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20 - Sound, Silence, Cities

Scientists search for patterns – causes and their effects, questions and their answers. The AVL Cultural Foundation asked cultural theorist Peter Oswald to examine the ‘causes’ that are found in the sounds of locations and times: cities, the countryside, the political climate of regions. And in his essay, Sound, Silence, Cities, he attempts to link them to the ‘effects’ of cultural phenomena. In particular musical composition.

How do places and politics influence the cultural impact of music creation? How does nature inspire composers to create orchestral works? How do the noises of the jungle – birdsong, white water rapids, insects and frogs – influence musicians to create significant artistic works? What influence do these environments have on their work and how does their work reflect back upon the locations and cultures that inspired them.

From the hustle and bustle of Vienna to the jungles of Costa Rica and the city streets of New York, Oswald takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the world. Examining the cause and effect of our surroundings on our culture, he asks if this is a new type of language – a dialogue between the arts and the world they find themselves a part of.

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