The dance of the undead: composer Wolfgang Mitterer accompanies one of Elfriede Jelinek’s favourite films with musical improvisations.
Suitable for ages 12+
Asked for her favourite films, Elfriede Jelinek’s first choice is Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, followed, just as promptly, by “Carnival of Souls”, a B picture by Herk Harvey. The black-and-white film from 1962 (whose title in German is literally “The Dance of the Dead Souls”) is a powerful variation on Jelinek’s pet themes: a woman who cannot (or will not) connect up with her old life and job; a conservative environment that takes a negative view of this unwillingness; the “fantastic” misunderstandings to which this leads.
The protagonist of this film is the young organist Mary Henry, who is strangely unmoved when she finds herself surprisingly becoming invisible and inaudible to the rest of the world. A living person, according to Jelinek, who is depicted “as a dead person and yet more alive than any living person”. Or is she really already dead? A film like a cold ghostly hand that runs softly, gently even, down your neck from the seat behind you in the cinema…
Wolfgang Mitterer, organist and composer, recently acclaimed for his score for Michael Glawogger’s posthumous film “Untitled”, responds to this favourite film with a live improvisation. What was it Der Standard wrote about his dialogue with the classic film “Nosferatu” some years ago: “Skull-cap raising!”
With Wolfgang Mitterer
Commissioned by steirischer herbst
With the support of Stadtgemeinde Mürzzuschlag, kunsthaus muerz
Wolfgang Mitterer (AT)
Wolfgang Mitterer, born in Lienz in 1958, is a Vienna-based composer and sound artist. He studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna (organ, composition) and the Elektronmusikstudion/EMS in Stockholm (electroacoustics). Since then Mitterer has been regarded as one of Austria’s most significant contemporary musicians. Focusing on electronic music and improvised music, he has already collaborated with outstanding figures of the genre, including David Liebman and Christian Fennesz. In addition to his work as a composer and session musician Mitterer has also created a number of sound installations, collages and soundtracks. Several of his pieces have been presented at the steirischer herbst festival, most recently in 2002 as part of the “Ground Zero” project.