(Sound Cliffs Helgoland)
Landscape sound composition by Johannes Wallmann

situation map | shore | in the shelter | organ play | poster | media response

Organized by: Kurverwaltung Helgoland in cooperation with NDR 3 and the
Evangelical Church of Helgoland
Premiere performance: August 31/September 1, 1996
Broadcast live on the radio by NDR 3

Along an approximately 800-meter stretch of the rocky coastline on the island Helgoland, six groups of large speakers, carrying a live transmission of sounds produced on an organ, were arranged between the sea wall and the steep cliffs. Each speaker group was individually controlled by computer, so that the movement of the transmitted sounds could take on diverse patterns. These movement patterns – precisely indicated in the score in one-second intervals – were fed into a specially-developed computer program that controlled the interaction between the stationary, coming, and going, between the far and near sounds of the organ as they were relayed along the seacliff. In this way, the listener could hear the near and far, the approaching and receding sounds, which were additionally reflected by the cliffs, so that it often sounded as if the sea itself were singing. As the sounds of the organ wandered along the foot of the cliffs, they were juxtaposed with the live voice of a soprano resounding from the within the bunker system of the island. The radio version also incorporated the soundscapes of the island: the roar of the waves, the cry of the seagulls, the sharp pitch of the lighthouse, the atmosphere. KLANG FELSEN HELGOLAND made the interaction between man and nature into an artistic experience of wide expanse, sound, and landscape, and showed how naturally available phenomena and artistically created structure can mutually supplement one another. The seacliff had never shone so brightly as on the two evenings when thousands of listeners experienced the play of sound along the coast: from the hiking trails on the cliffs, from boats, and over NDR 3.

Organ: James Kirk, Helmut Zapf, Barbara Kirk, Karin Zapf
Soprano: Katharina Richter,
Technical conception: Dirk Homann
Technical equipment: Schalldruck GmbH
Organization: Michael Krause / Dieter Wichers / Eckhardt Wallmann
Artistic direction: Johannes Wallmann

Under the auspices of:
The Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Helmut Kohl