Quay Brothers: In Absentia

Stockhausen, Berg, Lutosławski, Arditti Quartet

  • © Michael Kneffel
    (c) Michael Kneffel
  • © Michael Kneffel
    (c) Michael Kneffel

The balance between film and music and the lively exchange between the two arts as expressed in the concept of the ciné-concert is of central importance in the work of the Quay Brothers. The American animators and artists—New York’s MoMA held a retrospective of their work in 2012—proceed in a decidedly musical way. Music is never just a soundtrack in their work. The two short films In Absentia and KwartetSmyczkovy that are included in this concert are actually based on already existing compositions.

In Absentia responds to Stockhausen’s electroniccomposition Two Couples from 1992/99. The hypnotic visual language of the film shows foreign landscapes where the light sweeps across, interiors in an unusual perspective, objects and individuals in extreme framings and close-ups. The fragmented mode of narrative intensifies the associative power of the music like an additional, visual voice in the polyvocal texture.

KwartetSmyczkovy - Paraphrase on Peter Handke’s ‘The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other’ - is based on Lutosławski’s only string quartet, composed in 1964. The Quay Brothers react to the melodic superimpositions and flickering micro-rhythms of the composition with stark and eerie twi-lit images. At the premiere of this short film, the live performing Arditti Quartet will enter into a dialog with the projection.

Between both films, the Arditti Quartet will play Alban Berg’s LyrischeSuite, which in its lyrical-dramatic character can be understood as a kind of film for the ears.

film —
violin —
Irvine Arditti, Ashot Sarkissjan
viola —
Ralf Ehlers
violoncello —
Lucas Fels


— 22. September
— 2 h
World Premiere
— 20 / 25 / 30 €
Reduced prices start at 10,00 €

Project supporter

The movie is comissioned by Adam Mickiewicz Institute Warsaw. Comissioned by Adam Mickiewicz Institut Warsaw as a part of Polska Music Programme.

  • Sun22Sep
    Quay Brothers: In Absentia on 22. September 2013 at 8.00 PM


Quay Brothers
22. September 2013
Museum Folkwang, Essen
A Ruhrtriennale production.