Quatuor Mona

360° video: Quatuor Mona plays Puccini

A music video for all-round viewing and listening: Quatuor Mona plays Puccini’s »Crisantemi« in the foyer of the Elbphilharmonie.

This is about as realistic as it gets: Quatuor Mona invites you to share in an intense spatial music experience using 360° video technology and 3D sound. By moving their smartphone or the computer mouse, the audience can look into every corner of the room. The sound follows your line of sight – as if you were standing in the middle of the action.

Tip: For a particularly vivid 3D experience, we recommend watching the video on your smartphone with headphones for the sound.

How does it work? :The technical finesses of 360° and 3D

3D audio

Music recordings are generally produced with stereo sound these days. Stereo technique, which was invented in the 1930s, splits the sound into two sources, which are then heard as right and left channels, e.g. through the loudspeakers of a hi-fi or through headphones. 3D audio technology goes much further. The terms »dummy head« or »Ambisonics« technique were used when 3D recording first appeared in the sixties and seventies. But the system failed to become established at the time as music used to be mainly consumed via loudspeakers – and often only a single speaker, as in a kitchen radio for instance.

»3D sound imitates the real impression of the sound that the listener would have if he was present in the room. If the he turns in a circle, the sound follows his line of sight.«

Philipp Seliger, recording engineer

 

Since the invention of the smartphone and the spread of mobile headphones and music players at the latest, the technology now referred to as »3D audio« has had its breakthrough. For the recording with Quatuor Mona, Seliger and his team captured the signals produced by the four instruments separately. But it’s up to the user to direct the picture and the sound: everyone decides for himself what he wants to see or hear.

Quatuor Mona Quatuor Mona © Daniel Dittus
Quatuor Mona Quatuor Mona © Daniel Dittus
Quatuor Mona Quatuor Mona © Daniel Dittus
Quatuor Mona Quatuor Mona © Daniel Dittus

360° video

The spatial impression is created at the visual level with the help of a 360° camera. Six built-in lenses cover the entire room.

»These six interconnected cameras all have a very high resolution of 8k, 16 times as sharp as a full-HD television. The pictures they took were ›stitched‹ together using a special software, so that no transitions are visible. During this process, the camera tripod was also removed from the picture.«

Philipp Seliger, recording engineer

Giacomo Puccini, 1908
Giacomo Puccini, 1908 © Library of Congress

The Artists :Quatuor Mona

Verena Chen violin
Charlotte Chahuneau violin
Arianna Smith viola
Elia Cohen Weisser violoncello

Quatuor Mona with its first violin Verena Chen from Hamburg was founded at the Conservatoire de Paris in 2018. While still studying, the four lady musicians conquered the concert halls of the French capital, and appeared alongside many well-known artists, among them flautist Emmanuel Pahud, clarinettist Paul Meyer and the pianist Marie-Josèphe Jude. Quatuor Mona receives a grant from the Villa Musica foundation, and takes additional fine musical finish from Günther Pichler, for many years the first violin of the legendary Alban Berg Quartet.

Die Musik :Giacomo Puccini: Crisantemi

La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly: Giacomo Puccini ensured his everlasting fame with his operas. But it’s little-known that the Italian composer also wrote chamber music. Puccini composed his first string quartet as a student, in the early 1880s – for practice purposes. In 1890 there followed two minuets as well as »Crisantemi« for string quartet. The lugubrious, rapturous piece was allegedly written to mark the death of a patron, Duke Amedeo di Savoia. The chrysanthemums of the title are often placed on graves in France and Italy because they flower late in the year, and Puccini’s three-part work gives intense expression to this symbolism of death. But the music also strikes up a more hopeful note at various points amidst the ample doses of pain-laden chromaticism.

For the death scene of his opera »Manon Lescaut« (1892), Puccini went back to this movement and worked parts of it into the instrumental intermezzo in Act Four – the centrepiece of one the most drawn-out and moving death scenes in the operatic repertoire.

 

This project was sponsored by Classical Futures Europe.

Last updated: 14 Jan 2022

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