For the first concert in the series (Germany, Austria, Switzerland; the pre-war years, unrest…), we invited Rolf Somann to share some of his selected texts with us. Rolf was born 1951 in Berlin, the son of a pacifist and grandson of a Nazi party member. He is a language teacher, translator and music lover, who amongst other things, translated Mozart’s letters into Dutch.

“Language and music are able to connect people. The connecting power of music is more evident, because languages can also separate people from each other. Fortunately, music is a universal language and cannot evoke any misunderstandings. After wars, languages become silent, because war plunges culture into chaos, meaning and meaninglessness. While the language stutters and flees into the sound, the music is able to make a new beginning. Take the flute … “

Rolf Somann read excerpts from Bertolt Brecht An die Nachgeborenen (1935), Heinrich Böll Nicht nur zur Weihnachtszeit (1951), Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz Der Reisende (1938), Paul Celan Todesfuge (1945)  and schtzngrmm (1957) by Ernst Jandl

The title “schtzngrmm” refers to his version of the word “Schützengraben” It is an experimental poem in which he tells the sounds of war only with combinations of letters, which sound like gunfires or detonating missiles…
schtzngrmm schtzngrmm t-t-t-t
t-t-t-t grrrmmmmm t-t-t-t
s———c———h tzngrmm tzngrmm tzngrmm grrrmmmmm schtzn
t-t-t-t schtzngrmm schtzngrmm tssssssssssssss
grrrrrt grrrrrrrrrt
scht t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t scht
tzngrmm tzngrmm t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t scht
grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr t-tt

Ernst Jandl reading schtzngrmm