Escalator Over The Hill

Carla Bley in
Carla Bley in "Escalator Over The Hill"

At The Prequel 2021 from July 1 to 3, 2021, the Monheim Triennale also took a look at the past: "Escalator Over The Hill" (EOTH), Carla Bley's epochal masterpiece, celebrates its 50th birthday in 2021. We provided material for this, first and foremost an 84-minute film documentary of the recording sessions from 1970/1971. The work of filmmaker Steve Gebhardt, who has since passed away, could be seen again in Monheim for the first time in many years.

For artistic director Reiner Michalke, the documentary is not only a milestone in his own musical socialization, but also an important step towards the emergence of the core idea of the Monheim Triennale:

"'Escalator' has accompanied me since my early youth and in a certain way already anticipated the idea of the Monheim Triennale. Carla Bley's consistent handling of musical material, her fearless suspension of all genre boundaries between classical, jazz and rock, and her sure instinct for artistic personalities have given rise to a work that I believe and hope will go down in eternity."

Under the direction of Achim Tang, our Artist in Residence, in a collaborative project between the Monheim Music School, the Otto Hahn Gymnasium (OHG) and the Monheim Triennale, artists from the festival program approached the work improvisationally together with children from the OHG orchestra classes.

The children learned motifs from the piece, which were arranged by the music educators to suit the children's abilities. In addition, the children worked out models of how to use the material in a playful way. Thus prepared, they met Triennale musicians for a joint performance based around "Escalator Over The Hill".

At the end of The Prequel 2021, all the musicians performed a short tribute to the masterpiece together.

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