The Sinking of the Titanic

A concert with works by Gavin Bryars und Luciano Berio

  • © Caroline Forbes
    (c) Caroline Forbes

Under the direction of the young Estonian conductor Anu Tali, the Bochum Symphoniker will perform this year as a chamber orchestra at Gebläsehalle, Landschaftspark Duisburg. The highlight of their program is the music of the British composer and bassist Gavin Bryars, rarely heard on German concert programs. In 1969, Gavin Bryars sketched a first version of this The Sinking of the Titanic as a musical equivalent to contemporary concept art. (The musical basis for the work is the song Autumn, which was purportedly played by the ship’s orchestra as the boat went down.) With fragments of interviews with survivors, Morse code, and an acoustic recreation of the collision with the iceberg, Bryars creates a poetic vision of the music that does not stop to resonate while sinking in the ocean waters. The listener is drawn into the depths of the increasingly fluid repetitions to an endless, almost standstill.

Luciano Berio’sRequies, composed in 1984 in memory of the singer Cathy Berberian, works on the listener’s sense of time in a different way. The chamber orchestra describes an unending melody that seems like an echo of a hidden sound. Flashbacks and deviations around mobile and scarcely recognizable center interrupt the flow of the melody.

Bryars’ biggest success Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet is also a hypnotic masterpiece that relies entirely on the power of repetition. From the silence, the fragile singing of a London vagrant emerges, a recording that Bryars took from a documentary film work. This brief melody, which repeats over and over, becomes the foundation for a virtually endless series of increasingly dramatic variations. The voice of the unknown man forms both the background as well as the center for Bryars’ touching and challenging composition.


Gavin Bryars The Sinking of the Titanic (1969/1996)

Luciano Berio Requies (1983/84)

Gavin Bryars Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (1972)

Musical Direction —


— 6. 7. September
— 2 h / intermission
— 6. 7. September: 19.15
— 20 / 30 / 40 €
Reduced prices start at 10,00 €
  • Fri 6Sep
    The Sinking of the Titanic on 6. September 2013 at 8.00 PM
  • Sat 7Sep
    The Sinking of the Titanic on 7. September 2013 at 8.00 PM
A production by Ruhrtriennale.