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Video & Dance Productions



Artist and theater director Robert Wilson created a series of video portraits of celebrities, ordinary people and animals called "VOOM Portraits." The name comes from Voom HD Networks, a TV company specializing in high-definition entertainment, which was able to provide the technology Wilson needed to execute his idea. The portraits, created between 2004 and 2009, are a cross between photography, video, literature and sound. The portraits include celebrities, artists, intellectuals, animals, presented on large-scale HD plasma flat-screens, and each work is accompanied by original musical scores.

The portrait of Farah Pahlavi, widow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, has music by Popol Vuh ('Aguirre').

(from: liabxl)

Farah Pahlavi - (Imperatrice/Empress), 2006 Music by Popol Vuh

Source: Joshua S. Walden, Musical Portraits: The Composition of Identity in Contemporary and Experimental Music, Oxford Press, 2018, p.114


Alessio Liberati is an Italian writer of visual poetry using various artistic forms: kinetic poems, concrete poems, interactive poems.

‘Breath in Loop’ (2008) is a kinetic poem in video format. For this poem Liberati uses unreleased music from Popol Vuh, as heard in the movie ‘Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes’. [ Listen/See: Youtube ]   

‘M: mother’ (2010) is a videopoem dating from 2010. For this Liberati used the piece ‘Why do I still sleep’ [ Listen/See: Youtube ]



Occasionally the music of Popol Vuh is used for dance productions. 

  1. 1983 - Rachel Brumer  -  ‘Oryx’ 

Choreographed and performed by Rachel Brumer.

Music: 1st and 3d sections, by Steve Reich (‘Tehillim’),  2d section, ‘Tantric Songs’ from the Popol Vuh
A videorecording is made on March 19, 1983 at the Washington Hall Performance Gallery, Seattle by Sandra Eshleman and Robert McGinley during an On the Boards presentation.




The Seattle Times, Friday, February 14, 1992

These `Recent Echoes' Peer Into Wilson's Pscyhe

By Carole Beers

"Recent Echoes from the Stomping Ground," Llory Wilson and Dancers, 8 p.m. today through Sunday, and Feb. 20-23, Broadway Performance Hall (32-DANCE). --------------------------------------------------------------- Llory Wilson last night exorcised demons from her choreographic past, let some pals show off a new duet and trotted out works she's done recently for other companies, including Pacific Northwest Ballet.

The resulting show, "Recent Echoes from the Stomping Ground," was one undimmed stare into Wilson's pragmatically pixilated psyche: Martha Graham does Minnie Mouse.

All the "right" choices are there, from music to dynamics, from showoff bravura dancing to throwaway street moves and even a touch of hip-hop. But so, too, were goofy asides, flip-flops on a sofa to illustrate the ambivalent side of romance and a male pseudo-classical duet that was breathlessly ingenuous. All intelligently interwoven for texture, shape, surprise.

No question: In the 12 years she has danced and made dances in Seattle, Wilson has learned her stuff.

But why is a lot of it forgettable, particularly much of last night's program?

Of her five works, two - "Davenport Memoirs" and the ensemble dance "On Holding On" - had bite and progressive development, which Wilson's pieces need, to keep them from appearing as so many "cute" splashes of paint on canvas.

The latter, for seven dancers in black and white, softly draped costumes, featured Joan Simcoe's transcendent, soaring score commissioned by the Seattle Women's (Vocal) Ensemble. The moves mirrored and amplified the music, breathing as it did, flowing in and out, with arms, bodies and torsos catching and sending back out again other bodies that fell into them.

Wilson's 35-minute solo, "Oryx," to minimalist music of Steve Reich and Popul Vuh, was a long, intimate but not very interesting look at the foundations (and limitations) of Wilson's dance style, as choreographed by Rachel Brumer in 1983.

In this, Wilson dances from the waist to the knees. That is, the incredible strength, spring and flexibility of her hips, lower back and thighs are exercised in every possible way, with kicks, leg lifts, turns, jumps, sprawls, shuffles - you get the idea.

Through all this, in still moments or frenetic ones, her chest and upper back remain stiff, closed, a cipher. Arm and hand movements do not originate deep within her body, but are tacked on, decorative; the arms themselves look weak, the hands, lifeless. No wonder her "Cordate Carcass," depicting how a women with a paralyzed torso might move, was such a success.

"Davenport Memoirs" was the other welcome piece, created last year for Co-Motion, (and danced better by them, with more wit and grit).

The duet, "Familiar," danced by Jennifer Laird, 9, and Theodora Fogarty, was a charming tumble of floor work by adult and child. The themes were trust, sharing of impulses and energy - gentleness.

Friday, February 14, 1992


2. 1987 - Stuart Pimsler - 'Islands'

Choreographer: Stuart Pimsler
Music: Klaus Nomi, Popol Vuh ('Aguirre I')

View at Stuart Pimsler Videos: "islands'  and 'Islands (University of Florida)


3.1989 – Chris Kaufman - Desire

Choreography and performance by Chris Kaufman.
Presented by Dance Theater Workshop

Videotaped in performance at Dance Theater Workshop's Bessie Schonberg Theater, New York, as part of the Fall Events, Split Stream, on October 21, 1989, by Video D Studios.

Cassette 1
Luckless pedestrian (ca. 14 min.) / music, Tom Waits. His (ca. 8 min.) / music, Bobby Previte ; text, from Frederick Wiseman's documentary Deaf and Blind. Desire borne (ca. 8 min.) / music, Popol Vuh.

Cassette 2
Up from under (ca. 32 min.) / [part] 1, music, Special EFX ; [part] 2, music, Aram Khachaturian (from Gayane ballet suite) ; [part] 3, music, Jane Kaufman (Berlin meets the Idaho wall) ; [part] 4 titled Overs, no music credit.




New York Times,  October 26, 1989

By Jack Anderson

Strength expressed weakness and weakness revealed unexpected strength on Monday night at the Bessie Schonberg Theater. Chris Kaufman - a dancer of remarkable authority - offered a program of solos about social misfits. Yet some of her unfortunates proved quietly defiant.
Strength expressed weakness and weakness revealed unexpected strength on Monday night at the Bessie Schonberg Theater. Chris Kaufman - a dancer of remarkable authority - offered a program of solos about social misfits. Yet some of her unfortunates proved quietly defiant.
Although ''Luckless Pedestrian,'' to gritty recorded songs by Tom Waits, included struts and kicks, the character Ms. Kaufman portrayed was obviously weary. Ms. Kaufman, who is thin and short-haired, made it possible to wonder if this person was male or female. But it was clearly someone who believed that if one stopped moving one might also stop living.
Ms. Kaufman wore a long hood in ''His.'' At times, its ends dangled behind her like a cape. She also imprisoned herself in the garment's folds as if it were a straitjacket. That seemed appropriate for this dance of trembling to ominous music by Bobby Previte and the sound of a quavery voice reciting a not always comprehensible text by Fred Wiseman about problems of a mother and a son.
Crawling across the floor to music by Popol Vuh in ''Desire Borne,'' Ms. Kaufman twisted into such contorted positions that she no longer looked human. After attempting to rise, she gasped. Nevertheless, she did manage to rise.
In ''Up From Under,'' a suite of sketches, the characters ranged from a sad faded beauty who might have stepped from a play by Tennessee Williams to a woman who struck erotic poses as if she were an entertainer in a brothel. But the work ended with a struggle to escape oppression.
Some of the solos could be more concise, for compositional tightness would prevent Ms. Kaufman from inadvertently suggesting that she is using social ills merely as a pretext for ingenious movement. That surely must be the last impression she wishes to convey.
Her concern for the underdog and her magnetic stage presence are equally admirable. Given her expertise, it would also be interesting to see Ms. Kaufman in solos created for her by other choreographers and in revivals of important solos from the modern-dance repertory.


4. 1990 - Introdans – Raspoetin

Premiered september 28th 1990, Studiotheater Introdans, Arnhem

Choreagraphy by Ton Wiggers

Written by Hans Focking

Music: Ludwig Minkus, Riccardo Drigo, Anton Rubinstein, Jo Knumann, Sergei Rachmaninov, Frank Farian, Pink Floyd, Charles Gounod, Popol Vuh, Hans Focking, Pjotr Iljitsj Tsjaikovski




Lees meer …Video & Dance Productions

Film music


First beginnings

Fricke’s interest in music and film manifested itself at the end of the 60s in his work as a journalist for the Süddeutsche Zeitung where he was offered a job by Roland Kaiser who was convinced of his journalistic talents.

Contrary to what many think, ‘Aguirre’ is not the first experience for Fricke as a composer of film music. The film ‘Wintermärchen’(1971) by Ulf von Mechow also features music by Fricke. Besides Siegfried Schwab, The Schlippenbach Family and Antonio Vivaldi, Popol Vuh is listed for the soundtrack. Whether the film contains unique music by Popol Vuh remains a question.

The name of Florian Fricke is also listed as composer (‘originalmusik’) for the 1971 tv-film ‘Antarktis’ by Georg Moorse. The same unanswered question here: does the film carry unique music by Fricke...?

In the same period Florian contributed some unique moog music for the Werner Herzog film ‘Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen’. Listed for the soundtrack is Florian Fricke.

These three films were released in 1971 and produced when Fricke was experimenting with the Moog. I stick to the hypothesis that Fricke made some of the results available for these three films and that all three movies carry unique material.

Questions about the involvement of Frank Fiedler and Holger Trülzsch also remain unanswered. ‘Antarktis’ and ‘Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen’ list Florian Fricke, ‘Wintermärchen' lists Popol Vuh.

A look at GEMA (Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights)  learns that the track ‘Antarktis’ is listed (duration of the track: 10:00). Also music for ‘Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen’ is registered under this same name (duration; 8:00). The music for ‘Wintermärchen’ however has not been registered at GEMA. But maybe it is listed  under a so far unknown name.


"In Lebenszeichen sieht man neben Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg in einer kleinen Szene auch Florian Fricke, Werner Herzogs wohl liebsten Freund. Er hat einen Kurzauftritt als Pianist. Der 2001 im Alter von nur 57 Jahren verstorbene Musiker prägte mit seinen sphärischen Kompositionen viele von Herzogs Filmen. Kennengelernt hatten sich die beiden 1966 in München, nachdem Herzog  aus Amerika zurückgekehrt war. Man mochte sich, spielte zusammen Fußball, unterhielt sich über jeweilige Projekte – und beschloss schließlich die erste Zusammenarbeit bei Lebenszeichen. Florian Fricke und dessen spätere Frau Bettina von Waldthausen gehörten zum Team. Sie fuhren mit zu den Dreharbeiten nach Kos, wie sich von Waldthausen, die damals die Standfotos für den Film machte, erinnert: “Da musste jeder für alles und alle mitarbeiten, immer für das Ganze. In dieser Intensität ist das später nie so gewesen. Lebenszeichen war eben ein Pionierfilm, das Debut von Werner. Er hat immer sehr viel Wert gelegt auf den Spirit, auf den Teamgeist, man sollte nichts auslassen – von den Vorbereitungen bis zur Premiere. Es ging um eine hundertprozentige Präsenz. Florian und Werner waren dabei auf eine Art Konkurrenten und Inspiratoren. Während Lebenszeichen unternahmen die beiden viele, viele Spaziergänge, auf denen sic sich austauschten, wie der Film weitergehen solle. Sie ergänzten sich schön. Vermutlich deshalb hat es Florian später auch so gut verstanden, die Musik für Werners Filme zu machen. Er wusste, was der brauchte. Die Musik war immer schon vorher da. Florian hatte, wie ein Zauberer, einen großen Kasten, seine magsiche Box, mit lauter Tonbandschnipseln drin. Die haben die beiden sich dann angehört – und Werner fand meist sehr schnell etwas unter den vielen Schnürsenkeln. Er hatte ein gutes Gespür für Musik. Und Florian spürte eben intuitiv, was Werner wollte”.(Moritz Holfelder, Werner Herzog die Biographie, 2012, p.119)


It all really started with the soundtrack for 'Aguirre'. This was the beginning of a long and fruitful cooperation between Herzog and Fricke. The story how this collaboration came into being is told many times by Fricke:  

Florian Fricke: "Ich kenne Werner schon lange bevor er einen Film gemacht hat und bevor ich Musik veröffentlicht habe. Damals gingen wir schon pläneschmiedend als Freunde durch die Straßen. Dann haben wir uns in gewisser Weise aus den Augen verloren. Erst als Werner zu 'Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes' Musik suchte (zunächst in Rom im Archiv von Ennio Morricone), sagte ein gemeinsamer Freund: Das kann nur den Florian machen! Werner Herzog: Na, den kenne ich doch! Dann rief er sofort an und ich fuhr runter nach Rom". (E.Schneider, Handbuch Filmmusik 1, 1986, p.59) 

Or in the 1989-interview by Ian Laycock:

Florian Fricke: Werner Herzog had finished filming Aguirre and was in Rome doing the English sync for the film. He was desperately looking for suitable music. He tried with Morricone but couldn't find anything suitable for the film and was very unhappy about it. He was living in an albergo in Rome and was eating there one evening with a young actress from Germany. The conversation finally got round to this problem, that he couldn't get the right music and she said, "There's only one person, really, and that's Florian". So he rang me in Munich, I went to Rome and he showed me the film. I went home and wrote the music and from that point on I was the composer on Werner Herzog's films.

For Keyboards:

Keyboards: Schon recht früh, nämlich so ab 1972, begann deine Zusammenarbeit mit dem Filmemacher Werner Herzog, eine Kollaboration, die den Namen Popol Vuh auch über den Kreis der blossen Musikkonsumenten weit hinaus bekannt machte. Von 'Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes' über 'Herz aus Glas', 'Nosferatu' bis 'Fitzcaraldo' und 'Cobra Verde' hast du die Musik für Herzogs Filme geliefert. Wie begann eigentlich eure Zusammenarbeit?

Florian Fricke: Das hat - wie eigentlich alles im Leben - einen ganz normalen und unmystischen Anfang. Herzog war damals für die Synchronisation van 'Aguirre' in Rom und suchte eine passende Musik bei Ennio Morricone und fand sie nicht. Eine gemeinsame Bekannte machte Herzog auf mich aufmerksam. Er rief mich später in München an, und zwei Tage später war ich in Rom und habe mir den Film angesehen. Zurück in München habe ich dann eine Musik dazu angefertigt, die Werner Herzog auf Anhieb gefiel. Seitdem gibt es die Zusammenarbeit. So einfach war das.

On two places in 'Herzog on Herzog', Herzog explains that he had a clear picture of the music he wanted for his Aguirre-film:  

"Whenever you hear silence, you know there must be indians around, and that means death. We spent weeks recording the birds and the soundtrack was composed from eight different tracks. There is not a single bird that has not been carefully placed as if in a big choir. For the music, I described to Florian Fricke what I was searching for, something both pathetic and surreal, and what he came up with is not real singing, nor is it completely artificial either. It sits uncomfortably between the two". (p.80)

"In Aguirre I wanted a choir that would sound out of this world, like when I would walk at night as a child, thinking that the stars were singing, so Florian used a very strange instrument called a 'choir-organ'. It would sound just like a human voice but yet, at the same time, had a very artificial and eerie quality to it. Florian was always full of ideas like this" (p.256) From what Herzog suggests above, one is inclined to conclude that Fricke may have directed his attention to the choir-organ as a fitting instrument for realizing Herzogs vision. This instrument was played at that time by Jimmy Jackson in Amon Düül 2.

On August 24th, 1972 Florian Fricke signed a contract with Werner Herzog Produktion. It opens as follows: “Popol Vuh ist der Produzent mehrerer Musikstücke unter dem Sammeltitel ‘Lacrime di Re’, die am 23.8.72 in München auf Band aufgezeichnet werden.” Recordings took place one day before the contract was signed. It says that several pieces of music where recorded, altogether named ‘Lacrime di Re’. The contract also speaks of  ‘Träne des Königs‘ instead of ‘Lacrime di Re’, both meaning ‘Tears of the King’. The contract allows Werner Herzog Produktion to use the music also for future films. Which he did. The music was also used for the documentary ‘Die Große Ekstase des Bildschnitzers Steiner’ (1974) and probably also for ‘Herz aus Glas’(1976).

What did Fricke actually compose when he got back from Rome. For sure there was not much time left for him, as Herzog was nearly finishing 'Aguirre'. In answering this question we will also answer two other ones: what music do we actually hear in the film? Is it identical with the music on the original album that appeared in 1975? Most of the music on the soundtrack-lp is not used for the film: 'Morgengruss II', 'Agnus Dei' and 'Vergegenwärtigung', do not appear in the film. The remaining pieces 'Aguirre I' and 'Aguirre II' do return in the film. Both pieces are very similar, and only their codas differ.

Since the SPV-rereleases are out we also know of 'Aguirre III'. Comparing the three versions one can conclude that Fricke did a lot of editing and mixing.

On two moments in the film an actor plays a tune on panflute. In other parts of the film we hear the theme again without seeing it played by the actor. The tune is played in slightly different versions. It's also on the soundtrack as the second part of 'Aguirre I'. After the choir-organ is faded out after about 6:10 minutes the panflute sets in after a short silence.I think it is safe to say that this tune is not played by a Popol Vuh member, but that it is taken from the film. On many moments in the film we hear a very peacefull guitarpiece. Alas this is not on the soundtrack, nor on any other Popol Vuh record.Also one can hear one or two other flashes of Popol Vuh music that I cannot identify and that are not on any record as far as I know .

There are two scenes in the film with tribal percussion music. I suppose they are taken from an ethnic recording. In any case, they are non-Popol Vuh.

So, I think it is a fair to conclude that only the 'Aguirre'-theme, plus the quiet guitar-interludes were intentionally composed by Fricke for the film.

‘Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes’ was premiered in Germany a few months later (December 29th, December 1972) and first shown on television on January 16th, 1973 (ARD). The public however ignored the film. This changed after the film was shown at Cannes Festival in 1973 and received good reviews. From February 1975 onwards, the movie was shown for months, day after day, in two movie theatres in Paris. This led to the return of the film in the German movie theatres in 1976.

In an interview for SWF III (1974) Fricke explains about future plans: “Das ist ein Teil von dem  Aguirre der Zorn Gottes, dieser Filmmusik von uns, die sehr gut angekommen ist. Es wurde sehr viel gefragt, ob da auch Platten erscheinen. Die werden wir da verwenden und eine neue Seite aus der Bergpredigt, verschiedene Sachen.” At that moment he had a split-lp in mind. The Aguirre music  - “that was very well received” Fricke adds - on one side and music inspired on ‘Der Bergpredigt’ on the other. It became however two separate albums: ‘Seligpreisung’ and ‘Aguirre’.

Considering the tracklist it is not unlikely Popol Vuh nor the recordlabel had the release of a soundtrack in mind. It is plausible it is an ad hoc selection. Both ‘Morgengruss II’ and ‘Agnus Dei’ were recorded after the film was completed. The lenghty Moog-piece ‘Vergegenwärtigung’ on side 2 has no reference to the film.  


In two scenes in the movie a Peruvian musician plays a tune on a panpipe. In his book ‘Aguirre, Wrath of God’ (BFI, 2016) Eric Ames writes concerning this tune: “The uncredited tune comes from ‘Cholitas Puenas’, a traditional Peruvian song as arranged by Moises Vivanco and sung by Yma Sumac since the 1950s. When the source was brought to his attention, several years after the film’s release, Herzog claimed ignorance, requested permission and paid for the rights to use it”(p.93). This is in line with my findings at the Deutsche Kinemathek (Werner Herzog Archive). In a letter dated March, 16th 1976, GEMA reported to Herzog: “Anlässlich der Vorführung in einem Madriater Lichtspieltheater hat der Spanische Komponist Moises Vivanco mit absoluter Sicherheit feststellen können, dass sein Werk ‘Dance of the moon Festival’(Cholitas Puenas) mehrmals zu gehör erlangt.” In his answer of March 20th, 1976 Herzog explains that they met the panpipe player at the marketplace of the Peruvian city Cusco. He was asked to improvise a melody for a specific scene in the movie. Herzog had no idea he was paraphrasing an existing composition and agreed on paying the rights.

On both the Italian as well as the French edition, the panpipe-theme is integrated as a coda to ‘Aguirre 1’.

Collaboration Werner Herzog – Florian Fricke

Next some quotes that illustrate the collaboration between the two.

First a quote from: 'Werner Herzog in Bamberg - Protokoll einer Diskussion 14./15. Dezember 1985" (Herausgegeben und eingeleitet von Andreas Rost, Bamberger Studien zur Kunstgeschichte und Denkmalpflege, p.154-156):

Frage (Robert Gerlach); Ich hätte noch eine Frage zur Musik. Sie nehmen meinetwegen im Film immer verschiedene Drehorte, nur als Beispiel, aber in der Musik sehe ich eine gewisse Konstanz, also es taucht ja häufig die Gruppe ‘Popol Vuh’ auf. Da wurde mich zum einen interessieren, warum immer ausgerechnet die Gruppe, die ja eigentlich inzwischen gar nicht mehr so aktuell ist, und dann, inwieweit durch die Musik so eine gewisse Konstanz in den Film kommt, die meiner Meinung nach zum Teil auch unpassend an manchen Stellen ist – z.B., wie wir vorhin gesehen haben, in HERZ AUS GLAS, wo die Landschaftsbilder, in denen Hias den Berg runterging, von dieser leicht fröhliche Musik meiner Meinung nach zerstört werden.

Herzog: Das empfinde ich nicht so. Eigenltich eher ganz anders. Zu dieser Gruppe ’Popol Vuh’: das hat mich nie interessiert, ob die gängig ist oder nicht, das ist ja im Grunde eh nur einer person, der Florian Fricke. Ich habe mit ihn gearbeitet, weil ich mich da sehr gut habe verständlich machen können, was eigentlich die Musik sein sollte, und da sind ja auch sehr schöne Sachen immer wiedergekommen. Ich glaube, das ist nur deswegen ausgewählt , weil für meine Begriffe und meinem Empfinden nach die Musik eben dort fast ideal ist. Ich könnte mir eigentlich gar nichts anderes dafür vorstellen. Vieles ist auch nach einer bereits vorhandenen Musik gemacht worden, da hat es also Musik gegeben, und danach sind sozusagen die Bilder organisiert worden, d.h. der Schnitt nach der Musik. Ich kann nur grundsätzlich sagen, ob die Musik jetzt da paßt oder nicht, darüber läßt sich überhaupt nicht argumentieren. Ich nehme nur zur Kenntnis, dass Sie es nicht als passend empfinden an dieser Stelle; ich kann nur sagen, ich empfinge es richtig. Ich selber kann mir gar nichts anderes vorstellen. Es ist im übrigen auch sehr viel rumprobiert worden. Es kommen auch Musiken vor bei mir, wo ich niemals gedacht hätte, daß sie je in einen Film hineinpassen würden. Und trotzdem passen sie auf einmal.

Frage (Robert Gerlach): Aber dass so eine Musik jetzt etwas Bestimmtes signalisiert, z.B. bei Aguirre und beim Bildschnitt zu Steiner, da wird, glaube ich, teilweise dasselbe Musikstück verwendet, wenn ich mich nicht irre. Herzog: Das kann sein, ja. Ich glaube ja, daß es an einer Stelle mal sowas gibt. Fragender: Ist das Zufall, oder...?

Herzog: Das ist in dem Fall Zufall, weil wir alles mögliche durchprobiert haben und zufälligerweise lag noch irgendeine Rolle von Musik auf Perfo-Tonband von Aguirre herum, und ich habe gesagt: “Probieren wir doch mal alles von da durch, da war doch irgendsowas.” Und auf einmal hat das unheimlich gut gepaßt. Also das ist sehr oft einfach eine Rumtasterei, wie Arbeit in einem Schneideraum halt funktioniert. Gerade zufälligerweise ist noch ein ungelöschtes Stück von einer solchen Musik da, und man probiert es einfach aus, im Verlauf von 20 andere Musiken, die man auch durchprobiert hat. “

Keyboards: Filmmusik, so wird gesagt, ist immer dann am besten, wenn man die vom Film gelöst wird, gar nicht erkennt. Wie sah konkret eure Zusammenarbeit im Einzelnen aus?

Florian Fricke: Das war seht ununterschiedlich. Das einzige, was immer geleich war, war die Terminnot. Wie viele andere Regisseure auch, kam Herzog strets kurz vor Torschluiss, wenn die Kinotermine schon gebucht waren, and und sagte: >Jetzt muss ganz schnell die Filmmusik gemacht  werden=. So waren das sehr intensive, weil unteer hohem Druck entstandene Produktionen.
Andererseits kam er auch gelegentlich und sagte: 'Florian, mach deine Kiste auf und spiel mir vor, was du an neuer Musik hast'. Das war zum beispiel bei 'Fitzcaraldo' so. Die Musik wurde nicht speziell für den Film gemacht, sondern war bereits auf der Platte, 'Sei still, denn ich bin' veröffenlicht  worden. Herzog fischte sie aus meiner Kiste, hob den Zeigefinger und sagte: 'Diese Musik will ich Haben!'
Die Arbeit mit Herzog war für mich immer interessant, weil ich in ihm einen ausserordentlich schöpferischen Menschen mit enormem Arbiets-Ethos kennengelernt habe, der beim Drehen immer für eine Überraschung gut war
. (p.22-24)

Werner Herzog has not uttered himself very often about his collaboration with Fricke. But here are some quotes that illustrate the importance of Fricke for Herzog:

"Florian was always able to create music I feel helps audiences visualize something hidden in the images on the screen, and in our own souls too." [ Herzog on Herzog, p.256]

Werner Herzog: The music in my films is also very much neglected, if I may interrupt you, in Germany as well. Since AGUIRRE, my friend Florian Fricke, has done the music for almost all my films - for STEINER, for LA SOUFRIERE, for STROSZEK, and for HEART OF GLASS - and I've tried to push very hard so that he would be given the National Film Award this year. They've never given it to him, and there has been complete neglect of his work. Not even a single mention! And this year they just by-passed him once again! [From: Images at the Horizon]

Herzog mistakenly mentions La Souffriere and Stroszek here, and forgets 'Auch Zwerge' and 'Nosferatu' .

From a dialogue between Jonathan Demme and Werner Herzorg on june 5, 2008 - celebrating the launch of Moving Image Source, a museum website devoted to he history of film, television and digital media - we learn:

Demme: That reminds me about Aguirre, and a question. Popol Vuh, who was credited with the score of a number of your films around that periodCCI know there are roots to this nameCCis that a band?

Herzog: Yes, a band which was basically one person, Florian Fricke, who unfortunately died three years ago. [He was] a close friend of mine who was a prodigy as a piano player, but had to give up a very promising career because he had inflamed ligaments, and became a composer. He named his group - which was mostly him, because he played many instruments parallel, and recorded it on parallel tracks, and a few other musicians - he named it after the sacred text of the Kaqchikel Maya Indians, the Popol Vuh, the book of - Buch des Gottes [Book of the Gods] - well, I can't translate it right now. It's one of the very, very beautiful and important texts for me, and I gave it to him to read. Actually Lotte Eisner, the great film historian, reads some of Popol Vuh as a text for Fata Morgana (1971). That's the context. Popol Vuh comes from this book, which was very important for me; I kept reading and re-reading it, and gave it to him; and he named the group Popol Vuh. We had a very, very fine rapport about music, and he was very important for me. Then later on, after about ten or twelve years of collaboration, we slowly drifted apart because he was moving very much into a pseudo-culture of "new age," which I can not stand at all. (Laughter) I still loved him, but I moved into some sort of a different direction. The style of his music was more and more influenced by a babble of pseudo-philosophy. So that was the reason why our collaboration drifted apart; we stayed friends until he died.( From: movingimagesource )

For the booklet included in the SPV-reediitons Werner Herzog wrote a short In Memoriam:

In Memoriam Florian Fricke

Jokingly, we often said that he must never grow old, he who looked like a youth as we know them only from ancient Greek statues. Now he is with us no longer, and it=s like a tear right through the heart that Florian Fricke died much too soon. To me, Klaus Kinski was myu dearst enemy, my best feiend so to speak, but Florian Fricke kept the balance, he knew a safe way across the abyss: when it came to creative work, he was my dearst friend.

And yet - regardless of outward appearance - he was a highly complex being, inticately spun and vulnerable, like a spider=s web. In reality, he was a poet first and a musician second, a composer. His feel for the >inner=narrative of a cinematic story was infallible., and his music had the ability to change our perspective as onlookers, even though a picture always remains the same projection of light in the cinema. He made visible what would otherwise have remained mysterious and forever hidden in the images. What is more, he had a talent for compising music that created whole new spaces, in concrete terms: landscapes that gain an unknown dimension which would not be accessible otherwise.

Only recently I came across a wonderful piece of music by him, which I had the privilige to use in a new film - grand orchestra, choir, and among the choir also his voice. I hear it sounding so clear and isolated as if he was the only singer, as if he were standing next to me.

Deeply moved, I tried to persuade myself it was only a rumour that Florian is no longer on this planet, but then a strange certainty prevailed: in a way he is till among us, with his voice, his music - albeit hidden, distant. He has not truly left us.

Werner Herzog

In an  interview by Jason Gross for online music magazine Perfect Sound Forever (august 2013) Bettina von Waldthausen reflects:

PSF: Could you talk about Florian's working relationship with Werner Herzog? How did they get along? How would Florian figure out what was the right music for the movie soundtracks? Did he have a particular favorite?

BW: There is so much written about Werner and Florian's collaboration that there is not really much to add. They were friends from youth and both very opposite strong characters, each of them a magician. Werner with his beautiful unique archetypical movie/pictures, Florian with his unique magical sound. As far as I remember, Werner came into Florian's studio to listen to the latest recordings, and most of the time he found soon what he was looking for. In some cases, like for instance Cobra Verde, music had to be completed afterwards. But most of the time, the tracks were already there, before the film was done. I don't think, he had a particular favorite. You go with the path. When the work is done, you take the next step on your inner path. He only listened to the recordings- that he was just working with - for hours, day and night.


Die Zusammenarbeit von Werner Herzog und Florian Fricke beruht nicht weinig auch auf einer geistigen Nähe: Werner is früher auch immer an interessanten exten interessiert gewesen, z.B. auch an den ‘Popol Vuh’-Texten, den Wechselreden von christlichen Geistlichen und indianischen Priestern aus Guatemala. Das sind unglaubliche Texte, auf denen unter anderem die innere Verwandtschaft zwischen uns beruht. Unsere Zusammenarbeit harmoniert auch deshalb, weil ich seine Filme mag. Man muß den Film mögen. Werner sagt: “Um das Projekt muß ein heiliger Bezirk sein.” Da sind wir uns sehr nahe. Dann kann man die Arbeit beseelen. Man muß überzeugt sein. Das bin ich von Werner Herzogs Sachen.s istfür mich schön, für ihn Musik zu machen. Die Identität zwischen uns, die kommt vom inneren Verständnis her. Wir brauchen uns deshalb nie groß  und langwierig abzusprechen. Für Werner ist es wichtig, daß man ganz genau versteht, was er in dem Film sagen will. Dann gibt es höchstens kleine Strukturhinweise von ihm; z.B. mag er keinen Rhythmus, nur Zeitloses, - das ist für mich dann ein Anhalt. Da ich aber selbst zeitlos komponiere und kein anderes Interesse habe, trifft sich das sowieso.”

Florian Fricke komponiert seine Musik weit weiniger als andere Komponisten nach bestimmten Längen oder für bestimmte Stellen des Films. Oft wird auch bereits komponierte und auf Schallplatten bestehende Musik genommen: “Da kommt Werner manchmal auch einfach an und sagt: ‘mach deine Kiste auf!’ Dann hört er  sich meine Musik an und läßt sich inspirieren, schon während er am Drehbuch schreibt. Er meinte mal, ich wäre immer zwei Schritte voran. Es hat sich auch schon ergeben, daß nach einem Musikstück eine Szene entworfen wurde. Ein Musikstück, das zum Beispiel unabhängig vom Film von mir schon vorher auf Platte produziert war, war das Gitarrenthema (das Thema von Lucie und Jonathan) in ‘Nosferatu’. Die Platte hieß ‘Brüder des Schattens, Himmel des Lichts’ und enstand, als ich aus dem Himalaja zurückkam, gut beieinander von einer langen Wanderung. Zunächst hat es mir gar nicht behagt, daß er die Musik hineingehängt hat in diesen Schauerfilm. (Angstmusik mache ich nie!) Aber sie paßt. Obwohl sie gar nicht dazu gedacht war". Vorproduziert war auch die Musik zu Herz  aus Glas.  Die wichtigen Teile daraus entstammen Florian Frickes Schallplatte Singet, denn der Gesang vertreibt die Wölfe’, die er – nachdem die Musik in Werner Herzogs Film kam – in ‘Herz aus Glas’ umbenannte. Im Studio wurden lediglich noch einige dramaturgische Versatzstücke produziert.

Daß Werner Herzog auch von seinem Komponisten Musik sehr früh bestellt, liegt daran, daß er gerne auf Musik inszeniert und nach Musik schneidet. Hierauf gründet die fantastische Symbiose von Bild und Musik in seinem Filmen. Auch speziell komponierte Musik ist nie in Grenzen gesteckt, sondern sehr offen: der Ort im Film muß erst noch genau festgelegt werden. Florian Fricke: “Wenn ich im Studio fertig bin, spiele ich ihm die Musik vor. Dann weiß er für jedes Stück, wo es hinpassen könnte. Er kennt seine Stellen. Und ich habe immer irgendwie die Musik, die er braucht. Werner hat ein großes Empfinden, wo und wie die Musik angelegt werden soll. Das hat er im Blut. So wie er die Musik anlegt, holt er auch immer das Maximale su ihr heraus.” ( (E.Schneider, Handbuch Filmmusik 1, 1986, p.193-194)

Cobra Verde

"Cobra Verde war dann 1987 die letzte große Zusammenarbeit – Werner Herzog und Florian Fricke hatten sich da bereits auseinanderentwickelt, wie Bettina von Waldthausen erzählt: “Es ist ja kein Geheimnis, dass Florian sehr viele Drogen nahm und mehr und mehr in seine transzendente Welt entschwand. Und das war genau das, was Werner nich wollte. Er hat zwar auf seine Weise auch eine metaphysische Welt erschaffen, aber die ist ganz anders. Bei ihm kommt sie aus dem tiefen Unbewussten, und bei Florian entstand sie sehr bewusst aus der Beschäftigung mit dem Spirituellen. Werner entdeckte bisweilen auf der Erde den Himmel, und Florian hollte immer den Himmel auf die Erde herunter. So funktionierte das bei den beiden. Sie kamen von zwei Seiten. Lange Zeit passte das gut zusammen, sie waren sich ebengebürtig – am Ende sind sie sich aber ein bisschen fremd geworden. Sie waren Freunde und auch wieder nicht. Als Florian 2001 starb, war Werner zufällig in München, er kam sofort vorbei, war sehr, sehr betroffen – udn hat einen wunderbaren Nachruf auf Florian geschrieben. Da hatte ich dann wieder nicht das Gefühl, dass sich da was auseinandergelebt hatte.” (Moritz Holfelder, Werner Herzog - die Biographie, 2012, p.119-120)

Lees meer …Film music




Popol Vuh rarely performed live. Why was that? In a short interview dating from 1981 we read:

"Popol Vuh don’t play live. Florian feels that it would not be possible to sustain the kind of intensity that the music would require. For short periods yes, but not for a full concert. Touring would take up too much time; writing, recording, film making and his family are more important” (Neumusic)

In an interview from 1995 Fricke adds another argument:

I/e: We see very little of you when it comes to live performances. Does it just seem that way, of is there a reason?
Florian Fricke: No, that’s quite right. Our last live concert was four years ago. But that doesn’t mean that we might not suddenly play live again. The reason for not playing has to do with the life of the people that make up such a group (i/e Magazine).

So apart from several more or less practical reasons for not doing so, it seems above all that is for musical reasons that they didn’t often climb the stage. Namely, that it would be impossible to create the necessary intensity that the music requires. As far as we can conclude from these two short quotes.....

Alas the question remains unanswered what audience Popol Vuh wanted, and what contact? Also, considering the religious nature of their music, one could ask what Popol Vuh considered as the ideal context for their music. We go more deeply into this question in the ‘Religious music’- section of our enquiries.

Below we try to reconstruct an overview of their rare live appereances.


Popol Vuh did play live a few times during their Moog-period:

Florian Fricke: “Doch als ich das Instrument besser kannte und mit seinen Fehlern umzugehen lernte, traute ich mich sogar, damit auch einige live-auftritte zu bestreiten” (Keyboards, p.18)
One of them is their appereance for the Beatclub on april 24th, 1971 (‘Bettina’).

Sounds, december 1970


Popul Vuh  hat die Plattenfirma gewechselt, sie gingen von Liberty zu Pilz. („Pilz‘ ist übrigens ein neues Label, mit dem sich die Plattenproduzenten Peter Meisel und Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser selber konkurrenz machen wollen für ihr ‚Ohr‘-Label). Popul Vuh’s neue LP ist evenfalls bereits fertiggestellt. Popul Vuh’s Synthesizer-Mann Florian Fricke hat interesse an der Berliner Gruppe Ashra Temple gezeigt, er möchte gerne mit ihnen gemeinsam Konzerte geben.

Sounds, nr.35, january 1972


There exists a tape called ‘Radiosession of Seligpreisung’, also called ‘Baumburg Kirche Tapes’ that is followed by an interview with Florian Fricke, dating from 1973. Could be a live rehearsal. We hear no public on the tape. The article 'Popol Vuh: Ihre Musik ist eine Kirche' (Bravo, 1973) speaks of a performance of 'Seligpreisung' in the church of Baumburg in the summer of 1973, visited by the journalist and a few others. Maybe the recording was made on this occasion.


In an interview conducted by Gerhard Augustin in 1996, speaking of the ‘Hosianna Mantra’-periode, Augustin asks:

Gerhard Augustin: Did you, Conny Veit and Djong Yun ever perform as a band, publicly?
Florian Fricke: Yes we did, actually, in Lieberkosen and Munich.
In the same interview, Fricke makes another reference on touring by Popol Vuh:

Gerhard Augustin: I have a feeling that EINSJAEGER & SIEBENJAEGER and DAS HOHELIED SALOMOS were recorded in the same studio, and at the same time.
Florian Fricke: No, they were not recorded at the same time. Quite to the contrary. I think we made DAS HOHELIED SALOMOS one year later, after EINSJAEGER & SIEBENJAEGER. In between there were studio dates and recording dates and tours. There were a lot of things happening. So it was not really at the same time.

The concert in Munich took place on may 26th, in a theater in the Brienner Strasse. Popol Vuh played as a trio: Djong Yun, Daniel Fichelscher and Florian Fricke.
See: 'Schlachten mit Musik', (AZ, 1974) & 'Studiomusik auf der Bühne'(SZ, 1974)


Blatt, nr.23, 1974   /  Ticket  / Announcement in SZ, 1974-05-24 :

“In autumn 1974 Popol Vuh went on an Italian tour along with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, it was obvious quite succesful as most of their albums were subsequently released by PDU in Italy.” (Audion, 1988)
“Nell’autunno 1974 i popol Vuh sono in tournee giusto in Italia con l’Orchestra Filarmonica di Monaco, e sul momentaneo successo gioca la PDU ristampando la sequenza dei precedenti album.” (Melodie e Dissonanze, 1992)


“In autumn 1974 Popol Vuh went on an Italian tour along with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, it was obvious quite succesful as most of their albums were subsequently released by PDU in Italy.” (Audion, 1988)
“Nell’autunno 1974 i popol Vuh sono in tournee giusto in Italia con l’Orchestra Filarmonica di Monaco, e sul momentaneo successo gioca la PDU ristampando la sequenza dei precedenti album.” (Melodie e Dissonanze, 1992)


In 1975 they visited again Italy for a concert at the University ‘La Statale’ of Milan. The concert was promoted by the 'Gong' magazine (a magazine about progressive-experimental rock), after R.U. Kaiser established an agreement with the PDU label for licensing the Ohr/Pilz/DKK records in Italy.

From: Re Nudo, nr.35, 1975

The concert was opened by a very young Roberto Cacciapaglia, who played a part of 'Sonanze'. For this occasion Popol Vuh consisted of: Florian Fricke (piano and voice), Daniel Fichelscher (guitars) and Renate Knaup (vocals and percussion).
There exists a tape/bootleg from this concert.
According to Enrico Bassi the bootleg has the following playlist:

1. Steh Auf, Zieh Mich dir Nach (voc. Renate Knaup)
2. Improvisation (instrumental)
3. Inedito (voc. Florian Fricke)
4. Agnus Dei "alternative version" (voc. Florian Fricke)
5. Hosianna Mantra (voc. Renate Knaup + Florian Fricke)
6. Letzte Tage - Letzte Nachte (voc. Renate Knaup)
7. Improvisation (voc. Renate Knaup + Florian Fricke)
8. Kyrie (voc. Renate Knaup)
9. In Deine Hände (voc. Renate Knaup + Florian Fricke)
10. Hosianna Mantra reprise + improvisation (voc. Renate Knaup)

- Listen: Youtube (first 14 minutes are Roberto Cacciapaglia)


In an advertisement for ‘Letzte Tage, Letzte Nächte’ by United Artits in Sounds, nr.4, 1976 we read:

“Deutsche Space-Rock-Gruppe der internationalen Spitzenklasse. Beweise sind nicht nur die Erfolgstour durch Frankreich oder der Sensationsauftritt in Mailand oder das geplante ‘Olympia’- Debüt in Paris, sondern auch ihre neue LP.”
Referred is to the concert in Milan in 1975. No information is known to me that confirms that the concert in Paris took place.


In an advertisement for ‘Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts’ by Brain Records we read:

“Bald auf Tournee!”
'Soon in concert’. Did this ever happen?


"Florian Fricke (Popol Vuh) spricht am Samstag beim Komponistenforum im Freien Musikzentrum über die "Strukturen der Schöpfung in die Musik" anschliessend gibt es eine Performance (Gesang für Körperräume) mit dem Publikum" (SZ, 19.7.1986)


In 1986 the Ladakh Ecological Development Group (India) received the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize'. This project was started by Helena Norberg-Hodge in 1978.
With his love for Tibet, Florian Fricke organized a concert by Popol Vuh at the Bamberger Haus in Munich (March 6). Helena Norberg-Hodge gave a lecture and Florian was playing that evening with Daniel Fichelscher and Renate Knaup.(See: SZ, 5.3.1987)

In the ‘Cicaca Newsletter’of september 1987 Cicada Records announces the release of ‘Der Gesang der Engel’ and makes reference to this concert:

"Florian Fricke & Co are now recording a brand new album entitled ‘Der Gesang der Engel’. This time with a classical trained vocalist and Fairlight synth to create the magical choir. A part of the album will be used by Werner Herzog in his new movie ‘Cobra Verde’. This title and other Popol Vuh titles will be issued bu Cicada on cd. It might also surprise you that Popol Vuh recently played live in Munich."
In an interview by Laycock in 1989, Fricke refers to this concert in Munich:

Ian Laycock: You are still actively involved in music, then?
Florian Fricke:I do the albums and film music and occasional concerts from time to time....
Ian Laycock: I didn't know you played live!
Florian Fricke: Occasionally!
Ian Laycock: Where, then?
Florian Fricke: The last one was two years ago in Munich for a benefit concert for Ladakh, for a development fund to try to alter some of the bad effects of previous aid. Against all the concrete and such like being introduced. On the other side of that, it's difficult to get out that same sound that we can really watch over in the studio. So I'm really no fanatic for playing live!
Ian Laycock: Was it solo?
Florian Fricke : Daniel Fichelscher (ex-Amon Düül II) on guitar - he has such a big heart that man! - and we worked with an assortment of female singers, but I suppose that you would say that the core is Daniel and myself. When I've composed the things, then he's the next one that I play them with. I love working with him - a spiritual man!
(Audion, 1996)


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 1987-03-05: 


In 1998 Popol Vuh gave acte de présence on the Italian Time Zones Festival, where they performed their multimedia project ‘Messa di Orfeo’ in the labyrinth of Molfetta (Bari) on september 20th.
The recording was released as ‘Messa di Orfeo’ by Spalax (14562).

As live appearances of Popol Vuh were rare, reviews of their concerts even more. But from their Molfetta concert there exists one:

Harmonic Hummmmbug
For the past 13 years, the Italian seaport of Bari has been the venue for Time Zones, a festival of music and performance.
Arsalan Mohammad watched Krautrock veterans Popul Vuh try their hands at a little mass hallucination.
Under the patronage of soundtrack superstar Ennio Morricone, Bari's Time Zones Festival specialises in bizarre juxtapositions of music and environments. Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Nico, Fela Kuti, John Zorn, Peter Hammill, Einstürzende Neubauten and David Sylvian have all played here. Run by a small team of local people, Time Zones always provokes unusual responses from performers and audience. None more so than from Popul Vuh, that legend of seventies German music.
Popul Vuh - which comprises Florian Fricke and Frank Fiedler - elected to play in the unlikely setting of Molfetta, a tiny fishing village dominated by a grand Byzantine church in the middle of a maze of cobbled streets. This was to be the site for a giant installation.
Good Rooms One To Five is based on the notion that twentieth-century human beings have lost the ability to access the "hallucinatory centres of the brain". These centres respond to certain specific frequencies (between 2000 and 5000 hz). According to Fricke, a scientist at Princeton University discovered that the sounds of bees and cicadas chirping and buzzing can stimulate these hallucinatory centres. The idea of doing a multimedia event came from Fricke's visit to a Munich installation by London's multimedia group Antirom. Concluding that this was "too cool", he decided to give it a go himself.

Since the early Moog-powered days of Popol Vuh, Fricke has been concerned with the effect of sound on perception. Popol Vuh's work from the mid-70s, especially their Werner Herzog soundtracks, saw Fricke combining these interests with a deeply spiritual sensibility. He led Popul Vuh on an erratic and unpredictable career, which included the dubious distinction of inventing New Age music. Vuh's second album In The Garden Of the Pharaohs (1970), predicts the whole ambient genre that Brian Eno went on to define with Here Come The Warm Jets. The Good Rooms project is a continuation of Fricke's exploration of the senses. "Music" he says, "is for me the means of realistically approaching Utopia".
So that evening, the streets of Molfetta were bathed in red and blue light. Above our heads televisions were suspended in wooden scaffolds between the buildings. Lining the route were small speakers emitting insect noises. The main square was bathed in huge projections of honeycombs, larvae and a detail from an ancient Greek fresco depicting Orpheus. In a smaller courtyard, around 50 people stood in a circle holding hands. In the middle, arms aloft, was Florian, his eyes closed. Slowly, he brought his arms down, breathing out. In a low hum, the choir followed him: "HHHHHHMMMMMMMNNN NNNNN". After a few seconds pause, he lifted his hands skywards again."BBBBBBZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ!"

As people crammed in to have a look, any intentions Florian may have had of creating a spiritually uplifting atmosphere were lost in shouts, laughter and a general movement towards the harbourside bar.

Completely unfazed by this lukewarm response, Popul Vuh are looking forward to continuing their installation work. They plan to cover a Neapolitan cathedral floor with broken glass, steel, concrete and water, then to throw a thousand silver Euros onto the audience from the ceiling. "The Church will be very angry when they hear this," laughs Florian. "This is not just Good Room. It is to be called The Tears Of The Enlightened".

Arsalan Mohammad”

See also:


One year later Popol Vuh gave a reprise of ‘Messa di Orfeo’ at a festival in Fano (Italy), organized by Franco Battiato:

Marche Musica Contemporanea
Festival diretto da Franco Battiato
IV edizione
San Benedetto del Tronto, 7 - 10 luglio 1999
Fano, 11 - 31 luglio 1999

Giovedý 15 luglio
Fano, Rocca Malatestiana

Concerto - installazione per musiche e immagini
produzione del festival

con Florian Fricke (piano) & Popol Vuh in concerto
e con Frank Fiedler e Guillermina De Gennaro (immagini e installazioni)
Ha sempre guardato curiosa verso tanti orizzonti la musica di Florian Fricke. E il suo piano ha trovato assolutamente naturale diventare ogni volta la voce di un popolo nuovo, tendere un filo rosso che ricerca e riannoda ponti sonori con il passato. E ancora, non è certo un caso se il suo gruppo ha scelto di chiamarsi Popol Vuh, come il nome che i Maya davano al libro dei Morti, per lasciare traccia del loro passaggio terreno. Padre del rock religioso, Florian Fricke ha battuto sul tempo di almeno vent’anni la nascita di ogni new age con il respiro cosmico che la sua musica raggiunge fin da Hosianna Mantra (1972), un album dove il suono galleggia miracolosamente in equilibrio fra canti gregoriani, fachiri e soprano in trance, in un’ atmosfera sognante e cristallina. Da allora Fricke ha attraversato l’ universo del rock sovvertendone deliberatamente le ispirazioni più ortodosse, senza paura di alludere di volta in volta al folk indiano, di citare la magniloquenza della liturgia gregoriana, di ricostruire le raffinate architetture delle suite barocche, o la leggerezza della musica del Rinascimento. Contemporaneamente a questo viaggio musicale fra presente e passato, Fricke ha attraversato trasversalmente anche il mondo dell’arte, ricercando per la sua musica sempre nuovi continui incontri. Il più felice di tutti quello con il regista Werner Herzog, che dal 1972 lo vuole al suo fianco, assieme ai Popol Vuh, come autore delle colonne sonore di tanti suoi film - basti per tutte ricordare la partitura per il Nosferatu che Fricke intitolò ’Fratelli delle ombre - figli della luce’ - e perfino in piccoli ruoli cameo, come nel capolavoro Aguirre furore di Dio.

Fano, Teatro della Fortuna, piazza XX settembre

Lees meer …Live

Unfinished Projects



From several sources we know about projects that were never finished or took another direction:

1. 'HIOB'

'Beatclub' was the first programm on German television bringing Anglo-American popmusic to the public (1965-1972).
Later on also German bands were included. Popol Vuh was on of them and appeared in Beatclub 66 on april 24th 1971 with the piece ‘Bettina’.
Most groups however recorded more songs then there were broadcasted.
They are listed in the book ‘Beat-Club - alle Sendungen alle Stars alle Hits’ (2005).
It makes mentioning of one Popol Vuh-piece that never came to the surface: ‘Hiob’
("BC 64 2/27/1971 Popol Vuh Hiob")


"Florian’s next project, which will take about a year to complete, is to be what he calls his ‘Opera’. He hopes to be able to make the film in Greece, and he may even use Greek singers on the soundtrack". (Neumusik)


LP: Cicada C 011 - 1988

"Florian Fricke & Co are now recording a brand new album entitled 'Der Gesang der Engel'. This time with a classical trained vocalist and Fairlight synth to create the magical choir. A part of the album will be used by Werner Herzog in his new movie 'Cobra Verde'. This title and other Popol Vuh titles will be issued by Cicada on cd".

It might also surprise you that Popol Vuh recently played live in Munich and that's it." (Cicada Records Newsletter)

“Der Gesang der Engel which was scheduled for release on Cicada has been postponed and quite likely be issued with a new title. What happened was that Popol Vuh became so involved with the Herzog soundtrack music that they recorded a soundtrack album for Milan instead of a new studio album.” (Cicada Records Newsletter 1)


I/e: How does the future of Popol Vuh look? Can we look forward to a few more cds?

Florian Fricke: Yes, we’re currently working on a new CD, and the production of a video with music based on pieces from the last few years. The film takes place in Greece, Asia and similar places. It’s about the confrontation of a very ancient world with a very modern one. We hope that this modern world will recognize itself in the mirror image of the ancient world. The current working title is Leuchtende Gärten (“Glowing Gardens”). I’m directing it with Frank Fiedler, a filmmaker who’s been a member of Popol Vuh for many years. It’ll be about fifty minutes long.(i/e Magazine)


“....zudem arbeitet Fricke derzeit mit dem Ex-DAF-Mitstreiter Robert Görl an, so Fricke, “Einer Art Ambient-Symphonie”. (Fachblatt Musik Magazin)


In che direzione si muove il futuro dei Popol Vuh?
Florian Fricke: “Pensando al mito di Prometeo ci sta venendo in testa uno strano lavoro su luce e musica; la vacultà delle luci che ci brillano di fronte agli occhi, il brillio della merce che si fa desiderare pur accecandoci, non è vera. Ci piacerebbe rappresentare questi bagliori in musica e viceversa dare luce ai suoni. C`è una luce molto forte che quasi non riusciamo a vedere, e, dentro di noi, ci sono dei ‘giardini pleni di luce’ ”.(La Gazzetta di Bari)


“Florian completed a new album just before his death. I have a pre-release of it and it is simply called "Piano Music", no track titles but apparently they do exist. It is absolutely beautiful music! His wife tells me that she expect to release it in the summer of this year.

Florian did release another album in the late nineties, this was called Mesa di Ora (i think) and was a recording of a live concert held to open a new cultural center in Italy.
Sadly, Florian was treated less than fairly by most of the record companies he dealt with during his long career and the market for his music was poorly served. I understand that his son will take the bull by the horns as soon as he has sorted out the legalities surrounding Florian's work. To my knowledge there is a Video shot in Tibet with Florian's music as the back drop that has not been released and there is also some interpretations of Bach that have also never seen the light of day”. 
-- Brian Williams, March 07, 2002


Lees meer …Unfinished Projects

The Moog





How did Fricke get acquainted with the Moog synthesizer? And what did he expect from this instrument. Sources below give the following picture:

1) Florian Fricke in Twen (1971):

Florian Fricke: “Ich studierte seit meinem 14. Lebensjahr Musik bei Rudolph Hindemith und an der Freiburger Musikhochschule. Mit 19 Jahre habe ich damit aufgehört. Ich hatte keine Lust mehr, überhaupt etwas anderes zu tun, als erstmal wieder zu leben.
Mit 25 Jahren dachte ich, ich hatte eine Menge gesehen, gehört und gefühlt, ich wollte es vermitteln. Zu dieser Zeit beschäftigte ich mich mit dem Gedanken, ein Elektronium von Hohner umzubauen; ich erfuhr in diesem Zusammenhang von dem MOOG-Synthesizer. Vier Monate danach hatte ich ihn vor mir stehen. Zunächst habe ich mich Tag und Nacht damit beschäftigt. Ich habe in dieser Zeit praktisch nie aufgehört, über diese Materie nachzudenken. (So etwas wie Anleitungen gibt es nicht).
Nach ungefähr drei Monaten war ich an dem Punkt angelangt, wo das Lernen aus dem Spielen, dem Musikmachen kam. Während dieser Zeit besuchten mich eine Menge interessierter Leute und Musiker. Holger und Frank waren die irrsten Typen darunter. Wir beschlossen zusammenzuarbeiten.
Die Arbeit an unserer ersten Platte Affenstunde war sehr schön, sie entstand aus dem Leben, aus unseren Gesprächen. Wir haben nie geprobt, nahezu alles auf ´Affenstunde´ ist in einem einzigen Live Vorgang gespielt.”

Here Fricke states he was first thinking of using the Elektronium by Hohner. How did Fricke know of this rarely used electronic instrument? This obscure electronic instrument was used by Stockhausen, for example for his work 'Kurzwellen'. Fricke reviewed a performance of this work for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 6th, 1968.

2) Florian Fricke interviewed by Gerhard Augustin (

Gerhard Augustin: Now, tell us about your gigantic Moog Synthesizer III, the system of the late 60s, which was only used by very few musicians. What sort of ideas did you try to express with the electronics of the Moog synthesizer?

Florian Fricke: It was a great fascination to encounter sounds that were until those days not heard before from the outside. It was the possibility to express sounds that a composer was hearing from within himself, which in many cases are different from what a normal instrument could express. Therefore, this was a fantastic way into my inside consciousness, to express what I was hearing within myself.

3) Robertson in a meeting with Florian Fricke for the English magazine Sounds (1981):

The breakthrough came when Florian had a short spell playing the Moog synthesizer keyboard for technocrat boundaryhopper Eberhard Schoener, who has worked with such mundane heroes of our time as Sting and Deep Purple. Fascinated by the then-fresh electronic possibilities the Moog offered, Fricke determined to acquire one himself.

"It was the second one in Germany", he assures me as he attacks a massive plate of sausages and onion".

4) In a interview for Keyboards (1993) Fricke explains:

Keyboards: Du hast Ende der 60er, Anfang der 70er Jahre angefangen, als einer der ersten hierzulande den legendären Moog-Synthesizer zu er- und zu bearbeiten, und das zu einer Zeit, als ‘Elektronik’ auf dem Pop/Rock-Sektor gleichbedeutend mit ‘Exotik’ war. Wie bist du da damals reingerutscht, wie hast du das als klassisch ausgebildete Musiker empfunden?

Florian Fricke: ich war auf diversen Musikhochschulen in Freiburg und München, wo ich Komposition und Klavier studiert habe. In gewisser Weise hat es mich schon immer zum Komponieren hingezogen, und als ich dann bei Eberhard Schoener die Gelegenheit hatte, einen der ersten Moog-Synthesizer in Deutschland kennenzulernen, hatte ich gleich das Gefühl, dass dies genau mein Ding ist.

Ich war so fasziniert von dem monströsen Apparat, dass ich mich daran machte, Geldgeber zu finden, die einen solchen Apparat zu meiner Verwendung kauften. Damals gab es in ganz Europa drei, höchstens vier Exemplare dieser superteuren Wundermaschine. Das war der äussere Weg zum Moog. Hinzu kam, dass dieser Ur-Moog Klangwelten beinhaltete, die mich unglaublich faszinierten, weil da Klänge waren, die ich noch nie gehört hatte. Ein Komponist lebt immer mit irgendeiner Klangvorstellung, wenn er komponiert, und die Klangvorstellung dieses Instruments waren damals völlig überraschend. Nicht nur, weil sie neu waren. Es gab ja vorher auch schon Elektronik, aber die wurde im Studio geschnitten und gebastelt. Und hier war jetzt ein Instrument, auf dem man richtig spielen konnte.

Keyboards: Dieser erste Moog, heute längst eine Legende, war ein riesiger, schwer handhabbarer Apparat mit unzähligen Steckverbindungen und Modulen. Was hast du für Erinnerungen an die Arbeit damit?

Florian Fricke: ja, dieser erste Moog hatte so seine Tücken. Er war natürlich in keiner Weise so stabil wie heutige elektronische Apparate. Die Sounds waren auch nicht direkt abrufbar, wie das heute der Fall ist. Man musste sich vielmehr immer wieder aufs Neue zu diesen Klangwelten hingeben, sie immer wieder neu erarbeiten. Zudem reagierte dieses Instrument auf die Kleinste Stromschwankung mit Tonhöhenänderungen - das war ein Spiel wie auf Rollschuhen. Doch als ich das Instrument dann besser kannte und mit seinen Fehlern umzugehen lernte, traute ich mich sogar damit auch einige Live-auftritte zu bestreiten.

5) In another interview for The Sound Projector four years later (1997):

Edwin Pouncey: That first record you made, you used a huge Moog synthesizer. Was that record designed for that instrument? Was the Moog bought first, then you thought - make a Moog Sound record?

Gerhard Augustin: I should tell you the story. Before I came to United Artists in Germany I was working with UA in America and live in San Francisco, and I had worked with David Brown from Santana, on a Moog Synthesizer. So I came to Germany and I was specifically looking for someone in Germany that would have that kind of instrument. There were two people: Eberhard Schoener and Florian Fricke, who also happened to be direct neighbours out in the country. House to house! The only two people in Germany who had this very expensive instrument! A Moog Synthesizer was 65,000 Marks at the time. So I had this idea of doing an album. There was another guy - Walter Carlos...

Florian Fricke: [He did it] just before. This was a record of Bach [for the synthesizer]...

Gerhard Augustin: We wanted to make an album, to create new sounds. Because I envisioned the possibilities of that instrument on a long run. I knew that it would eventually take its place alongside other instruments, by the ability to create certain technical sounds, which until that time were not possible. That's where he (Florian) came in. We were introduced by another filmmaker who brought us together. Florian was in the process of doing this album, and it was extremely hard to find a company [to release it]. Not even my own company, when it was finished, wanted to go for it. We had to go through some strange changes! We took it to EMI in Cologne...we went to another company in Hamburg, where the artists weren't allowed to come in the office! 'You guys have to stay outside, I just want to talk to your manager'. Until today this is his most legendary album, of all the albums he did, just because it was so new, so different. It was done for the purpose of making a Moog Synthesizer [record]. At the beginning people did not accept it. Today we have had at least 55 different releases, in different countries and different labels. And other people have sampled this!

Florian Fricke: It was a fantastic journey to learn this Moog synthesizer. I didn't have any papers - there was no manual for how to run that machine! He was angry [?]...Robert Moog who invented the Moog. It was a strange beautiful journey.

Edwin Pouncey: So you were improvising on this mysterious instrument, for which you had no manual to were discovering sounds for yourself on that machine.

Florian Fricke: We have made, day and night, music! I was always playing. I was working almost around the clock. Whenever I didn't sleep, I was just experimenting, trying to find...Frank Fiedler was a very important man, especially at this time, he was there from the beginning. Later I come back to my old roots, back to the piano. I was learning piano music at high school. I was a good Mozart player.


Fricke obtained his moog somewhere in 1969. In 2002 Ingeborg Schober writes:

"Es muss im Winter 1969 gewesen sein, als ich mich einem Hügel in Miesbach näherte und schon aus der Ferne die seltsamsten Klänge aller Zeiten wahrnahm, die in ihrer Fremdartigkeit so rein und unschuldig klangen und so unberührt wirkten wie der Schnee vor diesem Bauernhaus. Dort wohnte und arbeitete der Musiker und Komponist Florian Fricke und experimentierte an einem aufregenden, gänzlich neuen Instrument, dem allerersten Moog Synthesizer, der bald darauf Einzug in vor allem deutsche Musikstuben halten sollte und die Musikwelt völlig veränderte" (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2002).

Here part of an interview with Ingeborg Schober speaking of this visit (from the dvd 'Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution', 2008). It was through Eberhard Schöner that Fricke discovered the moog. But how did Schöner came into contact with this instrument?

1) In 'Cosmic Dreams at Play' we read:

"He was the man who brought the first moog synthesizer to Germany in 1968. He experimented a lot with this instrument at the Bavaria studio in Munich and encouraged Florian Fricke to buy one. Schoener's synthesizer experiments were documented on his first three solo albums, two of which were moog adaptations of classical music in the style of Walter Carlos. The third one comprised similar adaptations of American folk and country music (!!!). "

2) From the official Eberhard-Schöner site (

"Ein neues Musikinstrument ist auf dem Markt. In USA entwickelt Bob Moog einen Synthesizer, der noch nie gehörte Klänge produzieren und Instrumente imitieren kann. Eberhard Schoener fährt nach Trumansburg, um Moog zu treffen und dort zu lernen, wie das Gerät zu benützen ist. Drei Wochen bleibt er dort. Moog hat bislang nur fünf Synthesizer in einem kleinen technischen Studio gebaut, die Warteliste ist lang, aber er will seinen Betrieb nicht vergrößern. Da schickt John Lennon seinen Moog zurück, er will erst noch die Weiterentwicklung abwarten. Eberhard Schoener kehrt mit diesem Moog nach Deutschland zurück. Die entstandene Freundschaft zu Moog hält viele Jahre. Eberhard Schoener besitzt heute noch diesen Moog Synthesizer und er funktioniert immer noch."

3) In an interview with Hermann Haring (in: Rock aus Deutschland, 1984), Schöner recalls:

"Und dann hörte ich, ‘68 oder ‘69 dieses "Switched on Bach". Ich kann mich noch ganz genau erinnern. Mich interessierte nicht diese Imitation. Mich interessierte nur im Dritten Brandenburgischen Konzert die Improvisation. Da ist von Bach vorgeschrieben, zu improvisieren. Da hat Walter Carlos damals eine für mich umwerfende neue elektrische Form entwickelt, mit einem Instrument, das ich nicht kannte, wo ich einfach sagte, das gibt’s doch gar nicht. Ich erkannte plötzlich, dass wieder Spannung möglich war und dass das etwas sein könnte, was mich interessiert. Ich bin wirklich eine Woche später nach Amerika gefahren, zu Dr.Moog.


Schoener startet Anfang der siebziger Jahre auf mehrere Schienen. In den Münchener Bavaria_Studios richtet er ein elektronisches Laboratorium ein und erhält ein Auftrag der Bundesregierung: experimentelle elektronische Musik zu komponieren und sie im Deutschen Pavillon auf der Expo ‘70, der Weltausstellung im japanischen Osaka, aufzuführen."

4) Earlier D.Hartman wrote on Eberhard Schoener in the Dutch magazine Klem (1980):

"Bei ihm zuhause stapelten sich Platten aller nur denkbaren Stilrichtungen von Pink Floyd bis Bob Dylan, und eines Tages kam noch eine Scheibe dazu, die sein Leben total verändert hat - ‘Switch on Bach’von dem US-Elektroniker Walter Carlos, der als erster Musiker mit einem Moog-Synthesizer experimentierte.

"Das waren einfach tolle neue Klänge", erklärt Schoener "und ich war völlig verrückt darauf. Da bin ich kurzentschlossen nach Amerika geflogen, um den Erfinder und Hersteller dieser elektronischen Wundermaschine ausfindig zu machen. Ich mußte einfach an diesen Moog herankommen ..."

In dem kleinen Nest Trumansbourg bei new York stieß Schoener auf Robert Moog, einen skurrilen Einstein-Typ mit dreifachen Doktor-titel, (in Musik, Physik und Hochfrequenstechnik), der in einem ausgebufften alten Store mit seinen zwanzig Mitarbeitern alle drei Wochen einen neuen Syntheziser zusammenbaute.

Mit dem großen Moog-Synthesizer lassen sich ausgehend von einer Tastatur über ein kompliziertes System van Reglern und Steckvorrichtungen rund 6 millionen verschiedener Klänge erzuegen - von der Bach-trompete bis zur metallisch klingenden Geräuschkulisse.

"Die Konstruktion dieses Instruments ermöglichte es erstmals zusammenhängende musikalische Ablaufe elektronisch zu realisieren", sagt Schoener und das hat mich sehr gereist".

Eberhad Schoener investierte 100.00 Mark, um einen Moog-Synthesizer nach Deutschland zu schaffen und begann schon lange vor Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream), Florian Fricke (Popol Vuh) und Klaus Schulze damit zu experimentieren. In den Münchener Bavaria-Studios baute er sich 1969 ein Klang-laboratorium auf und entwickelte dort im Auftrag des Bundesregierung seine ersten elektronischen Lautmalereien, die auf 16 Spuren aufgezeichnet und zusammen mit dem Kompositionen von Karlheinz Stockhausen im Rahmen der Weltausstellung in Osaka 1970 den staunenden des deutschen Musik-Pavillions präsentiert wurden - über ein System von 864 Lautsprechern. Damit war der name Eberhard Schoener unter die Avantgardisten einzureihen.

5) In her biography on her husband Stefanie Schoener gives some insight in the relationship between Schoener and Fricke:

"Am Stadlberg erfüllte sich Eberhard seinen Traum von einem eigenen Tanneck. Auf dem abgelegenen, 924 Meter hohen Berg in den Voralpen wohnten damals Florian Fricke, der später die Band Popol Vuh gründete, und seine Frau Bettina von Waldthausen, eine Fotografin. Florian und Eberhard verband eine komplizierte Freundschaft. Im grunde mochten sie sich nicht, aber waren sich trotzdem einig in ihrer ablehnenden Haltung gegenüber gesellschaftlichen Normen. Florian, Pianist und Journalist, verließ die Süddeutsche Zeitung, für die er Musikkritiken geschrieben hatte, um als Komponist zu arbeiten. Eberhard wandte sich mit seinem Moog-Synthesizer von der klassischen Musikszene ab. Weder der eine noch der andere blickte zurück, sie hatten sich in ihrem neuen Leben eingerichtet. In November, im dicksten Nebel, besuchten wir Florian und Bettina zum ersten Mal auf dem Stadlberg und fanden sogar ihr Haus, aus dem Lady Jane von den Rolling Stones schallte. Erkennen konnte man wirklich nichts, trotzdem wollte Eberhard in dieser Gegend unbedingt ebenfalls ein Haus mieten. Ich stand etwas abseits und hörte mir seine Begeisterung an, die sich auf nichts gründete, denn wir hatten nur eine ungefähre Ahnung, wo wir uns befanden. Der Nebel schluckte alles. Bettina meinte, das viel kleinere Nachbarhaus sei zu vermieten, sie kenne den Besitzer und würde mit ihm sprechen."

(From: Stefanie Schoener, Eberhard Schoener – Grenzen gibt es nicht, 2010, München, p.120)

Gerhard Augustin has also played a role in the Moog-history of Popol Vuh. He writes about it in the booklet enclosed with the SPV-rereleases, although it becomes not clear from it what role he played:

"When I moved from San Francisco to Munich in 1969 to breathe a new life into the German recording scene for the American record company, Liberty/United Artists, groups like Amon Düül II, Can, Embryo, and Krokodil soon became my business partners in the ‘new German music’genre, and to complete the picture I tried to continue my original MOOG III synthesizer experiments that I had embarked on together with Santana bassist David Brown, back in California.

My friend, the director Rüdiger Nüchtern, introduced me to Florian Fricke, who, next to Eberhard Schöner, was the only German to call one of these fantastic electronic toys for his own."


What was it that fascinated Fricke in this instrument? It was a means to communicate more directly the sounds and music he heard and felt inside. Also he had the fascination for this instrument that could express the human voice. Anyway, he discovered soon that it was some roundabout way he didn’t need any more. And instead he started to use the human voice as human as it can get.

At another place he said (liner notes enclosed on the Bell Records rerelease of ‘Affenstunde’):

"Für uns ist der Moog-Synthesizer die Möglichkeit, Klänge zu erzeugen, die wir noch nie gehört, immer nur geahnt haben - wir haben sie in uns herumgetragen. Wir finden sie in unserem Unbewussten, im Traum, wir finden sie beim Musikmachen. Wir suchen sie nicht in der Maschine, sondern in uns. Unsere Ohren führen uns dann zu dem Sound - und die Moog-Maschine macht da immer mit". So erklärte Florian Fricke vor 20 Jahren seinen Umgang mit dem Synthesizer, ...


Die Musik, die man mit den Moog machen kann, umfasst die Empfindungsmöglichkeit des Menschen", meinte Fricke damals. "Wir arbeiten an einer Musik, die so frei ist, dass der Hörer zu seinen eigenen Fantasien findet. Wir selbst entscheiden uns jedenfalls stets für die Klänge, die uns am meisten verzaubern- hier ein Horn von Ramses, da eine äthiopoische Harfe, dort der Wind im Gewürzgarten Salomons. Die Arbeit an ‘Affenstunde’ war sehr schön. Sie entstand aus dem Leben, aus unseren Gesprächen. Wir erzählten uns von Tropfsteinhöhlen, von den archaischen Schreien griechischer Frauen nachts, vom schwarzen und schreckigen Ei, von Derwischen. Wir nörgelten an der Knechthaltung der Inder herum, entwarfen einen freieren Weg für uns. Wir waren glücklich".

Also from the self-written article in Sounds (Jnuary 1971) it appears that they had high expectations from this instrument. They were very optimistic concerning this new instrument: it is a means to generate unheard sounds. Because any sound can be generated from this machine, it is in a way also the sum of everything we can express through sounds.

Wir sehen in dem MOOG Synthesizer eine der wesentlichen großen, geistigen Zusammenfassungen unserer Zeit. Der elektronische Ton ist eine Nachbildung einer umfassenden Erfahrung. Der Synthesizer kann jeden Ton herstellen und verfügt somit über die Summe Aller Erfahrungen. Dadurch stellt die Maschine an uns die Herausforderung, einen totalen Weg zu gehen. Wir zeigen mit unserer Musik, daß Elektronik nicht allein als technischer Vorgang spürbar ist, sondern sich als ein großes Feld an Empfindungenmöglichkeiten darstellt. Technik kann in der Verbindung mit Phantasie eine neue Form eingehen, die man vielleicht als Spiegel unserer eigenen Erfahrung sehen kann.

The Moog was a difficult instrument to work with. Often it was not stabile, as Frank Fiedler explains in Christoph Wagner's 'Klang der Revolte: die magischen Jahre des westdeutschen Musik-Undergrond' (2013):

Der Moog war schwer zu bedienen. Da ich mich recht gut mit Elektronik auskannte, haben wir das dann zu zweitgemacht. Ich habe die Einstellungen gemacht und Florian Fricke hat gespielt. Das war ein heikles Geschäft, weil das Instrument nich stabil war und sich die Tonlagen dauernd veränderten. Außerdem musste man aufpassen, dass einem die Filter nicht in die Höhe entschwanden und dann nur noch ein Kratzen zu hören war. Es sollte ja gut klingen. Wir haben auf einen wohlklingenden Ton Wert gelegt. (p.91)

Although Fricke had strong feelings that the Moog was the instrument he needed, and was succesfull in obtaining this expensive instrument, the love for this instrument didn’t last long. Fricke says he banned the Moog after the second album that was recorded in 1972. On several occasions he explained his decission to stop working with the Moog:

1) Rainer Langhans, Musik ist für mich eine Form des Gebets, in: Sounds, nr.49, 3-1973:

Rainer Langhans: Der Moog Synthesizer, der gerade bei euch eine so grosse Rolle spielte, kommt nun nicht mehr vor. Warum?

Florian Fricke: Im Zusammenhang mit christlich religiöser Musik möchte ich den Moog Synthesizer nicht verwenden. Das hat mehrere Gründe. Einige davon will ich nennen: Entscheidend für den Wahrheitsgehalt einer Musik könnte sein, wieweit die Art und Wiese der Herstellung identisch ist mit dem Inhalt, der am Ende, nach der Abmischung, auf dem fertigen Band ist. Ein Beispiel: Vor kurzem las ich auf einer Plattenhülle, dass eine Berliner Avantgardegruppe bei einer Platte, die eine elektronische Meditation beinhalten soll, eine Peitsche verwendet hat. Das ist doch ein Unding - und der Moog Synthesizer ist letzten Endes auch so eins. Er ist schwarz und äusserlich erschreckend, er ist ein überdifferentziertes, technisches Gebilde, das man z.B. sehr lange einstimmen muss, um in klängliche Bereiche zu gelangen, die nicht kalt sind und nur Technik vermitteln - was ja keinesfalls meine Absicht ist. Musik ist für mich im Laufe der Jahre immer mehr zu einer Form des Gebetes geworden. Man kann wohl mit Elektronik zunächst mehr als mit anderen natürlichen Klängen die Tiefe, das Unbewusste, das Zeitlose des Menschen erreichen - ich weiss das und es hat mich lange fasziniert. Ein schönerer und ehrlicher Weg scheint mir heute zu sein, sich selbst ohne technische Hilfsmittel zu reinigen und zu verinnerlichen und dann mit einfacher, menschlicher Musik diese Räume des Dunkels oder Lichts, den inneren Menschen anzurühren".

2) Fricke Interviewed by Gerhard Augustin for Eurock:

Gerhard Augustin: Why did you stop playing the synthesizer in '72?

Florian Fricke: I always had this great desire to find an instrument that could express a human voice, of vocals or the singing of a girl for instance, by electronic means. When you listen to IN DEN GARTEN PHAROAS on the A-side you will find this voice. And all of a sudden this voice that I felt was in myself, really came into my life when Djong Yun appeared. I wanted to do something really new, in those days, and the synthesizer was part of what I wanted to do. You should know that over the last 25 years I have always tried to create new music and new styles of music. I think otherwise it would be too boring.

3) In an interview for the English Sounds-magazine (1981):

Fricke twiddled his Moog on Tangerine Dream’s 'Zeit'-album, and on one more Popol Vuh, the second UA Platter ‘In the Garden of the Pharaohs’, before hanging up his sequencers forever. By the time most people were just getting into synths Florian had exhausted his interest in the medium and moved onward and outward.

"I found a certain woman-voice on the synthesizer on the second lp and after that I was no longer interested. I’m a conservative artist, not interested in just pressing buttons, so I went back to the piano.

"Sometimes the power would vary so you couldn’t always get the same sound on the synthesizer. It’s too dependent on the machinery. It’s nothing human. The piano is more direct. People said I should continue because I could make money, but for me at that time electronics were over".


Although Fricke stopped playing the Moog in 1972, it took three more years before he sold the Moog to Klaus Schulze. What happened with the Moog in the meantime?

Tangerine Dream
Fricke contributed with his Moog on the album ‘Zeit’ of Tangerine Dream. Recordings for this album were made in May 1972. The album was released in August 1972. Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser wrote on this collaboration for the Flash-magazine (1972).

From: Mark Prendergast, Tangerine Dream, Their Changing Use Of Technology Part 1: 1967 - 1977, Sound on Sound, December, 1994:

"The equipment line-up was simple: Franke on VCS3, cymbals and keyboards; Froese on glissando guitar and various noise generators; and Baumann on VCS3, organ and vibraphone. The double album was all completed in 10 days in May 1972. Froese recalls: "That's all including mixing. We invited Florian Fricke (of Popol Vuh) to the sessions. He owned the only big modular Moog synth in Germany, but we didn't know how to use it that well. So we were forced into learning how the thing worked. Since we didn't want to use any rhythm on Zeit, we didn't have to worry about sequencers". Chris Franke remembers Zeit as an album born of "dreams and meditation. After three years of aggressive music derived from frustration with teachers, the classical system, guitar rock, and every other political thing, we came into this new phase of exploring the finer things. Fricke's Moog on that album was the key" (see 'The 800,000 Mark Synth' side panel).



"I didn't have a synth at the time of Zeit, but occasionally I would practice on the big Moog modular in the Hansa recording studios. They had got it inexpensively from The Rolling Stones, who used it for a film in 1967 and then saw no further use for it. Fricke and Eberhard Schoener were definitely the first people in Germany to own a Moog, and had paid 800,000 Marks each for the privilege! Anyway, nobody in Hansa knew how to use it. So I got involved, but wasn't allowed to take it out of the studio until 1973. It didn't have a user's manual, so for two years I kept rehearsing on it. Every night I'd go into the studio and explore the Moog with its bad patching and unstable sound. But what I discovered about it was the sequencing side, its ability to generate an ongoing rhythm. Its sound, to me, had analogies with the repetitive rhythms of Indian music. It wasn't boring, so I just spent hours and hours creating sequences. Later, Edgar heard it and thought its driving rhythm was perfect for Tangerine Dream's music."

Amon Düül II & Utopia
That same year, 1972, Fricke lend the Moog also to Amon Duul 2 for ‘Wolf City’:

"For Wolf City, we all took acid and used Florian [Popol Vuh] Fricke's great Moog synthesizer," remembers Falk Rogner. "We recorded for five hours, and used perhaps seven minutes, for the tune 'Wie Der Wind Am Ende Einer Strasse'. A friend of ours overdubbed sitar, but apart from that it was all improvised. It was the only time we recorded on acid: we realised that it was a waste to spend five hours on five minutes of music." (Mojo, 1997)

‘Wolf City’ was recorded in July 1972. Among the synthesizer-players on this album are Lothar Meid, Peter Leopold, Falk-Ulrich Rogner. But also Peter Kramper in one track (‘Jail-House Frog’). At the same time and in the same Bavaria Studios most of ‘Utopia’, a jazzy sideproject by Olaf Kübler, was recorded. Many and more musicians that worked on ‘Wolf City’ we find here again. Also Peter Kramper, who is now listed explicitly as the Moog-player. A year later he did the mixdown for ‘Hosianna Mantra’.

On December 29, 1972 the movie ‘Aguirre’ was released in Germany. The soundtrack to this film appeared later. But from the tracks on this album that are also in the film, it is obvious that they were recorded before this date. The original version of ‘Vergegenwärtigung’ is a piece on Moog, that is also most probably recorded in 1972 or earlier.

Frank Fiedler
In a interview for the German magazine ‘Sounds’ (nr.49, 3/1973) that focuses on their new album ‘Hosianna Mantra’ Fricke says of Frank Fiedler:

"Frank ist weiterhin dabei. Zunächst verwirklicht er jedoch eine eigene musikalische Idee. Er arbeitet jetzt unabhängig von mir am Moog."

Fiedler, who did the synthesizer-mixdown on ‘Affenstunde’ and ‘In den Garten Pharaos’, continued experimenting on the Moog while Fricke already dropped it. As far as I know Fiedlers moog-exercises never made it to the vinyl.

In 1973 Gila recorded ‘Bury my heart at Wounded Knee’ with the help of Fricke and Fichelscher.
In the first and last track of this album we hear the moog played respectively by Fricke and Conny Veit.
I suppose it’s Frickes Moog.

Das Hohelied Salomos
In the liner notes of ‘Das Hohelied Salomos’ recorded in February 1975 we read:

Electronics: Florian Fricke, Frank Fiedler, Robert Wedel

No Moog I suppose, but a return to electronic means. There is some subtle electronic treatment in the openings of
'Du Sohn Davids I’, ‘In Den Nächten auf Den Gassen II‘ and ‘Du Sohn Davids II’.

By the way, who is Robert Wedel? All I can trace about him is that he played Moog on several albums by Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer! On a day in 1969 he knocked on the door at Eberhard Schoener's place who just bought a Moog. Wedel presented himself as a technician and turned out a great help for Schoener.

Klaus Schulze
So most probably the Moog was very dusty when Schulze passed by to buy it.

From: (Exklusiv in KEYS: Klaus Schulze - Dr. Robert Moog 23.05.1934 - 21.08.2005, Eine Würdigung von Klaus Schulze):

"Jeder, der elektronische Musik macht, sollte Bob Moog auf Knien danken –– egal, ob er selber einen Moog benutzt oder nicht. Denn Bob Moog hat die Tür aufgestoßen zu den elektronischen Sounds, die man heute für selbstverständlich hält. Man muss sich nur einmal vorzustellen versuchen, wie elektronische Musik oder auch Popmusik heute klingen würde, hätte es "Dr. Robert" nicht gegeben. Er war derjenige, der für die heutigen Sounds den technischen Durchbruch geschafft hat.

Ich selbst habe meinen "Big Moog" –– das Modularsystem –– von Florian Fricke [Popol Vuh] bekommen. Fricke war der Erste, der in Deutschland diesen Moog hatte. Auf dem Popol Vuh-Album "Affenstunde" [1970] hat er ihn eingesetzt. Als er sich musikalisch neu orientierte und anfing, mit Piano zu arbeiten, habe ich ihm seinen Moog für 20.000 Mark –– der Neupreis war 70.000 –– abgekauft. Ich hatte meine Plattenfirma vor die Wahl gestellt: "Entweder gebt ihr mir das Geld, dass ich mir diesen Moog kaufen kann, oder ich höre auf, Musik zu machen." Zum Glück hatte die Plattenfirma ein Einsehen und gab mir das Geld.

So fuhr ich im Winter 1973/74 nach München zu Florian.

Er gab mir zuerst nur drei Kisten, obwohl das Modularsystem aus vier Cabins bestand. Die vierte Kiste hatte Florian schlicht vergessen, weil er sie nie benutzt hatte. Dabei war sie für mich die wichtigste, denn sie enthielt die zwei eingebauten Sequencer. Ich packte alles ein, fuhr nach Berlin zurück, baute noch in derselben Nacht auf und spielte los. Das war für mich wie ein Super-Weihnachten –– so einen Wahnsinns-Sound hatte ich noch nie gehört. Neun Oszillatoren plus extra LFOs, plus zwei Sequencer - und alles war mit allem zu koppeln! Man konnte die Kabel nach Belieben umstecken, konnte durch zwei Filter hintereinander gehen, dann noch mal durch den Envelope- und den Zufallsgenerator. Es war eine Sound-Revolution, und die Möglichkeiten, die man plötzlich hatte, waren nur noch durch die eigene Fantasie begrenzt. Ich dachte: Wie hat dieser Dr. Moog –– der ja selber kein Musiker, sondern Physiker und Ingenieur war –– die Bedürfnisse von Musikern, die nach neuen Sounds suchten, so perfekt erahnen können? Aber Bob war eben ein Visionär. Mit 14 Jahren hatte er schon ein Theremin gebaut. Was haben wir mit 14 gemacht?"

From: Till Koppers Blick auf Klaus Schulzes Big Moog (

Klaus bought his big Moog modular synthesizer on December the 22nd 1975 from the German musician Florian Fricke (Popol Vuh). Fricke's Moog can be heard also on Tangerine Dream's Zeit DoLP or CD (recorded 1972) during the first movement.

Although no longer playing the Moog, Fricke returned to old recordings with Moog for the second 'Nosferatu'-album in 1978:

Gerhard Augustin: Now we come to a question about the French Egg release of NOSFERATU. This is a compilation of already -released materials, and unreleased old materials, with new songs. Did you choose the tracks?

Florian Fricke: It actually was Part Two of the original soundtrack. The actual film music, the way it was composed for this movie, is on the record BRUDER DES SCHATTENS, SOHNE DES LICHTS. And when Werner was already almost finished with his film, he came to me and asked, ‘Florian, do you have music to be afraid by?’ And I thought no, no, no, no. But I remembered some electronic pieces in my big, big, big, box of old material from the early years, and in this box I found 'angst music.' And so we made a second record, besides BRUDER DES SCHATTENS we made 'music to be afraid by,' NOSFERATU, part two, released by a French company. (Eurock)


Later in his career electronics made a comeback on Popol Vuh albums.

Keyboards: Auf ‘For You and Me’ ist Elektronik mit Akustik gemischt. Ist das die Art, wie Elektronik für dich immer wieder interessant geworden ist?

Florian Fricke: Zunächst mal ist nicht Elektronik im alten Sinne hinzugekommen, sondern elektronisch gesteuerte Sample-Sounds, die wiederum von normalen, akustischen Instrumenten abstammen. Da ist also nicht die typisch elektronische Kälte. Es ist vielmehr einfach das heute übliche Arbeitsverfahren bei der Musikproduktion.(Keyboards, p. 24)

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