Angel View

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Angel View

Angel View is commissioned by Scenatet, Spor Festival and MaerzMusik/Berliner Festspiele, with support from the Danish Arts Foundation. The first performance takes place 18th March 2014 at Berghain, Berlin, with Scenatet performing at the MaerzMusik Festival.

Photo: Anka Bardeleben Photography

Angel View is an assemblage of urban and musical debris, somewhere between a wordless live radio play, enacted film soundtrack and instrumental theatre.

Chiseling cement, falling debris, scraping cutlery, breaking glass, criss-crossing cables, squealing tram-wheels, an upturned bicycle, a grid of cables, a travel souvenir, a shop window, a revolving carousel, a brace of monkeys, a wall under siege, a dining table laid for an ancestral dinner – it is a sonic bazaar. Made up of over 20 parts, each designed to overlap, the work’s architecture is full of of non-sequiturs and arbitrary cross-relations between imagined streets intersecting and running parallel, reflecting the surrealism of everyday life described in Walter Benjamin’s Einbahnstrasse and still present in the contemporary dilemmas and opportunities of Berlin today.
All this is heard as if from an aerial perspective, perhaps the Victory Column where angels sit in Wings of Desire, from where Berlin below is observed as a series of tragedies.

As Walter Benjamin put it:
“A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”
– Benjamin, “On the Concept of History.”


- The Journal of Music

"Angel View succeeded in integrating Hodkinson's personal and complex references within a direct and fascinating experience. Soundscape concepts come through clearly, tempered with echoes of classical music and even semi-absurdist music-theatre. Despite the intransparent structure and wealth of diverse material, there was a clear focus all the way through; the balanced disposition of contrasting elements and intense intimacy of the performers kept the listener's concentration all through the work's 30 minutes. As I understand, Angel View is a kind of sound-portrait or sonic diary, in which the composer presents impressions and experiences gleaned over a long period in a special city. The non-linear, psycho-geographical journey through this material is no ordinary sound-walk, and it cannot be taken by a real person of flesh and blood. We are following a metaphysical being, who can transcend time and space, creating connections between reality and our not always one-to-one experience of it. I guess it's the observing angel of the work's title who has taken a flit through the streets and buildings of Berlin - but who is this angel?"
- Seismograf

"Die Gleichzeitigkeit des Verschiedenen ... steigerte Juliana Hodkinson in ihrer halbstündigen Komposition „Angel View“ für Ensemble und Elektronik. Diese bewusst unlogische Assemblage aus Straßenbahnquietschen, Polizeisirenen und dem zerschlagenen Porzellan einer Festtafel, die den „Surrealismus des täglichen Lebens“ wiedergeben sollte, beschäftigte Auge und Ohr gleichermaßen."
- Neue Musikzeitung

30 minutes
No. of musicians: 
with electronics
Audio available
Video available
Score available