Himmelerde cancelled 1280x680 © Andreas Weiss

Content / Background

“Franui” is a meadow above the East Tyrolean village of Innervillgraten where most of the members of the Franui Musicbanda grew up. Since 1993 the classically trained members of Franui have defined themselves as a switchyard between classical music, folk, jazz and contemporary chamber music. The group’s musical roots lie in the marches played at funerals in their home region and the dance music played at village fêtes: “If you play a funeral march speeded up four times you’ve got a polka.” Franui defy classification: the effect of their music is never unequivocal, every beat and every tone should allow as many thoughts and feelings as possible. The name of the Musicbanda does not come from their local dialect, but is of Rhaeto-Romanic origin and reveals their region’s proximity to those areas of the Dolomites where Ladin is spoken. Familie Flöz, on the other hand, is a theatrical collective from Berlin, founded in 1996 by students of mime from the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen and known for its non-verbal masked performances. The family name originates from the region where the troupe was founded and, like Franui, describes their philosophy. “Flöz” in German is a mining term for a seam, i.e. a layer under the ground containing valuable resources. Working as a collective, Familie Flöz tries to dig theatrical material out from the dark depths and bring it to the surface. These two approaches meet in the mask and music performance Himmelerde (“Heavenearth”) that takes as its starting point themes and motifs of German Romanticism notable for expressing differences that could not be greater. The German Romantics were never very interested in avoiding conflicts: they tried to mingle the comic with the tragic to create new effects. Himmelerde combines new arrangements of songs by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann and Gustav Mahler to texts by Matthias Claudius, Joseph von Eichendorff, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Wilhelm Müller to produce an encounter with death and our own mortality while at the same time expressing our yearning for that which is living. Because people can be dead without realising it, whereas it is mostly just a few paces from the cemetery to the dance floor.