»s t i l l« 2017
a staged song recital
What can songs do? A question as simple as it is far-reaching. Certainly, songs can tell stories. But can we tell stories with them as well? s t i l l provides an answer full of poetry: straightforward, affecting, thoughtful.
s t i l l is a production that defies conventional genre limits, a formal experiment combining elements of a song recital, dance theatre and the tableau vivant. Produced by Bayer Kultur, s t i l l is an attempt to redefine the presentation of song in concert and as such tailor-made for Neuland.Lied, Heidelberger Frühling’s festival within a festival that last year started its engagement with the question of what songs can do.
time has lost his name
Central to the event is John Dowland’s song Time Stands Still: “Time stands still with gazing on her face, / stand still and gaze for minutes, houres and yeares, to her give place: / All other things shall change, but shee remains the same, / till heavens changed have their course & time hath lost his name.”
These lines sound very much like a motto, and indeed, the other songs in s t i l l from England, Spain, France and Italy, all written in the late 16th/early 17th century are subtly juxtaposed to examine the subject of time in all its intricacy. They address the passage of time, sleep and waking, memory and future, aging and death. In short, they are about the fundaments of all human existence.
musicians dance, dancers sing
The songs are for voice and lute, little more is need to make a stage event out of them. Two dancers, a handful of props, and we have a chamber play made up of songs that fascinates through its concentration on the essential. In the course of the evening, the borders gradually start blurring. Musicians dance, dancers sing…
slower and stiller than in the present
Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola has taken these old songs and placed them in a timeless scenic context. He has long been a member of Sasha Waltz’ dance company and is not only a renowned dancer but also a versatile musician with a sound knowledge of ancient music. He first trained to be a counter-tenor at the Akademie voor Oude Muziek in Amsterdam. Music means a great deal to him, as his productions reveal. s t i l l derives everything from the music and the texts. The fascination of ancient music has to do with the different feeling for time it embodies. It is a world where everything is slower and stiller than in the present. s t i l l uses sounds, images and movement to conjure it up. Fortunate all those able to relate to it.