The programme of the label’s CDs in print currently includes over six hundred publications.
MUSIC OF OUR TIME
In addition to recordings of works by composers ranging from Theodor W. Adorno to Bernd Alois Zimmermann – both portrait CDs and those devoted to individual works – this catalogue also includes the publications of the Edition Zeitgenössische Musik des Deutschen Musikrats (Contemporary Music Edition of the German Music Council); the computer music series Digital Music Digital; the Edition ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie: Center for Art and Media Technology); and the series Ars Acustica, which WERGO publishes in collaboration with the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR).
Edition Zeitgenössische Musik – Deutscher Musikrat
In its renowned Contemporary Music Edition the German Music Council set itself the task of creating a basic listening library of contemporary composition in Germany. More than ninety recordings have been produced thus far, revealing the full range and depth of contemporary music and making it possible for everyone to experience the „adventure of music.“ The edition is distinguished by the high quality of the performances and of the accompanying texts. It includes recordings by renowned interpreters and ensembles, often under the direction of the composer; the carefully edited booklets present the composers and musicologists in analyses of the works and in aesthetic commentaries..
Highlights from the radio concert series “Musikfabrik im WDR”. This edition of thematically arranged programmes provides an exciting foray into recent music history. Premieres are juxtaposed with “classics” of New Music.
Digital Music Digital
More than fifty composers from throughout the world have contributed to the first compendium of contemporary music devoted to the possibilities for producing music digitally. The first phase of the present publications is devoted to composer portraits. The series Computer Music Currents, which built on this earlier phase, was developed in cooperation with the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University and the System Development Foundation (SDF) in San Francisco. Each CD has a theme and contains works by several composers. The CD that concludes the series, “The Historical CD of Digital Sound Synthesis”, comprises works from 1957 to 1969 and includes a complete reprint of Jean-Claude Risset’s famous essay “An Introductory Catalogue of Computer Sounds” (1969), and all its musical examples are included on the CD.
The Institute for Music und Acoustics is, along with the Media Museum, the Multimedia Library, and the Institute for Visual Media, part of the Center for Art and Media Technology in Karlsruhe. Guest artists from all over the world work in the Institute’s music studios with advanced computer and sound technology. Their productions combine digital sound synthesis and algorithmic compositional techniques. Radio plays are produced and multimedia art forms are developed and explored that use the technical integration of image and sound to reveal the dream of an artistic experience that draws on all the senses and speaks to all the perceptive capabilities.
Acoustic Art is a melting pot of all the elements of the audible world: of spoken language against the backdrop of the many languages of Babel as well as of the nonsemantic articulations of sound poetry, of the universe of sounds and noises produced electronically or found in our environment and turned into “musique concrète” – all are juxtaposed with silence as their equal. The Studio for Acoustic Art of West German Radio Cologne, which documents its productions in the edition Ars Acustica, enables its listeners to encounter and explore in depth a wide range of contemporary art in the world of radio, ranging from polyphonic electronic composition to montages of sounds and noises, from linguistic collage to urbane sound sculpture, from acoustic portraits of large cities to meditative soundscapes.
WERGO Concept is the name of a new series in which this tradition-rich label for contemporary music sets off on unusual paths. Each release pursues an idea from the history or aesthetics of music that establishes connections between important creative works of the past and those of the present, communicated in extraordinary recordings by outstanding performers.
The series “WERGO Colours” is an expansion of the well-known WERGO catalogue. “Colours” stands for the variety and richness of contemporary musical art beyond the so-called “avant-garde”.
MUSIC OF WORLD CULTURES
World Music – What Is Distant? What Is Near?
World Music is a not uncontroversial term for the rich variety of musical culture of our planet, and it comprises not only the musical traditions of the rural parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America but also those of the high cultures of the Indian subcontinent, Japan, and China as well as the popular music of urban metropolises throughout the world today. This edition of CDs, most of which were produced in cooperation with Berlin’s House of the Cultures of the World and the Music Department of Berlin’s Ethnological Museum, mixes up the categories of “foreign” and “familiar” not only by bringing closer things that are unknown and unfamiliar but also by revealing the familiar in the foreign and the foreign in the familiar. The encounter with the varied musical ideas that exist outside of our own culture has made us more aware of our own categories and shown us that we can no longer operate with a single compulsory aesthetic but that we must instead speak of innumerable distinctive aesthetics. This conclusion is supported both by the extraordinary recordings and the high quality of the booklet texts on the WELTMUSIK label.
The Jewish Music Series on WERGO
What is “Jewish music”? The ethnomusicologists Rita Ottens and Joel Rubin present the varied musical traditions of Jewish populations of different continents in their Jewish Music Series. These traditions range from the melismatic Eastern traditions of Yemen and Syria, by way of unaccompanied Judeo-Hispanic romances and religious songs of supplication (the so-called “bakkashot”), to East European klezmer repertoire of the sort collected by the Russian-Jewish researchers An-ski, Engel, and Bergovski in the first decades of the twentieth century. All these forms – no matter whether classical, traditional, urban, popular, or folk – have one thing in common: they share roots in the Jewish religion and tradition and are elements of Jewish experience and history. Even the very first recording in the series, which presented live concert recordings from the program surrounding the exhibition “Patterns of Jewish Life” in Berlin in 1992, received great praise internationally, because it provided a learned overview “from the inside” on the enormous range of Jewish musical traditions today, and it did so even for non-Jewish audiences. From the beginning the editors of the series made it their task to present important bearers of the tradition like the klezmer clarinetist Max Epstein and musical traditions that are little known outside the Jewish community, for example, those reflected in the Turkish-Jewish art music of the cantor Isaak Algazi. At the same time, however, the series remains open to current trends in Hassidic music today.
Song of robin and wren by the stream … drumming of a great spotted woodpecker … the hare once again comes down the slope … rustling dry leaves … scolding alarm of a passing blackbird … deep buzzing of hornets flying to their nest …
Walter Tilgner, author and producer of more than ten Natural Sound CDs with WERGO, has succeeded again in eliciting concert-like sound pictures from meadows, valleys, and forests. With these extraordinary natural sound pictures, he not only attempts to convey a feeling of joy, relaxation and inspiration, but also wants to encourage the listener to walk among the trees of a forest, eyes and ears alert, penetrate the secrets of the sylvan world, and thus achieve a true experience of nature. For about twenty years, Tilgner’s main activity has been the documentary recording of the sounds of the natural world, the creation of sound pictures.