"AFSTS 1" (1992/95)

music for the film "Baumbluetenzeit in Werder" (1929) by Wilfried Basse
for computer controlled piano and sampler (Version II, for tape)

tape: 4 channel, ADAT - 2 channel, CDR - 2 channel video

"Baumbluetenzeit in Werder" by Wilfried Basse describes an old folk festivity which took place every spring in Werder,
a little town near Potsdam (Germany).
The control of the piano sounds, as well as that of the sampler occurs through an algorithmical composition program, AFSTS, self-developed and especially conceived for film and video sound recording for the ATARI ST computer*.
This program is a real-time system which computes the composition during the performance (or recording), thus repeatedly leading to new versio
ns without losing the clearly recognizable basic structures, intended characteristics
or precisely selective accents. This project also represents the transposing of an association which has for me become focused, especially in connection with the musical performance practice with silent film showings rediscovered in recent years. The compositional principles of the pieces to be generated can be edited freely on all musically relevant parameters, the timing and the periods of time of exactly 1/10th of a seconds. Sounds (crowd of people, festivities), as well as also short excerpts of some songs from the "Dreigroschenoper" (Threepenny Opera) by Kurt Weill were sampled and processed for the production of the soundtrack to "Baumbluetenzeit in Werder" (from "Ouvertuere," "Moritat von Mackie Messer," "Der Kanonensong," "Erstes Dreigroschen-Finale," "Zuhaelterballade," "Lied von der Unzulaenglichkeit des menschlichen Strebens"). In order to be able to establish an historical material compatibility and a closeness to the film, I used only the original recordings from the year 1930 with the legendary interpreters Kurt Gerron, Lotte Lenya, Willi Trenk Trebitsch, Erika Helmke, Erich Ponto, Theo Mackeben and the Lewis Ruth Band. For me the "Dreigroschenoper" with its satirical-critical texts portrays a supplementary level, a commentary to Basse’s film statement. The director uses documentary-poetic means which can also be understood humorously and satirically and which also seemed to him to be in accordance with the tradition. The form of the music follows the formal principle, the course of tension and the arched form of the film. The sound material of the piano sounds is intentionally kept very simple in order to do justice to the global film character and the prevailing atmosphere of Wilfried Basse’s first work.

(* now, can also be performed with MAX)

Wilfried Basse the youngest son of the banker Wilhelm Basse, was born on 17th August 1899 in Hannover. After grammar school he attended the School for Arts and Crafts in Stuttgart for one year. Until 1926 he worked in his father’s bank, subsequently completing his practical training in the company of the cultural film expert Dr. Hans Cuerlis in Berlin. In 1929 he began producing his own films at the Basse Film GmbH Berlin which he ran until his serious illness at the beginning of the war. Basse died in Berlin June 6, 1946.