How do multiple individual voices come to form a harmonic, well-ordered whole? This question of the right perspective and proportion has also engaged musicians from the European Renaissance to the present day. It is a challenge that remains relevant today, not only for artists of varied backgrounds, but for all of us, as fellow human and political beings. For the complexity and very real dissonances of the world, as opposed to those inherent in music, are not so easy to resolve. Edward W. Said considered the “contrapuntal” coexistence of a multitude of diverging, unknown, and potentially incongruent perspectives and experiences a promising way toward a better understanding of the world and ourselves within it.
This idea is also at the center of the 2020–21 season at the Pierre Boulez Saal, where the architecture itself offers almost 700 visual and acoustic angles on a performance—a wide range of new perspectives, not all of them familiar, but all profoundly enriching.
Artwork: Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527–1609) | Illustration from Perspective (Leiden, 1604) | University Library Heidelberg