Soundscape recorded in the Portugese city Coimbra
Close yet far away
With the Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer, the Portuguese town Coimbra produced the sound spectacle Coimbra Vibra! on October 4th 2003. This unique event, which required months of preparation, involved 1,700 musician/soundmaker participants who performed throughout the town.
I myself did not take part in this festival. I didn’t make any sound recordings there with which I later constructed ‘Coimbra 4’. I received the tapes from my colleagues Hans Ullrich Werner and Michael Rüsenberg, who recorded them during the festival. So ‘Coimbra 4’ was a composition that I composed without the reference of visual impressions of this open-air concert. Free of visual information that might cloud my musical associations, I created a mental soundscape from sounds that I could not always define. Coimbra’s geophony was projected onto a non-location-specific sound map. It no longer had anything to do with Portugal. If it has any geographic connection, it is with my composing environment, Utrecht.
The raw sounds of Coimbra Vibre! fascinated me. Sometimes there were wonderful accidental events, e.g., a child crying or a choir singing melancholically at the top of their voices. I was driven from sound to sound and into a new virtual world, a sonic blur of varying colors. The past, united with the future, flowed into a dream field.