02.09.2022, Berlin: Ein Feuerwerk ist am Olympiastadion zum Auftakt des internationalen Feuerwerk-Wettbewerbs "Pyronale" zu sehen. Feuerwerker zeigen bis einschließlich Morgen auf dem Maifeld ihr Können. Foto: Paul Zinken/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

What a dance! Rhythmic swings of red fireballs pull silver glittering ribbons of sparks behind them, flying towards the sky in harmony with the music. There they are caught up by more fireworks, which explode in rainbow-colored balls to form a mosaic of flowers.

It’s actually funny that the team from Gran Canaria, who choreographed these filigree structures to get in the mood for the familiar heavenly flowers, initially lagged behind in the public’s favour. The first part of the Pyronale can be seen on Friday evening on the Maifeld at the Olympic Stadium.

Outside the south gate of the Olympic Stadium, onlookers have spread out their picnic blankets. The big competition of the world’s best firework artists can also be seen from many of the city’s balconies. But the main thing is reserved for the approximately 20,000 spectators on the Maifeld: the touching ballet of thousands upon thousands of sparks of fire to popular music classics.

For the freestyle, the fireworkers can choose pieces from a given selection. The waltz “On the beautiful blue Danube” and the Radetzky March are obviously popular. But Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” and “Swan Lake” are also extremely compatible with the tamed flight of fire sparks.

In the end it’s about which team is better: the Swiss or the Mexicans. The experts, including top chef Hans-Peter Wodarz, who has been a member of the jury since 2006, and building senator Andreas Geisel, also a member of the jury, and also the knowledgeable little boy in the back row of the grandstand all vote for Switzerland, because there the interaction between music and fire show is more precise, more appropriate.

A fire show like Swiss clockwork. The audience, which is allowed to vote by mobile phone, chooses the Mexicans, who scored with a furious show for the European anthem. “The Mexicans are the winners of hearts,” judges Hans-Peter Wodarz confidently. “But the Swiss were better.”

In any case, the Swiss know that true art involves renunciation. A small, deliberate pause increases the tension in front of the furious picture of sparks, elegant swings to the right and left, as if traces of fire had hips. There’s a lot of ingenuity behind it.

The fine color dominance of red and white, perhaps based on the national flag, fits in well with this. With the Mexicans, on the other hand, there is an almost childlike lust for the full use of material, after all they also represent Latin American temperament here. They let it rattle and pop and thousands of small gold and silver stars flash massively to the jubilant sounds of “Freude, schön Götterfunken”. A colorful explosion in the night sky over the Maifeld follows the next.

The enthusiasm of the children sitting around, who let their ice cream drip out of sheer enraptured amazement, gives a good impression of how much joy this colorful twinkle in the sky can bring about. The moon, which was so full as a sickle in the sky at the beginning, has already withdrawn discreetly. “Live your dream” is how the Mexicans begin with a certain amount of pathos, which continues to increase in the flashing flowers, waving ears of corn and golden goblets.

The motto of the Swiss “Lights and Shadows” subtly points to the different dimensions of the fireworks, to the shadow associations that lurk in the background. Sparks ignite flames that can become an inferno in war and drought. Fire not only warms, it can also be dangerous.

It is not for nothing that the organizers have developed strict safety measures here in cooperation with the fire brigade. Luckily this is a chilly evening and the wind is blowing the white smoke trails away from the spectators.

People have been honing the art form of fireworks for around 1400 years. At royal and princely courts, the light show in the sky was a popular ceremonial, and also a means of self-portrayal. Pyronale Managing Director Mario Hempel tells of a participant from the early years who was ennobled by the British Queen because she liked his fireworks art so much.

Fans from far and wide flock to Berlin as the venue for a fireworks world championship. In addition to creativity, colors and effects, the synchronization to the music and the safety when setting up the pyrotechnics are also assessed.

On the Maifeld this evening, power and precision unite in an artful way to create pure poetry. The soul language of the music harmonizes heartwarmingly with the Jupiter element. Three-dimensional fire images have an extension of up to 150 meters. Of course, the fascination that emanates from the musically accompanied golden rain in the sky cannot be expressed in numbers.