comments on wolfgang in der wiesche's film music

... about music in deborah phillip's films...

phillips has worked with wolfgang in der wiesche on most of her films over the years. this is, i believe, a good thing because his music has an individual sense of expression. the music retains its strong presence while also each sound works precisely with the rhythm of the montage as well as with the distinct visual atmosphere in each film.


in santoor (1998, 35mm, 13min.) the composer worked with the music of this string instrument (played by nandkishor muley) by incorporating it into his own music. he never makes undue compromises in this process; on the contrary, the music takes on a life of its own and modulates the rhythm in the flow of images. he never overplays the emotional aspects of the music, never becomes sentimental, as is often the case in film music. on the contrary, he places accents acoustically while retaining the autonomy of the score, harmonising with the images to create a subtle emotional effect.


in mosaïc (2001, 35mm, 45 min.), one hears the voice of saadet türköz, who grew up imbued in her kazhak tradition in istanbul, as she sings both traditional central asian folk songs and snippets of moslem prayer. in the final segments of the film, two other voices are heard: david suissa and jacob wizman contributed traditional moroccan jewish songs. wolfgang in der
then composed music incorporating, and quoting these vocal traditions, in his individual manner. the result is very much his own sound, which makes reference to traditions, yet retains its own strong character.
these sounds support the images on the screen in a unique way. as the camera appears to rotate incessantly in the first segment of the film, one hears what sounds like a squeaky wheel, turning. in the second part of the film, a grating sound accompanies vertical rotation, while in the third segment of the film, the soundtrack appears to consist of layers of radio signals humming dissonantly.
then, as if from another planet, street sounds become audible and the only living creature in the film, a cat, appears, while the two cantors voices chatter away in the background. the soundtrack re-connects the images, and indeed the entire film, by these means, to everyday reality.

angela haardt

curator of media art and film programmes, former director of the kurzfilmtage oberhausen (1990 - 1997)

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