Underway with Manfred Eicher, Film by Peter Guyer and Norbert Wiedmer (Germany 2009)
This film is a fascinating portrait of Manfred Eicher, founder of the record label Edition of Contemporary Music (ECM), of the music he has produced and of the artists he has promoted. The musical spectrum is wide: from the Estonian-born Berlin-resident Arvo Pärt, the Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou, best known for her theatre and film music, and the Argentine bandoneón player, composer and exponent of “tango nuevo” Dino Saluzzi to Anouar Brahem, the Tunisian virtuoso of the oud (Arab lute) and the Danish jazz musician Marilyn Mazur.
“Eicher assumes the role he’s always played,” Wolfgang Sandner has perceptively written in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, “someone who enables, coordinates, discreetly guides, listens and advises, and finally fits all the pieces together so that the artists recognise themselves in the result. And so the most fascinating parts of the film are those where you see and hear how music is created.”
The intention of directors Peter Guyer and Norbert Wiedmer was “to create visual worlds instead of randomly assembling short sequences, to trace the notes instead of reproducing sounds – and also give room to silence. Not to present the finished product but to go along with the creation of music, to explore its conditions and to feel out its significance: to get to know people, to follow up atmospheres, to find explanations, to capture sounds”. In that they have succeeded admirably.