Produced for the first time in the beginning of the Fifties at the Donaueschingen Festival by Bruno Maderna, Pierre Boulez and Stockhausen himself, this piece of work marks a turning point in the XXth century repertory. The use of the orchestra, divided in three groups, each of them placed at a different spot around the audience, was creating quite an innovative spacing, for the first time since the Rennaissance polyphonies.
The piece of work is seldom performed, because of its difficulty, but also because it requires an appropriate space, different from traditional concert halls.
In 1989, the MUSICA Festival in Strasbourg organised a performing of GRUPPEN in vast workshops belonging to the SNCF (French railway), a building from the beginning of the century, in which TGV (very fast trains) are fixed.
This extraordinary setting, where the half-dismantled locomotives were surrounding the musicians in tuxedoes, provided us with a unique opportunity to shoot this work in progress and to show the dialogue between the three musicians conducting GRUPPEN.
Olivier Mille made a ten minutes prologue where each of the three conductors (Michael Gielen, Peter Eotvos and Arturo Tamayo) gives his viewpoint upon this many-facetted piece of work.