Wielnad Welzel (photo: Sebastian Hänel)

Philharmonie »Late Night«

Late Night

Schlagzeuger der Berliner Philharmoniker

James Wood direction

Gérard Grisey

Le Noir de l'Étoile

Dates and Tickets

sales information

Sat, 15 Feb 2020, 22:00

Hauptfoyer Philharmonie


It was a sensation when mysterious radio signals were detected in deep space for the first time in the late 1960s. The supposed messages from an alien intelligence turned out to be pulsars – rotation signals from imploded solar systems which, as neutron stars with a radius of only a few kilometres with immense gravitational force, rotate and emit electromagnetic waves. If one converts these waves into sounds, an interstellar rhythm machine is created, with complex rattling and pulsing noises which inspired the French spectralist Gérard Grisey to compose his percussion work Le Noir de l’Étoile.

In this Late Night concert, the percussionists of the Berliner Philharmoniker present Grisey’s rarely performed work, which offers a new experience of space and time with its cosmic cascades of sound. During the work, which lasts approximately one hour, the six instrumentalists are placed around the audience. The piece is divided into three sections, between which the waves of the Vela Pulsar are heard on playback tape in a six-channel surround system, followed by those of the Pulsar 0329+54. Grisey’s score develops on the basis of their rotational impulses, while the musicians – often using more than two sticks at the same time – make Grisey’s highly nuanced chains of sound dance through the hall with power and speed.

Wielnad Welzel (photo: Sebastian Hänel)