Sound sculpture in front of the Beethoven-Haus

"Harmonic Time Travel" by sound artist Bill Fontana - A project by b o n n h oe r e n of the Beethoven Foundation Bonn

"Harmonic Time Travel", the new sound sculpture by the Bonn city sound artist 2019 Bill Fontana in front of the Beethoven-Haus in the Bonngasse, is based on special sound recordings realised within and in front of the house of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth.

"the sound sculpture "Harmonic Time Travel" is a sort of sonic vapour, a dream. It will not fill the space completely or dominate the pedestrian zone, but will instead manifest as a hovering sound cloud possessing the quality of a sonic spirit. developing a sound sculpture for the very street that Beethoven grew up on caused me to reflect on ideas of acoustic memory. A piano that Beethoven once played becoming a listening device to his own early keyboard music and the contemporary Bonn soundscape suggests the notion of time travel." (Bill Fontana)

For the sound sculpture "Harmonic Time Travel", Fontana realised special sound recordings within the Beethoven-Haus, using accelerometers (a type of vibration sensor) mounted on the strings of an antique grand piano once played by Beethoven himself, while pianist Dmitri Gladkov played some of the legendary composer's early piano music on an adjacent grand piano from the same era. The resonating harmonies in the "silent" strings, set in motion by the music of Beethoven playing nearby, serve as the sonic basis of the sound sculpture. the historical piano becomes a listening device whose tones are in turn complemented by sound recordings of the contemporary Bonn soundscape in front of and behind the Beethoven-Haus, which were also recorded on the same piano using the same process. This second sonic layer serves as a bridge between the various piano passages and extends the historical time travelling into the present moment with contemporaneous sounds. The recordings, meticulously assembled in the artist's studio, are diffused as an eight-channel composition by means of special mini-loudspeakers installed within the Bonngasse walkway. This composition is arranged in such a way that the visitors move through a site-specific sound space and set off at the same time on a dream-like harmonic journey through time.


22.6. – 12.12.2019
daily 2 – 6 p.m.