What sounds like what doesn’t sound?

Sascha Brosamer found the answer to this question in a special recording of the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2020 that didn't take place. He captured it with a tape recording cut onto two unique white vinyls and released digitally on Cologne-based label Total Silence.

When it was clear that neither the invited artists nor the audience would be there, Brosamer “realised” Donaueschingen 2020 – by signing a rental contract for the Donauhalle for October 18th. On the Sunday of the planned festival, he captured the sounds of Donaueschingen when there was no music.

With a tape recorder he captured four locations for 15 minutes each. Amidst the ghostly acoustics of the Stravinsky, Bartok and Mozart halls, you can hear sounds that you may have heard rarely, or not at all, during the music days: crackling in the beams, sporadic sounds of nature, footsteps in the gravel. Brosamer also captured the place where the Danube originates. The rental contract for the use of the halls, which certifies the time and place of the recording, features on the vinyl artwork.

There is a special coherence between the Donaueschinger Musiktage and its position as a premiere venue: Brosamer refers to John Cage, who initiated a revolution in New Music 66 years ago: Cage gave the European premiere of the “Williams-Mix” for four tape recorders in the Black Forest, a piece that expanded the concept of composition in the long term: noise, but also chance, became part of New Music here. In 1954, Cage became a pioneer for many who followed this concept of composition.

66 years later, Sascha Brosamer set out at the same time, 11.30 am, to capture the chance sounds of the Donaueschinger Musiktage. Right down to its publication format, his special recording is a reference and homage to the pioneer John Cage. Cage’s best-known work, “4:33”, also has near silence as a compositional theme: Brosamer’s white vinyl includes two discs and four sides. Each with 33 revolutions.

Sascha Brosamer’s performance and recording is a cultural response to what can be heard when nothing is heard. Thus it can also be interpreted as a cultural policy statement on how to deal with the global pandemic..