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Lyrical moment with a German-Sorbian text by Róža Domaścyna for one speaking and one singing voice.
Dedicated to Beth Griffith.
Commissioned by Deutschlandradio Berlin.
Beth Griffith - soprano, Harald Muenz - speaker
parkfiguren were written in October 1996 for DeutschlandRadio Berlin’s "Voices in autumn" project in the Mecklenburgian town of Ludwigslust: the radio invited poets, composers and singers there for a weekend to instigate artistic collaboration. Originating from our national "minority without majority" (Domaścyna) the poetess Roźa Domaścyna from Bautzen (Budyšin) speaks German and Sorbian. I asked her to re-translate a poem she had originally written in German into her second language which is of Slavic origin.
parkfiguren employs the German and Sorbian versions simultaneously: both texts are being amalgamated into a new „bilingual“ idiom. This can be heard at the beginning in the speaker’s part, which uses neither the one nor the other language but maintains the newly created blend preserving the phonetic properties of both languages. Over the course of the composition this part then moves steadily toward the original languages and texts in their separate forms, whereas the singer, on the other hand, always keeps the two languages separate and treats all original words of the poem like an interpreter between both idioms by "translating" them.
parkfiguren were the first fruit, in 1996, from my ongoing commitment to phonetics which has never stopped ever since: speech sounds are used as music without setting text in a traditional manner. Here and in later pieces I'm looking for ways to detach and isolate the characteristic (articulatory and prosodic) sounds of individual languages and to work with them musically: thus tone, intonation, accent, speech rate, register and character all become composable elements. (hm)