Douglas MacGregor – Part One of Three – Gesellschaftshaus, at the Riviera Grünau

The Riviera Grünau consists of two once impressive buildings; the Ballhaus and the Gesellschaftshaus, which translates literally as ‘society house’.  Like the Ballhaus, the Gesellschaftshaus is falling to pieces and there are now few signs of it’s former gory apart from this rapidly decaying hall.  Throughout the building the floors are virtually non-existent, the decor is long gone and graffiti, including a worrying abundance of nazi graffiti, pervades the entirety.  The ceiling in the hall, once red, now looks close collapse.1910 As this postcard from 1910 shows, guests could sail down the Spree and arrive by boat.  While the Ballhaus can boast of a cultural significance during the 1920s as a concert venue, the Gesellschaftshaus seems more like a reminder of the opulence in days gone by.

As you will see in the video, in the hall itself there are now two large wall paintings on either side which add yet another layer to this space; an abandoned reminder of a bygone era still visited by both artists and neo-nazis alike and still an excellent space for a performance.

The piece played here is the first part of a group of three pieces.  The name of the piece reflects this.  It also reflects the fact that the themes of the piece are quite diverse and abstract.

For some nice photo’s of the buildings go here

For more music go here or here


Agustin Barrios – Vals No. 3 – recorded at Riviera Grünau, Berlin – Douglas MacGregor

The Ballhaus Riviera was built in 1895 and by the 1920’s was a hotspot during the cultural boom of the Weimar Republic.  For musicians of the time, this was one of ‘the places to play’.  After The Second World War the Ballhaus remained open, although it’s heyday had definitely past.  After the reunification of Germany the building fell into disuse and decay .
Augustin Barrios was a Paraguayan composer who lived from 1885 to 1944.  He is one of the finest guitar composers.Ballhaus Riviera

For more information on the Ballhaus Riviera these two blogs are great and contain many a nice picture: The Ost World (auf Deutsch) and Digital Cosmonaut