HANS ZENDER (b.1936): Cabaret Voltaire for Voice and 8 Instruments, Mnemosyne - Hölderlin lesen IV for Female Voice, String Quartet and Tape.
Catalogue Number: 12I098
Description: 'Cabaret Voltaire', after the Dadaist performance venue founded by Hugo Ball, sets Ball's invented anti-language of nonsense syllables to music that is shadowy, fragmented and dark-toned, evoking funeral rites, a limping cortège and solemn litany, underlining the serious intent of Ball's rejectio?n of semantic language as facilitating propaganda and hence, war. A playful element inherent in the euphonious repeated syllables of the 'sound-poems' is treated by Zender in a kind of largely atonal reflection, or reminiscence, of a Mahlerian scherzo, menacing in the way that the night-terrors of childhood are menacing. Mnemosyne, after Hölderlin (a recurring preoccupation of Zender's) has a more continuous, narrative feel, but Hölderlin's text is still deconstructed and presented in sprechstimme, reorganised as sound elements within an eerie, haunted sonic landscape, infused with microtonal glissandi, unpitched extended instrumental effects and subtle dissonances overlain on chords derived from early polyphony. This is entirely appropriate given Hölderlin's obsession with the poetry of antiquity; Zender's contribution is to place his Romantic reinterpretation of ancient Hellenism in a context that is simultaneously ancient and modern. Salome Kammer (voice), Klangforum Wien; Hans Zender.