjr Festival - Iran, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Munich Biennial and Schleswig Holstein Music Festival - Germany.


Barbara was awarded a doctoral degree for her research on the topic of "The creative role of a performer as an interface between instrument, composer and audience in contemporary music" includes theoretical and practical work on creativity and collaboration, programming, and concert aura. Her latest research project TransCoding (funded by the Austrian Science Fund) explores social media and their potential to interest and engage a young audience for the new arts.


Barbara Lüneburg teaches at Medienhochschule Darmstadt (Germany) and Fachhochschule St.Pölten (Austria), has been invited as lecturer at the European Orchestra Academy, and the ensemble academy Schleswig Holstein (Germany) and has given workshops, talks and seminars at major European and American universities.

Photo: Werner Krepper


"Under Martin Mallaun’s hands the zither becomes an incredibly versatile, exceedingly expressive concert instrument." (Max Nyffeler, Neue Musikzeitung, 07/2011)

The musician and biologist Martin Mallaun is successful in two completely different areas: on the one hand, he examines the impact of climate change on high Alpine regions; on the other he is an active zither player comfortable with a broad spectrum of musical styles, including contemporary music, native folk music and European lute music.


Born in Kitzbühel/Tirol in 1975, he studied concert zither with Harald Oberlechner at the Tyrolean State Conservatory and botany at the University of Innsbruck. Both during and after his studies he attended workshops in the field of historical performance practice (Hopkinson Smith, Rolf Lislevand, Jürgen Hübscher) and of contemporary music/improvisation. Private studies with lutenist Hubert Hoffmann in Vienna have left a special mark on his musical development.


“Martin Mallaun is without doubt one of the most versatile artists currently active in the area of experimental music. Improvisation, electronic music, Baroque lute music, Alpine folk music, contemporary New Music: in all of these areas the Tyrolean musician seeks new sounds and new means of expression, while moving freely between utterly different performance concepts (music information center austria,” Aside from his many projects in cooperation with other musicians, actors and writers, he has originated countless projects on his own. Martin Mallaun has been engaged by the National Royal Scottish Orchestra, the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and the Orchestre de Picardie.


In 2004 Martin Mallaun was an award winner at the 1. Volkmann Prize Competition (Munich), the first international zither competition. He was a member of the jury of that competition in 2008. His debut solo album “zwischen steinen” (“between stones") brought him the Austrian Radio (Ö1) Pasticcio Prize in 2005. His CD “OMONÉRO” with recordings of contemporary music for zither solo was released in 2010. In 2012/13 Martin Mallaun holds a grant from the Austrian Office of Foreign Affairs for the NASOM (New Austrian Sound of Music) program.


Martin Mallaun is a freelance musician and is also employed as a teacher for the Tyrolean Music School Organization. He gives concerts in countless countries from France to the Czech Republic and as far as Japan, and has been guest artist at international festivals (including the Edinburgh International Festival/United Kingdom, the Munich Biennale in Germany and the Klangspuren in Austria). In addition, he has been a member of the research project GLORIA, which investigates the effects of climate change on the vegetation of the Alpine ecological systems (, since 2001.

Categories: Multimedia 2014, Performers