Photo: Martin W. Maier


Composition Commission issued to Laure M. Hiendl

Radial System V, Berlin, Germany

In Berlin 2019 sees the ethnological collection of the state museums move to the newly built Humboldtforum. Forming part of this collection are the Sound Archives of Berlin's Humboldt University, the core of which consists of recordings of songs, languages and dialects of prisoners of war from all over the world, in particular also of colonial soldiers of the Entente who were interned in German camps during World War I and II. There is little or no information about the identity of the prisoners. They are anonymous voices without bodies. Who do these sounds belong to? Are they cultural heritage or cultural looting? Should they continue to be made available to the public? Or is their exhibition in fact a repetition of the act of violence?

Laure M. Hiendl's composition Songs for Captured Voices takes these acts of violence against human voices as a starting point for an exercise in attentive listening. On stage, none of the recordings heard are played, reproduced or set to music. Instead, new stories and melodies are developed for these voices as a performative memento.

The form of the song provides an opportunity to create various musical narratives and thus to enter into dialogue with the voices. The songs are dedicated to these voices, aimed at directing the eye and ear to what is not spoken, existing in the interludes of the anonymous voices.

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