updated 5 September 2018

Heiner Goebbels

German composer and director born 17 August 1952 in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse.

 Heiner Goebbels was born in Neustadt an der Weinstraße (Rhineland-Palatinate) and began studying music at home at an early age (piano, cello, and guitar). In 1972, he moved to Frankfurt to complete degrees in sociology (1975, with a thesis on Hanns Eisler) and in music (in 1978). In Frankfurt, he lived in a squat, and after meeting the free-jazz saxophonist Alfred Harth, founded the Sogenanntes Linksradikales Blasorchester (“So-called Radical Left-Wing Wind Orchestra”), a street performance ensemble composed of professional and amateur musicians, with whom he recorded two albums. After the orchestra disbanded, he continued to play with Alfred Harth until 1988, putting out several albums in which one can observe his discovery of electronic instruments and detect hints of his later work. Between 1982 and 1992, the two musicians were also a part of the experimental rock group Cassiber, along with Chris Cutler and Christoph Anders. Heiner Goebbels is one of the few contemporary music composers of his generation to keep one foot in the world of improvised and experimental music, and would cross paths with artists such as Don Cherry, Fred Frith, Tom Cora, Charles Hayward, Arto Lindsay, Peter Brötzmann, Otomo Yoshihide, Xavier Garcia, and Yves Robert.

At the same time, Goebbels began composing for theater, and in 1979 was named musical director of the Frankfurt Schauspielhaus. In total, he wrote some thirty scores for stage (including for Hans Neuenfels, Claus Peymann, Matthias Langhoff, Ruth Berghaus) and film. His encounter with writer Heiner Müller in the mid 1980s was a turning point in his career, and Goebbels wrote his first radio pieces with texts by Müller: Verkommenes Ufer (1984), Wolokolamsker Chaussee (1989), and SHADOW/Landscape With Argonauts (1990) were all revolutionary in the radio drama genre, garnering the composer numerous prizes (including the Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden, the Prix Italia, and the Karl Sczuka Prize). They show both an attachment to the text and the ability to artfully work with mixed media (Die Befreiung des Prometheus), which the composer would quickly apply to the stage. After “stage concerts” such as Der Mann im Fahrstuhl (1987), and a concert for dancer, Thränen des Vaterlands (1986), Goebbels turned in the 1990s to hybrid stage performances such as Ou bien le débarquement désastreux (1990), Stifters Dinge (2008), Schwarz auf Weiß (1996), Eraritjaritjaka (2004), and Landschaft mit entfernten Verwandten (2002). All of these draw on multiple textual sources (Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Gertrude Stein, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Edgar-Allan Poe, Joseph Conrad, etc.) while calling on musicians from very diverse backgrounds, abolishing the boundary between opera, concert, and theater while playing with the tensions created by their various component parts (light, actors, sets, etc.). These creations were also adaptable to many forms, including stage productions, radio dramas, and visual installations.

Since the late 1980s, Heiner Goebbels has also composed “autonomous” pieces for the Ensemble Modern, as well as for the Ensemble intercontemporain, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Conceived in 1994 for the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, and recorded on the ECM label, Surrogate Cities for large orchestra (1994) was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001.

A member of the Frankfurt and Berlin Academies of the Arts, Goebbels taught for twenty years at the Justus-Liebig-University Institute for Applied Theater Studies in Gießen, where he is now an honorary professor. He served as president of the Theater Academy of Hesse from 2006 to 2018, and as artistic director of the Ruhr Triennale from 2012 to 2014, where he produced three works that he saw as milestones in musical theater: Europeras by John Cage, Delusion of the Fury by Harry Partch, and De Materie by Louis Andriessen. His own compositions have received many awards and honors, including a retrospective at the Musiques en Scène Biennale in Lyon in 2014.

In June 2018, Goebbels participated in IRCAM’s ManiFeste Academy, holding a huge workshop for young dancers, choreographers, and improvisational musicians in the Centquatre-Paris arts center.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2018


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By David Sanson

“*I only work on things I do not know yet, otherwise, I have no interest in them.*”
This credo, noted by the German theorist and theatre critic Hans-Thies Lehmann[1], is one way to sum up the philosophy behind Heiner Goebbels’ work since the 1970s – and one way to illuminate the resolutely singular path he has forged through the art music world, and is still forging today. Singular because this well-rounded musician, multi-instrumentalist, composer, teacher, artistic director, and eloquent author is at least as well-known and celebrated in the theatre world as he is in music. He has been teaching since 1999, but not in a conservatory: he is a professor at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies of the Justus-Liebig University of Gießen, which is renowned for being one of the epicentres of postdramatic theater – as theorized by Lehmann himself, whose way Goebbels paved.

The term “postdramatic,” rather than “post-modern,” is probably better suited, too, to describe the heterogeneity of Goebbels’ music. This heterogeneity is the result of a juxtaposition of and the interactions among disparate elements (sometimes musical influences, sometimes sound objects) – it is a music of “gaps,” to borrow Jean-François Trubert’s description of the “instrumental theater” of Mauricio Kagel. Goebbels’ work is also characterized by metamorphosis: it is self-adapting, and often exists in a plethora of variations (composition, performance, installation, radio drama, etc.). This is “stage music:” off-centered, impure, tracing out a singular horizon in a tradition of Western classical music which it consciously measures while mixing and matching with other traditions, both “non-classical” (free jazz, rock) or “non-Western” (Senegalese, Japanese, etc.). It is “postdramatic,” too, in that Heiner Goebbels is a stage director as well as a composer: music, for him, is a matter of dramaturgy at least as much as it is a matter of composition; or, more precisely, because composition, as he imagines it, is itself a kind of staging[2].

At any rate, the term musical theatre is not broad enough to define his work, whose key trait is the decisive role assigned to the text, and its richness, which seems to encompass an awareness of the twilight of modernity. It is through this lens that his music explores most of the major aesthetic questions of the post-war period. In the stage arts, the pieces that comprise his catalogue seem to have found the best ways to affirm a certain relationship to time and to listening – while remaining faithful to a collective dynamic that helps to explode the myth of the composer as demiurge. This is a political vision inherited from Hans Eisler – whose credo Goebbels might well adopt for himself: “A person who knows only music knows nothing of music[3] .

From the street to the acoustic space of the radio: the birth of a language

Hanns Eisler – about whom Goebbels wrote a thesis in sociology in 1975, on “the progressive dimension of musical material” – was indeed the guiding light behind Heiner Goebbels’ first attempts at public performance. “I thought that the jazz music I liked to play was a private activity that could not become a politically engaged public activity. When I discovered the life and work of Hanns Eisler, I realized that music could also have a political impact[4]”. Goebbels’ first album, dedicated to Eisler, was produced with the saxophonist Alfred Harth, a key figure of the jazz scene in the broadest and freest sense of that term. Goebbels’ first encounter with Harth, also in 1975, was another pivotal moment for him: the iconoclastic Hommage / Vier Fäuste für Hanns Eisler plays with the contrast between Harth’s explosive performance and Goebbels’ relative compositional rigor. Harth was also a mainspring in the creation of Sogenanntes Linksradikales Blasorchester (the “So-called Radical Left-Wing Wind Orchestra” or SLB), founded that same year. While the orchestra’s main goal was to play for the student protests that were shaking Frankfurt as well as Germany’s other major cities, the group nevertheless recorded two albums, in which several facets of Goebbels’ future compositions are discernible in embryonic form. The album Hört, Hört (1977), for example, features pieces such as Tagesschau and Circa, which, with great spontaneity, juxtapose and build together the most disparate of musical elements, quoting the American and German national anthems and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, weaving in notes of jazz, tango, and circus music, noise episodes, etc.

Goebbel’s work with the SLB, as well as with the experimental rock group Cassiber and his work as a stage music composer, an intensive part of his activity for the greater part of the 1980s, were all collective experiences, and, as such, would have a decisive influence on the work that followed. Of these formative years spent in agitprop, group playing, and spontaneous gestures, the most tangible traces remain his albums. In the early 1980s, the Goebbels/Harth albums show a notable evolution, linked to Goebbels’ discovery of electronic musical instruments (synthesizers, drum machines). On the album Der Durchdrungene Mensch / Indianer Für Morgen (1981), the piece Berlin Q-Damm 12.4.81 uses sound documents and concrete sounds, acoustic and electronic instruments, and tape to translate into music an incident that occurred between a plainclothes police officer and a young window-smasher on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, and is almost like a miniature radio drama. As in Peking-Oper – on Frankfurt-Peking (1984) – Goebbels’ music, according to Wolgang Sandner, was already losing its “bidimensionality[5]”.

1984 was another milestone year for Heiner Goebbels, as it marked the beginning of his collaboration with writer and director Heiner Müller, which ended only with Müller’s death in 1995. Goebbels also wrote his first radio play in 1984, Verkommenes Ufer (“Abandoned Shore”), with a text from 1955 worked into the play Abandoned Shore / Medea Material / Landscape with Argonauts, which Müller had premiered the year before. The composer had not yet discovered the radio dramas of John Cage or Mauricio Kagel, but his work still shows a singular inventiveness: the collage art already present in his group recordings features in these, as well, and one hears the combined influences of concrete music, Dada, and popular music, as well as a highly personal approach to the text, which is dismembered, truncated, and then reorganized and reassembled to obtain the most accurate possible acoustic translation of the meaning and the feelings it inspired in Goebbels. He, in turn, entrusts the listener – and here is a constant preoccupation in his work – with an active role to play. In this case, the text was partially spoken by anonymous passers-by in the streets of Berlin, a technique Goebbels would reuse, notably in Boston in 1990 for SHADOW/landscape with Argonauts, based on texts by Edgar Allan Poe and Müller. In the years that followed, Goebbels and Müller collaborated on such works as Die Befreiung des Prometheus, Wolokolamsker Chaussee I-V (1989). For Goebbels, the radio drama seemed to be the best way to strike the “new balance between music and text” that he described seeking[6]. A balance in which the text acts to structure the musical composition, which must in turn make the linguistic and syntactic structure of the text transparent to the listener: an ode to the musicality of language and at the same time a melancholic, ironic, poetic, and perhaps metaphysical way to grasp literature.

Heiner Goebbels’ encounter with his alter ego in Müller was also foundational in that it encouraged Goebbels in his use of collage and the arrangement of disparate materials in his music. Indeed, Heiner Müller did a very similar thing in his texts, composing them in the myriad footsteps of other authors: “As Heiner Müller did with texts from many places, I am just as likely to work with rock music, African music, or classical music. The material changes but the method is always mine. My understanding of art consists of acknowledging that one cannot systematically invent new works, but that, by working with pieces that already exist, one can transform them to the point that, at times, they are no longer recognizable[7]”. This “understanding of art”, to which Goebbels has always returned, will be explored more extensively further on.

In addition to Maelstromsüdpol, his first performance installation, created with the stage designer Erich Wonder and presented in 1987 at Documenta VIII in Kassel, Goebbels and Müller collaborated that same year on Der Mann im Fahrstuhl (“The Man in the Elevator”), which was at that point his most significant attempt at stagecraft. This “stage concert,” performed by the writer and a group of jazz musicians including trumpeter Don Cherry – whose concert Goebbels had seen in the early 1970s, and which, along with the Sun Ra Arkestra, had been a revelation to the composer – also marked the beginning of his collaboration – non-exclusive but sustained – with the ECM music label.

The space of the stage: composing in three dimensions

After working on the “acoustic stage[8]” of radiophonic art, to which Goebbels always returned, and after several collaborative pieces, notably with the director Michael Simon, a natural next step for the composer was the 1993 “musical theatre” piece Ou bien le débarquement désastreux. (Goebbels links his taste for elaborate titles to his desire to spark the curiosity he sees as the audience’s main role.) It was his first attempt at composing on a large scale with the different components of theatrical performance – text (a mix of Conrad, Müller, and Francis Ponge), scenography (by the visual artist Magdalena Jetelova), lighting (Jean Kalman), acting (with Français André Wilms, his preferred actor), costumes (Alexandra Pitz), and, of course, music. As in his radio pieces, Goebbels drew all of these parameters together through a play of contrasts and oppositions, imposing an internal temporality: separation of voice and body (through amplification), colliding scenes and colliding music – the koras of two Senegalese griots dialogue with the score he composed for a quartet of instrumental performers (two electronic keyboardists, a trombonist, and a guitarist playing electric guitar, table guitar, and daxophone). In 2012, the same performers featured again in The Up-River Book, a radio composition for a text by Joseph Conrad.

The way these structural elements are placed in tension with one another differs from the Gesamtkunstwerk so dear to Wagnerian theatre: indeed, in 1997, in one of his (numerous) theoretical essays, Goebbels explicitly distanced himself from this notion of the “total artwork[9]”. He believed that theatre should not offer “utopian totality,” but rather “a reservoir of questions, a productive incompleteness, a new model of communication, […] a promise,” or, as Hans-Thies Lehmann puts it, “an arrival” (“ein Advent”)[10]. He was opposed to assigning any hierarchical difference within the arts, and denounced the datedness of theatrical signs, symptomatic of the illustrative drift from which theatre suffered. “All of the arts should be strong on stage and there should be no hierarchy. Content should be opened up, rather than proliferated[11]”.

Questioning the classical understanding of the aesthetic experience, in which attention is focused on the direct presence of clearly identified protagonists/soloists, Goebbels entrusted the spectator with an active, decisive role. Taking up the notion of “stage writing” forged by theatre critic Bruno Tackels, we might, as mentioned before, qualify Goebbels compositions as “stage music” – co-created with the other elements of the performance, and often the result of numerous collective improvisations. “I am actually incapable of writing a single note if I haven’t improvised with everyone for two weeks,” the composer confided to Franck Ernould in 1997[12]. A music in which the systematic use of amplification allows the composer not only to practice combining different and unexpected timbres – a clavichord and percussion, for example, in Ou bien le débarquement désastreux – and mixing them with electronic sounds, but also to spatialize the sound as he wishes and to “disorganize conventional dynamic equilibrium[13]”.

After this, all of Goebbels’ subsequent work, both his “musical theatre” and his “stage concerts,” seeks to push this kind of questioning to the fore. Each time, he chose to deepen a specific preoccupation or dimension, always in search of the unknown and the new, which, as you will recall, are among his core motivations. It is not always easy, in fact, to locate distinctions among these different “musical shows,” to use another one of the artist’s terms. The scenographic scope of I went to the house but did not enter (2008) thus makes it a “stage concert,” but it might just as easily be placed in the category of “musical theatre” – or even of “opera,” since that is the name he chose – a first, for him – for Landschaft Mit Entfernten Verwandten (“Landscape With Distant Relatives), which premiered in Geneva in 2002. Written for the four singers of the Hilliard Ensemble, I went to the house… is a milestone in Goebbels’ career in the sense that it was the first time that Goebbels, who had until then always expressed his mistrust of all standardized or academic forms of singing and diction and always preferred his own unconventional vocal forms, worked with “lyric” singing.

The twenty shows he has premiered since 1993 are generally visually very beautiful, and form a kind of constellation in which certain pieces have been transformed into installations or radio dramas. Standouts among these include Schwarz auf Weiß, a musical theatre piece that premiered in 1996 and is often described as a “requiem for Heiner Müller,” in which Müller’s voice can be heard reciting the beginning of a text by Edgar Allan Poe, titled “Shadow,” on which Goebbels had already based an eponymous radio drama; and Eislermaterial (1998), a stage concert written for the Ensemble Modern, premiered for the centenary of Eisler’s birth – here, again, one also hears a recording of the artist’s voice. InStifters Dinge (2007), a remarkable theatre piece stripped of all human presence, only a few electronically operated pianos, lights, the set, video, and sound bring the stage to life. For Heiner Goebbels, the stage is a means of adding a spatial dimension to the art of time that is music.

Zones of musical autonomy: an apologia for eclecticism

Since 1991 and Red Run – a reprise of a ballet score that marked the beginning of his rich collaboration with the Ensemble Modern – Heiner Goebbels has also composed some twenty pieces that, if not “purely” musical, are at any rate written to be performed in more or less traditional concert form (they are listed on the composer’s information-packed website as “Compositions”). Moving to the two-dimensional universe of the music score does not effect any radical change in Goebbels’ music; the compositions are written in the language that we know as Goebbels’ own, juxtaposing genres, registers, and sounds with undeniable theatrical genius. As always, they leave space for the listener, in which they can exercise their own faculties of association. La Jalousie, for example, a 1992 work inspired by Alain Robbe-Grillet and subtitled “noises excerpted from a novel” can be listened to as a radio play. These pieces, whether or not they employ the human voice – spoken or sung – continue to use text as their central impulse. One of Goebbels’ greatest pieces is no doubt Surrogate Cities, composed in 1994 for the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie. This monumental cycle, which is made up of some 90 minutes of mostly vocal music, comprises five distinct pieces, whose order may be varied, and which have often been performed on their own. The cycle is designed as a “transversal cut” of a city, exploring the different strata of its memory, as in the inaugural Suite for sampler and orchestra, in which the voices of Jewish cantors recorded in the 1920s resonate through the solo instrument. The Horatian, a trilogy of songs with orchestra with the overtones of musical theatre, for poems by Heiner Müller, places Goebbels in the tradition of Kurt Weill in his American period. On a comparable scale, Songs of wars I have seen (2007) combines the early music instruments of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the London Sinfonietta, electronics, and voice.

Goebbels’ music stands out not only for its dramaturgic architecture, which breaks with the habitual forms of the Western written tradition (although the Suite described above does follow the structure of a Baroque suite). It is also singular in the way it marries together different timbres and its taste for unexpected sounds, from the contrabass clarinet to the clavichord, as well as electronic and “concrete” sounds – and above all two instruments particularly linked to jazz and rock, the electric guitar and the saxophone. As he recalls in a foundational essay written in 1988 on the question of “novelty[12]”, it is in the field of rock that some of the most exciting innovations of the preceding decades have taken place. The essay, an eloquent defense of eclecticism and a compelling call to pull down the walls separating different musical worlds, affirms one of the fundamental traits of the music Goebbels began expressing in the context of a street marching band, and then in an experimental rock band. His equal love for popular and “art” music is particularly salient in shows such as Die Wiederholung (1995), a play “based on themes in Kierkegaard, Robbe-Grillet, and Prince,” and in Hashirigaki (2000), which mixes together texts by Gertrude Stein and songs by Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. This eclecticism extends, as we have mentioned, to all the non-Western traditions, as well – notably to the music of Africa and Asia – see, for example, the Dervish Dance for flute and oriental percussion, which punctures through Landschaft Mit Entfernten Verwandten – and to the singular voices of actors and singers from all schools and all parts of the globe. This “double culture” also explains Goebbels’ enthusiasm for the unjustly obscure composer Harry Partch: in 2013, for the Triennale of the Ruhr, he conducted the European premiere of Partch’s Delusion of the Fury (1965–66). Composed in 1998 and revised in 2008,Walden, an orchestra piece designed as a counterpart to Surrogate Cities and based on the work by Thoreau, as in Partch’s work, uses an ensemble of original instruments created by the American sculptor and musician Bob Rutman.

This eclecticism is all the more necessary, Goebbels writes, given that everything – or nearly everything – has already been written and heard, the myth of “progress” in art has ceased to be credible. It is no longer possible to systematically invent new works, to create ex nihilo. Moreover, what point is there to post-modernity if all it does is restore the aesthetics of the past? From this angle, working with existing materials, transforming them to the point that they are no longer recognizable, and trusting the public is, according to Goebbels, the only possible way to create something new. “Music appears to us above all as a transformation of other, prior musics; it is no longer a medium of individual expression, but an order (Ordnung) that has long been handed down to us by the institutions of our musical socialization. The composer is no longer an inventor, a master of sounds; rather, it is [the sounds] that dominate the composer subject, and always and automatically precede him[16]”. The recurrent use of samplers, employing citation and sound documents – in this light, this seems at the very least revelatory of the composer’s aesthetic of fragments, of juxtaposition, which convokes the listener’s curiosity and their memory in equal parts.

Portrait of the composer as a utopian architect

Thus is the composer an architect – as Goebbels himself declared in 2002 – or is he a “channel surfer,” as his friend André Wilms likes to describe him? Whatever the answer, the above observation requires us to raise the question of Goebbels’ status, particularly as his career, as we have seen, is deeply intertwined with collective, collaborative work. “For me, in the 20th century, all artistic movements in general, whether we are speaking of painting, literature, or music, depend more on collective memory, collaboration, transmission into the future, than they do on isolated individuals working outside of time[17]”. This multiple and anti-authoritarian view of creation has allowed the composer to create music inspired by a decorator, an actor, and a lighting designer, as well as by a writer, and offers insight into his close relationship with the Ensemble Modern, a self-managed group of musicians. We also recall that in 1989, Heiner Goebbels shared the rights to Wolokolamsker Chaussee I-V with the performers he had worked with on the project (including the hardcore German group Megalomaniax)[18].

Above all, let us recall a phrase of Heiner Müller’s that Goebbels likes to quote: “Working on the disappearance of the author is resisting the disappearance of the human[19]”. If Heiner Goebbels is an architect, he is a utopian one. He does continue to sign his works. And his concert scores, his recordings, and even certain plays (Stifters Dinge is a repertory piece of the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, Schwarz auf Weiß, [*Eislermaterial*](/works/work/28679/ and Landschaft mit entfernten Verwandten are all part of the Ensemble Modern’s repertoire) do promise to endure. Nevertheless, given the very nature of his “compositions” – necessarily ephemeral performances, fruits of collaborations among a handful of singular artistic personalities coming together for a project, and theatre performances whose recordings are only a pale restitution of what occurred onstage – it is perfectly legitimate, failing the total evaporation of the author, to wonder what legacy he will ultimately leave behind.

[1]. Heiner Goebbels, “Daß es Verwandlungen gibt”, unpublished interview with Hans-Thies Lehmann, August 1996, in http://www.heinergoebbels.com (lien : https://www.heinergoebbels.com/en/archive/texts/interviews/read/88

[2]. Komposition als Inszenierung is also the title of an anthology on Goebbels’ work edited by Wolfgang Sandner (2002).

[3]. Quoted by Heiner Goebbels in “Gegen das Gesamtkunstwerk: Zur Differenz der Künste,” in Wolfgang Sandner (ed.), Heiner Goebbels. Komposition als Inszenierung, Henschel Verlag, Berlin, 2002, p. 138.

[4]. Heiner Goebbels, interview with Jean-François Perrier, February 2008, in http://www.festival-avignon.com. .

[5]. Wolfgang Sandner, “Heiner Goebbels, Komponist im 21. Jahrhundert” in Wolfgang Sandner (ed.), op. cit, p. 19.

[6]. Heiner Goebbels, interview with Jean-François Perrier, op. cit.

[7]. Ibid.

[8]. Ibid.

[9]. Heiner Goebbels, “Gegen das Gesamtkunstwerk: Zur Differenz der Künste,” op. cit., pp. 135-141. This text is available on Goebbels’ website, as are many interviews with and essays by the composer.

[10]. Ibid., pp. 138-139.

[11]. Heiner Goebbels, interview with Jean-François Perrier, op. cit.

[12]. Heiner Goebbels, interview with Franck Ernould, August 1997, in http://www.ernould.com (lien : http://www.ernould.com/Artigrou/goebbels.html)

[13]. Ibid.

[14]. On Goebbels’ use of audio records, see in particular Pierre-Yves Macé, Musique et document sonore – Enquête sur la phonographie documentaire dans les pratiques musicales contemporaines, Dijon, Les Presses du Réel, 2012.

[15]. Heiner Goebbels, “Prince and the revolution: Über das Neue”, in Wolfgang Sandner (ed.), op. cit, pp. 204-208.

[16]. Heiner Goebbels, “L’échantillon comme signe”, translated by Jean Lauxerois and Peter Szendy, in De la différence des arts, Paris, Ircam : L’Harmattan, 1997, p. 199.

[17]. Heiner Goebbels, interview with Franck Ernould, op. cit.

[18]. For more on this question, see Heiner Goebbels, “Soll ich von mir reden? Kollektive Copyrights” (1992), in Wolfgang Sandner (ed.), op. cit, pp. 190-198.

[19]. Quoted by Pierre-Yves Macé, op. cit., p. 267.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2018


  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Ästhetik der Abwesenheit: Texte zum Theater, Berlin, Theater der Zeit, 2012.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, « L’échantillon comme signe » et « Le texte comme paysage », traduction Jean Lauxerois et Peter Szendy, in De la différence des arts, Paris, Ircam : L’Harmattan, 1997.
  • Wolfgang SANDNER (éd.), *Heiner Goebbels. Komposition als Inszenierung,*Henschel Verlag, Berlin, 2002.


  • Heiner GOEBBELS, ensemble Klang dirigé par Keir Neuringer, Walden, 2013, EKR06.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Stifters Dinge, ECM, New Series, 2012, n°2216.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, « The Italian Concerto » : The Italian Concerto/Writing II 19.27 ; Ou bien Sunyatta ; Die Faust im Wappen ; So That Blood Dropped to the Earth, Heiner Goebbels : piano, percussion, Chris Cutler : batterie, Sira Djebate : voix, Boubacar Djebate : kora, Johannes Bauer : trombone, Jocelyn B. Smith : mezzo-soprano, Tiziano Popoli : clavier, sampler, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, direction : Franck Ollu, Ensemble Icarus, direction : Yoichi Sugiyama, 1 cd ReR IDA, 2009, n° 024.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Landschaft mit entfernten Verwandten, David Bennent : récitant, Georg Nigl : baryton, Ensemble Modern, Deutscher Kammerchor, direction : Franck Ollu, enregistrement live, festival d’automne Paris, octobre 2004, 1 cd ECM New Series 1811.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Eislermaterial, Josef Bierbichler : acteur, Ensemble Modern, direction : Heiner Goebbels [enregistrement live Hebbel-Theater, Berlin], 1 cd ECM New Series, 2002, n° 1779.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Surrogate Cities, Jocelyn B. Smith, David Moss : voix, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, direction : Peter Rundel, 1 cd ECM New Series, 2000, n° 1688.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, « Sogenanntes Linksradikales Blasorchester 1976-1981 », réédition des diques LPs Hört, hört! (1977) et Mit gelben Birnen (1980), cd 1 : Hört, hört : 1. Vorspiel und “Gedanken über die Rote Fahne” ; 2. Begleitung ; 3. Tagesschau ; 4. Ich bin halt die Kotze aus deiner Glotze ; 5. Chickmatch Blues ; 6. Die Fabriken und Stück ; 7. Circa ; 8. Rote Sonne ; 9. Der Anwalt des Schreckens; 10. Ya no somos Nosotros ; 11. La Resistenca se organisa ; 12. Homesick Blues ; 13. Lied von der Gedankenfreiheit ; 14. Tschüs, cd 2 : Mit gelben Birnen : 1. Trotzalledem ; 2*. Die Hügel von Ca’n Geroni* ; 3. Hälfte des Lebens ; 4. Poema para el despertar de un nino ; 5. Ohne daß ich sagen würde, ich bin der neue Führer ; 6. Präludium ; 7. Einzugsmarsch ; 8. Zirkus ; 9. Baderkatalog; 10. Großvater Stöffel ; 11. Trauermarsch ; 12. O’Guarracino ; 13. Maschine ; 14. Kommet Ihr Hirten ; Bonustracks :15*. Verstandsaufnahme* ; 16. Poltergeist, Thomas Jahn, Gudrun Stocker, Cora Stephan: flûtes, Volker Haas, Reinhard Bussmann, Herwig Heise, Walter Ybema: clarinettes, Klaus Becker, Johannes Eisenberg, Gunther Lohr: trompettes, Barbara Müller-Rendtorff, Rolf Riehm, Henning Wiese: saxophones alto, Christoph Anders, Heiner Goebbels, Alfred Harth: saxophones ténor, Michael Hoehler, Peter Lieser: trombones, Uwe Schriefer, Jörn Stückrath, tubas, Ernst Stötzner: voix, 2 cd Trikont, 1999, n° 0258-2.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Black on White, basé sur la pièce de théâtre musical Schwarz auf Weiss, Ensemble Modern, direction : Heiner Goebbels, avec : Eva Boecker, Lila Brown, Uwe Dierksen, Roland Diry, Thomas Fichter, William Forman, Freya Kirby, Hermann Kretzschmar, Catherine Milliken, Jagdish Mistry, Rumi Ogawa-Helferich, Franck Ollu, Rainer Roemer, Peter Rundel, Noriko Shimada, Wolfgang Stryi, Dietmar Wiesner, Ueli wiget et la voix d’Heiner Müller, 1cd BMG Classics, 1997, n° 09026 68870 2.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Alfred 23 HARTH, « Goebbels Heart », 1. Berlin, Q-Damm 12.4.81 ; 2. Indianer für Morgen ; 3. Dunkle Wolk ; 4. Kein Kriegsspielzeug für Jonathan ;  5. Über den Selbstmord ; 6. Tagesanbruch ; 7. Ich, Bertolt Brecht ; 8. Abbau des Schiffes Oskawa durch die Mannschaft ; 9. Es lebt eine Gräfin in schwedischem Land ; 10. Die Vögel warten im Winter vor dem Fenster; 11. Apfelböck oder die Lilie auf dem Felde; 12. Der Pflaumenbaum ; 13 Liedchen aus alter Zeit ; 14. Sonett ; 15. Deutsches Lied ; 16. 1940 (Ich befinde mich auf dem Inselchen Lidingoe) ; 17. Die Reise nach Aschenfeld ; 18. Paradies und Hoelle können, avec Ernst Stoetzner et Dagmar Krause, 1 cd WAVE Tokyo, 1995, n° wwcx 20 42.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Ou bien le débarquement désastreux, André Wilms, Sira Djebate : voix, Boubakar Djebate : voix, kora, Yves Robert : trombone, Alexandre Meyer : guitare électrique, table-guitar, daxophone, Xavier Garcia et Heiner Goebbels : claviers, sampling et programmation, Moussa Sissoko : djembe, enregistré en juin 1994, 1 cd ECM, 1995, New Series n° 1552.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Schliemanns Radio, 12 Protokolle, basé sur la pièce de théâtre musicalNewton’s Casino, avec Sven Ake Johansson, Areti Georgiadou, Ralph-Daniel Mangelsdorff, 1 cd Hoerverlag Audiobooks, 1995.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, « Hörstücke », Die Befreiung des Prometheus ; Maelstromsüdpol ; Wolokolamsker Chaussee I-V, avec Peter Broetzmann, David Bennent, Alexander Kluge, Ernst Stoetzner, Rene Lussier, Otto Sander, Megalomaniacs, We Wear The Crown, e.a., 3 cds ECM 1994, [ enregistrements de 1984-1990], n° 1452.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, La Jalousie ; Red Run ; Herakles 2 ; Befreiung, Ensemble Modern, direction : Peter Rundel, avec les voix de Franck Ollu (La Jalousie) et Christoph Anders (Befreiung), 1 cd ECM New Series, 1992, n° 1483.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Alfred 23 HARTH, « Live à Victoriaville », 1. The Ballad of the Rotten Jacket ; 2. Los Campesinos ; 3. The Ballade of the Durable Grey Goose ; 4. The Laughing and the Crying Man ; 5. Lightning over Moscow ; 6. Imagine you’re a Dolphin ; 7. On Suicide ; 8. Le Rappel des Oiseaux ; 9. The Peking Opera ; 10. At Last I Am Free ; Heiner Goebbels : clavier, Alfred Harth : saxophone, 1 cd Les Disques VICTO, n° victo CD 04.
  • CASSIBER, « A face we all know » : 1. This was the way it was ; 2. Remember ; 3. Old Gods ; 4. 2 ‘o clock in the morning ; 5. Philosophy (1) ; 6. Gut ; 7. Start the show ; 8. A screaming comes across the sky ; 9. They go in under archways ; 10. They have begun to move ; 11. Time gets faster ; 12. It’s never quiet ; 13. Philosophy (2) ; 14. A screaming holds ; 15. Philosophy (3) ; 16. I was old ; 17. The way it was ; 18. To move, avec Heiner Goebbels, Christoph Anders, Chris Cutler et Alfred Harth, 1 cd ReR, 1989.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Der Mann im Fahrstuhl, sur un texte d’Heiner Müller, avec Arto Lindsay : voix, guitare, Ernst Stötzner : voix, Don Cherry : voix, trompette, doussn’gouni, Fred Frith : guitare, basse, Charles Hayward : batterie, George Lewis : trombone, Ned Rothenberg : saxophones, clarinette basse, Heiner Goebbels : piano, synthésiseur, programmation, 1 cd ECM, 1988, n°1369.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Alfred HARTH, Hommage/Vier Fäuste für Hanns Eisler ; Vom Sprengen des Gartens, 1 cd ReRMegacorps+.
  • CASSIBER, « Perfect Worlds » : 1. Dust and Ashes ; 2. Crusoe’s Landing ; 3. Miracolo ; 4. Prometheus ; 5. Sleep Armed ; 6. In a Room ; 7. Todo dia ; 8. Orphee’s Mirror ; 9. I tried to reach you, avec Heiner Goebbels, Christoph Anders, Chris Cutler et Alfred Harth, 1 cd ReR, 1986.
  • CASSIBER, « Beauty and the Beast » : 1. Six Rays; 2. Robert ; 3. Last Call; 4. Ach, heile mich ; 5. Haruspices ; 6. Under New Management; 7. Vengeance is Dancing ; 8. In einer Minute; 9. Und ich werde nicht mehr sehen ; 10. Prendre La Lune Avec Les Dents; 11. At Last I Am Free ; 12. Time Running Out, avec Heiner Goebbels, Christoph Anders, Chris Cutler et Alfred Harth, 1 cd ReR, 1985.


  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Landschaft mit entfernten Verwandten, Ensemble Modern, David Bennent, Georg Nigl, Deutscher Kammerchor, direction : Franck Ollu, 1 dvd Berlin, 2010, 55 minutes.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Walden, Ensemble Klang, Keir Neuringer, 1 dvd Ricordi, Amsterdam, 2008.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Peider A. DEFILLA(vidéaste), Schwarz auf Weiss ; …meme soir, Ensemble Modern et Les Percussions de Strasbourg, 2 dvds Schott Music, musica viva, Wergo, Munich, 2007.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Eislermaterial (enregistrement de toutes les versions), Ensemble Modern, Josef Bierbichler, direction : Heiner Goebbels et Barry Gavin, 1 dvd, 1999.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Schwarz auf Weiss, Ensemble Modern, direction : Heiner Goebbels et Manfred Waffender, 1 dvd BMG Classics Video, 1997.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Die Befreiung des Prometheus [version scénique complète, version allemande], 1 dvd ReR Megacorp, 1993, 46 minutes.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, La libération de Prométhée [version scénique complète, version française], 1 dvd ReR Megacorp, 1993, 46 minutes.
  • Heiner GOEBBELS, Ou bien le débarquement désastreux [extraits de la pièce de théâtre musical, en français], 1 dvd ReR Megacorp, 1993, 30 minutes.

Liens Internet