media response | critiques


"Kammermusik unkoventionell"
Thueringer Tageblatt, 16.04.1974: "Kammermusik unkoventionell" (unconventional chamber music) was the heading for a concert in the auditorium of the Saal Am Palais where works of the young composer Johannes Wallmann resounded. This evening proved to be fascinating in two respects, since the audience, made up entirely of young people, could hear three premiere performances of the works of a musician who belongs to the promising emerging talents of the younger generation of composers."


Clusteriex for four woodwinds (1973)
Union, Dresden, September 27, 1975: When is new music new? ... there was general agreement that only one work was worthy of mention: "Clusteriex" for flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon, by Johannes Wallmann, merely 23 years old. It is chock-full of unconventional ideas, without a single superfluous note ... and with the stamping feet incorporated into the composition, "Clusteriex" delightfully breaks away from concert hall formalities. I can only wish such pieces wider circulation.


SUITE FOR SOLO VIOLIN - letters to the night (1976)
Thüringer Neueste Nachrichten, April 11, 1978: ... The next work, "Letters to the Night" (1976), suite for solo violin by the Weimar composer Johannes Wallmann, member of the Staatskapelle, was the most impressive of the evening ... The violin is for the most part traditional in manner, but deployed with exceptional versatility. In a highly individual, even confessional way, the wide expressive range of the instrument comes to musical realization: from the aphoristic, through the lyrical-expressive, up to the powerful gesture. A work that substantially enriches the instrument's solo literature.

SUITE FOR SOLO VIOLIN - letters to the night (1976)
Berliner Zeitung, February 9, 1978: ... Of the five award winners, the composer Johannes Wallmann deserves particular mention here. His "Letters to the Night," a suite for solo violin inspired by literary sources, stood out favorably, and produced the most convincing effect in its expression and the penetration of its form.


Saechsische Zeitung, September 10, 1979: ... "Synopsis" could be genuinely moving, through something of the order of austere beauty...The subtlety, refinement, ann's title - confrontation between opposing parameters (high-deep, loud-soft, long-short, movement-rest) - from which emerges a constructive cross-over of polyphonies of Bachian complexity or Webernian spareness,"


Neues Deutschland, 2.10.1980: "Scarcely any development takes place in the sense of the theme, the hectic-strife-torn and the meditative dominate, before a warm solo cello cantilena comes in at the end."

Berliner Zeitung, October 2, 1980: ... Johannes Wallmann – "Stages for Orchestra and Piano," which will be premiered by the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra (conductor: Wolf-Dieter Hauschild; soloist: Bettina Otto) in conjunction with the award ceremony. "Stages" is an interestingly constructed dialog between various percussive acts, occasional attacks by the winds, and piano, in which the rest of the orchestra participates merely as commenting mediator. Convincing and insistent.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22.11.1980: "... the bulky antonyms of Wallmaf all.


Berliner Zeitung am Abend, December 18, on 1984 - VARIATIONS on Guernica after Pablo Picasso/Paul Dessau: Johannes Wallmann has composed/arranged one of the three chamber ensemble variations of Dessau's "Guernica." In its contrast between the warmth of the strings, the shrillness of the piccolo, and the deployment of the percussion, the piece left the most striking impression of all.

.A.Z, 24.08.1988:
"Composer Johannes Wallmann, born in Leipzig in 1952, emigrated this weekend from the GDR to the Federal Republic. Until 1982, the founder of the "Weimar New Music Group" (1977) was a student of Friedrich Goldmann's master classes at the GDR Academy of Arts and received the Hanns Eisler Prize in 1980. In 1984 Wallmann was still presented as one of the promising composers in the GDR journal "Musik und Gesellschaft". At that time, however, he already had considerable problems in asserting his precisely elaborated musical concepts, trained in philosophical models...."

Rheinische Post, 25.8.1988
"... Johannes Wallmann has left the GDR for the Federal Republic of Germany. Wallmann was regarded as one of the great hopes among the GDR's young composers. The assessment "brilliant" is given to him without hesitation. Wallmann submitted an application for permission to emigrate already in 1986..."

Neue Zeitschrift fuer Musik, 11/88, on "AXIAL"
"Johannes Wallmann's "axial" received its debut performance in Wuppertal
... a strictly organised orchestral work calling for a large orchestra, with discreetly formulated homages to Edgar Varese and Anton Webern... after this impressive premiere, it is easy to make the prediction that there is still much of importance to be heard from this committed and sincere composer in the current debate in the field of the New Music."

Frankfurter Rundschau: (Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts (music of the 20th century) - Saarlaendischer Rundfunk),12.06.1992, on the KONZERT IN SPIEGELFORM
"... Then soft tones again formed the basis of the highlight in Saarbruecken: Johannes Wallmann's "Konzert in Spiegelform". Here Wallmann combines his own pieces in a suite which are repeated in reverse-mirror form with two different groupings of players, adds solos to the individual movements, and thus produces a microcosm of picture puzzles, which also appear to reflect each other endlessly in their internal structure, starting out from the axis of a single tone..."

" utopias are no longer discussed, rather people smile at them... Therefore it all the more astonishing that in Wuppertal a project can be carried out, courageous for this post-modern time, which seeks to set up utopias anew and to realise them. The talk is of the "Bauhuette - Klangzeit - Wuppertal". The spirit behind it and at the same time the organiser of this demanding model project is the 39-year-old composer Johannes Wallmann, who emigrated from East Berlin to Wuppertal in 1988. Now he has found active support in the Wuppertal Cultural Bureau, in order to be able to implement a part of his aesthetic theories and utopias, developed over the course of many years..."


Westdeutsche Zeitung, December 2, 1991, on HOVER AND HEAR
"The cable railway rider becomes a director. The doors of the cable railway are scarcely closed before unusual sounds resound through the railway: celestial and virtually impossible to define, a sound swells up, slowly diminishes and flows into melodic tone sequences. The sounds are subliminal and yet present, which the cable railway riders can hear this week during the ride in car number 23. ... A combination of art, technology and everyday life", Johannes Wallmann, idea man and composer, reveals the objective of the project."

Sonntagsblatt, December 15, 1991, on HOVER AND HEAR
For nine days, hearing music in Wuppertal required two particular preconditions: for one, that you caught specifically gondola number 23 on this tradition-rich cable railway; and for another, that you allowed yourself to be disturbed and affected by the sounds that could be heard there through December 8 ... not least of all, that concrete witness to technological development, the cable car, was made to sing and drew the listener into a world of sound that suggested nearly cosmic experiences.


Frankfurter Rundschau: (Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts (music of the 20th century) - Saarlaendischer Rundfunk),12.06.1992, on the KONZERT IN SPIEGELFORM
"... Then soft tones again formed the basis of the highlight in Saarbruecken: Johannes Wallmann's "Konzert in Spiegelform". Here Wallmann combines his own pieces in a suite which are repeated in reverse-mirror form with two different groupings of players, adds solos to the individual movements, and thus produces a microcosm of picture puzzles, which also appear to reflect each other endlessly in their internal structure, starting out from the axis of a single tone..."

MusikTexte, 12/92. on „KLANGZEIT WUPPERTAL“
"In the former GDR a composer had a vision and a dream: to take music out of its acoustic cage, in which it was imprisoned by the traditional concert halls - and probably also in people's heads - and to bring it into a comprehensive concept of space, sound, architecture and landscape: to create a unity of time- and space-art, briefly: to tear down boundaries. His name: Johannes Wallmann."

Deutsche Welle, 8.10.1992, on KLANGZEIT WUPPERTAL
"... Thus a festival, which, on this scale and of this quality, one would expect to find in a European cultural metropolis."

"KLANGZEIT WUPPERTAL ...One of the most outstanding Europe-wide (and from many points of view, world-wide) initiatives..."

WDR-Television, 1.10.1992, on KLANGSEGEL
"... a completely magical sound-installation."

MusikTexte, 12/1992, on KLANGSEGEL
"The Klangsegel has become a little pilgrimage site fur the Wuppertalians, who came to the shores of the Wupper, evening after evening, with great interest."


Thueringer Allgemeine, 21.6.1993, on "ZEIT-KLANG-LANDSCHAFT" (TIME-SOUND-LANDSCAPE)
In "Den Voegeln gleich" (like the birds) , says Wallmann, the scattered musicians developed a gripping world of sounds which were mixed with the voices of the joyfully singing birds and conveyed to the visitors, who walked along the path of sculptures, his own interpretation of the space and landscape.

According to Wallmann, the dispersed musicians are "like the birds." They unfolded a gripping world of sounds that mixed with the voices of the jubilant birds, and conveyed a unique interpretation of the space and the landscape to the visitors wandering along the sculpture path. And while only a relatively small group of enthusiasts gathered for the welcome, the company grew substantially during the course of the performance. Surely a good omen.

Westdeutschte Zeitung, Wuppertal, September 23, 1993
Art-life in the Hofaue, designers, architects, musicians, and inventors opened the doors of their studios ... Accompanying the event, a sound installation by Johannes Wallmann, never-ending and non-disruptive; after a while, you simply perceived the sound as if it had always been there.


Neue Ruhr Zeitung, Essen April 18, 1994. on LIKE THE BIRDS (1986/92) for 2-4 clarinets separated by distance: The Ensemble Aureus Modern has proven that New Music can indeed be entertaining and amusing. In the atrium of the Community College, it presented a multifarious program for one to four clarinets: A mischievous, acoustically colorful play of combinations, "Like the Birds," by Johannes Wallmann (b. Leipzig, 1952) for 4 clarinets who played to one another out of the four corners of the space. The piece demonstrated the degree of improvisational finesse and ensemble spirit with which the musicians are capable of interacting. There was trilling and twittering, singing and jubilation.

Südwestpress Ulm/Tuebingen, 21.4.1994, on "suite moderabel"
"At the beginning of the evening the four-movement "Suite moderabel" by Johannes Wallmann... It was as though the compositional subject withdraws itself in order to listen, this note appears to give birth to its own octave , returns to itself, and the intervall of a second that follows gives the impression in this context of being a large interval, never heard before. The interval of a third emerges as a shimmering sound, ever moving wihin itself, and almost the only (half a bar long?) fast-moving succesion of three notes shines to the fore like an Arioso; as if an ideal were being fulfilled, the notes are self-generating, speaking for themselves, as if, with instinctive sureness, the right thing happens.“

Thueringer Allgemeine, 29.09.1994, on AURI
"... Then a premiere performance as the special highlight of the evening: "Music im Raum - AURI" by the composer Johannes Wallmann, born in Leipzig in 1952. The relations and movements between near and far, which originate from the spatial movements of the tones, had an extraordinary effect on the listeners. In the course of Auri, positions were occupied which were scattered over the concert space. Thus the tones in the auditorium revolved, sound melodies developed. The listeners were enthusiastic."

F.A.Z., 11.2.1995, on the GLOCKEN REQUIEM DRESDEN
"... He was about ten years old when, early on Easter morning, he heard of the "Wild Man" above the city as the Dresden bells rang. The sensation of the distance, sound and landscape which filled him at this moment left its mark on many of his later projects, as he says. ... With the "Glocken Requiem Dresden" Wallmann, who supports the modern and at the same time its cultural roots, returns now to the city of his childhood. ..."

Saechsische Zeitung, 13.02.1995, on GLOCKEN REQUIEM DRESDEN
"With great sympathy on the part of the population, late in the evening Johannes Wallmann's "Glocken Requiem Dresden" was given its premiered performance. The work for 129 church bells of Dresden was presented between 21:30 and 22:19 throughout the whole area of the city.and was broadcast live by radio stations and via loudspeakers. About 30,000 Dresden residents and guests of the city followed this artistic event among the ruins of the Church of Our Lady and on the Bruehl Terrace. Many stood crowded closely together and listened raptly, some with their eyes closed, to the constantly changing chimes of the bells. ..."

Saechsische Zeitung, 14.02.1995, on GLOCKEN REQUIEM DRESDEN
"... This complicated undertaking was performed, with a musically clear structure in various treatments, separated both spatially and tonally with intensified sounds and contrasting sounds of 129 bells of the 47 church chimes which are scattered across the city. This unique work worked up from the "introitus" of the gradual beginning, through a "kyrie" of individual chimes, a "graduale", "tractus", an interplay of higher and deeper chimes in a "sequence", to the buildup from the deeper to the higher tones in the "offertorium" to the full chiming of a "sanctus" . ...It was no experiment, but a work that called for contemplation, one which reached thousands, and via radio, even millions..."

ARD tagesthemen, 12.2.1995, on GLOCKEN REQUIEM DRESDEN
"... a city became a sound-space:"


Der Helgolaender, 10/96, on KLANG FELSEN HELGOLAND
"... After the initial, typical commotion on the part of the onlookers, silence prevailed on the path bordering the cliffs - in view of the backdrop of rocks, majestic in the truest sense of the word, petrified, unreal and never illuminated in this way. The music, sometimes gripping and resonant, then again menacing and rumbling, supporting the soprano voices, was like a reference to the rock massif, millions of years old, which seemed to be telling of its past. The 44-year-old tone-artist, Johannes Wallmann, has succeeded in integrating the listener into the interplay of music and nature..."


Berliner Zeitung, 9.06.1997, on "INNENKLANG"
"... Wallmann composed his ambitiously structured piece for this cathedral, he has accurately written it into the building, the cathedral probably has never been so clearly heard as with "Innenklang". The composer used the hemispherical form of the sound apparatus in order to send sounds travelling. Long pedal tones of the deep-voiced orchestra instruments set down a line of sound around the listeners, short drum signals then flew around in a circle. Whoever was sitting in the centre could hear the fluctuaction of the static sounds (of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under the direction of Karl Anton Rickenbacher) in orbit. Wallmann's music actually formed a space, it translated the cathedral space into sound, and the listener sought his place in the interior of the sound-space. In part this explains the name of the piece: some day Wallmann would also like to join the outer sound to his "Innenklang", everyday music, so to speak, which the city of Berlin produces of itself day by day...."

F.A.Z., 24.06.1997, on "INNENKLANG"
"... It snatches at Happening, always aiming at the same time at the latest things and thus attracts the public. Differing from what is otherwise the usual practice in the field, Wallmann's premiere performances do not take place in small circles of experts, but rather before a large diffuse audience...."

Der Tagesspiegel, 9.06.1997, on "INNENKLANG"
"... Whoever enters the Berlin cathedral expects Bruckner. Wallmann, however, serves Mahler. If the melody of the first movement was defined by the characteristic small ninths and sevenths, the second "pastorale - aus lebendem sein" (out of the living being) pours forth into an apotheosis of natural sounds. Yet after the effective scherzo prelude of the third movement, Wallmann reaches into the present... standing ovations from the justifiably enthusiastic audience of the premiere."

Berliner Zeitung, 19.09.1997, on "transforma"
"... Afterward we immerse completely into the space, disappear in it with Wallmann's "TRANSFORMA". High-frequency voices float through the old water tank, fill the space completely, and more than once collide with each other like glittering steel balls. Here what the idea of Kryptonale III is becomes real: the space, as it is there, remains preserved unto itself, the inner space expands itself. The mountain discharges at midnight."


Berliner Morgenpost, September 22, 1998
Landscape and sound: The Berlin composer Johannes Wallmann ... Again and again, Wallmann must expend much time and energy to obtain permission for his projects. Or to procure the necessary funds. In his experience, this has been particularly difficult in Berlin. Johannes Wallmann speaks about it without resentment...


DIE WELT, September 21, 1999, on 10.000 Cries of the Seagulls
"Fifth Kryptonale: Ten Thousand Cries of the Seagulls...A sound recording stood out": "10,000 Cries of the Seagulls," recorded off the shore of Helgoland. The composers Johannes Wallmann and Dirk Homann have turned it into a so-called soundscape. Most of the listeners closed their eyes and felt themselves swept away by the sea. In fact, the shrieking did actually develop symphonic dimensions.

DER TAGESSPIEGEL, Berlin, October 29, 1999
Johannes Wallmann plans a singing world's fair in Berlin

The man isn't to be stopped. Back in GDR times, Johannes Wallmann was the disruptive co-founder of the Weimar New Music Group, and according to Stasi files, a composer of works whose "content and expression suggest negative themes hostile to the state." Since his emigration to the West in 1988, he has emerged as the creator of ambitious projects that lie between music and sound-art. Proceeding on the basis of his philosophical concept of "Integral Art" – which seeks to unite the various art forms, as well as art and daily life in general, music, history and the environment – Wallmann conceived a live electronic sound design for the Wuppertal cable railway in 1991. In 1995, he followed this up with the Dresden Bell Requiem for a network of 129 church bells throughout the city, and in 1996, he brought sound to an 850-meter-long stretch of seacliff on the island Helgoland.
After the 1997 premiere of his orchestral work "inner-sound" at the Berlin Cathedral was doomed to remain a stunted torso bereft of the planned live transmission of urban sounds from the streets of Berlin (which was stricken from the program due to lack of funds), Wallmann now makes a bid for the entire world. For 15 days in September 2000, soundscapes from seven continents – from the Brazilian Rainforest and from the port of Cape Town, from Niagara Falls and the hot springs in Iceland, from Sydney, the Ural mountains, and Tokyo – will be broadcast in Berlin's House of the Cultures of the World and will form a kind of acoustic world's fair. This will be supplemented by a sound-environment at the Brandernburg Gate composed of 29 Berlin sounds, and a repeat performance of "inner-sound" at the Berlin Cathedral. The voices of seven sopranos located at the sites of the soundscapes around the world will be transmitted by satellite, and will blend with the sounds of the environment and the orchestra into a truly global score that will be heard in Tokyo and Cape Town alike.
Wallmann's project represents an artistic reaction to the global networking of the world through media; it sends precisely the musical signal that is so patently missing in the EXPO 2000...

Berliner Morgenpost, October 21, 1999
The seven sopranos – the Berlin composer Johannes Wallmann plans an international sound project for fall 2000. ... What has thus far played itself out merely at the national level is to grow in the fall of 2000 into a global event: "Outer-Sound/Inner-Sound" will be its title. The concept sounds simple. Seven sopranos sing simultaneously at seven sites around the globe, whether to the accompaniment of the roar of Niagara Falls, or that of Sydney's street traffic. The threads come together in Berlin, where the transmitted sounds will be not only be mixed together with the help of state-of-the-art technology and broadcast worldwide, but are also to be joined by live events and the incidental "outer-sounds" of the city....

Berliner Abendblatt, November, 03, 1999
The cradle of sounds that embrace the world
... For the project, Wallmann unites these "inner-sounds" with the "outer-sounds." The project is under the auspices of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) and the Gouverning Mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen (CDU). In Berlin, DeutschlandRadio, the Berlin Cathedral, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the House of the Cultures of the World are collaborating with Wallmann and his promotions company Klang & Zeit Association. In addition, the House of the Cultures of the World will contribute the resonant chimes of its carillon to the "outer-sounds." The live transmissions of the sounds from the other continents may also be heard at the House for the entire duration of the project. "Whatever enters the ear also does something to us."

Sächsische Zeitung Dresden, October 29, 1999
The "Christo of Music," Johannes Wallmann, plans a global sound installation
For the year 2000, the composer Johannes Wallmann is planning his first world-encompassing sound installation. Entitled ARIA, it will be the most ambitious project ever undertaken by the "Christo of Music," as critics have called the Berlin-based artist....
Using state-of-the-art technology, sounds and noises from all seven continents are to be carried by live transmission to Berlin, where they will be mixed into a stereo soundtrack. If the experiment is successful, it would represent the opportunity to be present simultaneously at different places throughout the world with one's ears, the 47-year-old composer said. His aim: "To make the global interconnectedness of the Earth palpable to the senses." ... In Berlin, the House of the Cultures of the World, the Berlin Cathedral, and the square before the Brandenburg Gate are to serve as the performance venues for the concert. The conception includes world-wide television and radio broadcasts.
Wallmann, who grew up in Dresden, emigrated to the West in 1988. His first ambitious sound installation was realized in Wuppertalnd quiet joy with which the piece was played by the "Weimar New Music Group" captured the listeners' attention from the first note to the last... Here a gripping music emerges, like a flower unfolding, outward from within.