Where we play, what we play, and for whom we play it – for us, these are always questions of key importance. Not only because we have ourselves grown up, and completed our musical training, in different lands, amidst quite different landscapes, but also because the audience, and the specific dynamic that arises between audience and performing artists in a concert situation, is quite different from place to place.
It was under the general heading PAYSAGES that we undertook, in the period 2009/10/11, a series of concert tours that took us back to our various countries of origin. On these journeys we often strayed far off the usual “flight paths” of musical ensembles on tour and presented to the public the most various musical works in the most various contexts. Central to the PAYSAGES concert programmes is the creative tension emerging from the “collision”, as it were, between a series of pieces commissioned by us from composers in 2009 and other pieces belonging to the classical musical repertoire. In the selection both of the commissioned composers and of the repertoire pieces we attempted to locate and draw out either qualities specifically characteristic of the regions where we were to present them or possible bridges to the “exotic”, to all that was “other” to the piece and the region in question. This latter element could emerge either directly from the specific work of the composer or as an aspect of the interaction between audience, performing artists, and music.
There thus arose a complex, multi-hued cluster of the most diverse European musical compositions emerging from the most various historical epochs and aesthetic perspectives. The “Ariadne’s thread” that makes possible a degree of orientation within this complex cluster is our own work as a string quartet, which we now continue, making use of the signature technology of the present age, in the form of listentopaysages.com. Through this website we not only make publicly accessible performances of the works themselves but also relate the stories that crowd before, behind and around them; the tour thereby becomes a sort of “virtual concert venue”.
listentopaysages.com was developed in collaboration with artists from various fields so as to create an audio-visually appealing user interface which makes it possible for the user to hear and see PAYSAGES as if s/he were playing a game: The choice to present this cluster of musical creations in the form of a “cloud”, or a non-linear user interface, means that all the usual hierarchization of such creations in terms of alphabetical order, year of composition, relative musical-historical importance and so on can be dispensed with.
What this site is about is simply: our music, regardless of when, or by whom, it was written.
The recordings – made during live performances and as studio productions from Deutschlandfunk Köln – are made available here in their full length and in optimum audio quality. In addition, short texts written from various perspectives (those of musicologists, of the audience reacting to specific performances, or of diary entries by members of the Asasello Quartet) provide background information on the journeys undertaken, the concerts, and the composers. The user of the site who stops reading for a little while will automatically be presented also with the images of the painter Michael Growe.
In addition to immersing him/herself in musical and painterly landscapes the user of the site also has the opportunity of following the Asasello Quartett in the form of films and photos – the product of the eye and the editing of the Cologne photographer Wolfgang Burat, who accompanied the quartet on the journeys making up the PAYSAGES tours.
The Berlin artist Paul Paulun provided the “soundtrack” for listentopaysages.com: countless “sound-bites” from the various tours form a collage, a sort of an “acoustic backstage”, from the basis and starting point of which one can then accompany the Quartet out onto the various stages.
We wish you all a stimulating journey!