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[ Deutsche Version ]
On the occasion of Gerhard Ruhm's 75th birthday on February 12th, Kunstradio presents the radio version of "die winterreise dahinterweise" - a cycle of twelve sound sculptures. The co-founder of the Wiener Gruppe, Gerhard Ruhm, deals with the famous song cycle "Die Winterreise" by Franz Schubert in a literary-radiophonic way. Ruhm replaced Wilhelm Muller's original text by his own, shortening it from twentyfour songs to twelve for the radioversion. This version is not just a journey into the past but it also outlines an immediate enviroment. "die wintereise - dahinterweise" was originally commisioned by the steirischer herbst 1990 as stage performance. 1997 it could be heard during an exhibiton about the Wiener Gruppe at the Austrian Pavillion at the Biennale in Venice.
the idea of commissioning me to write new lyrics for the well-known song cycle “die winterreise” by franz schubert came from the steirischer herbst festival and was a proposition that, to be candid, i was at first reluctant to accept. i greatly respect wilhelm müller as a major poet, whose verses would lose none of their charm even without schubert's brilliant music, indeed which often only reveal their intrinsic qualities when read separately. when i finally decided to write the new words to schubert's melodies, it seemed only natural to somehow allude to wilhelm müller's original texts. i ended up choosing a strict phonetic method of reference that retained the vowel structure of müller's cycle (and as much of the stock of consonants as possible). from this point of departure i proceeded to invent new words in new word arrangements. upon closer inspection this method isn't as external as one might at first conclude. the resulting, strangely distorted sound structure of the poems signals a hallucinative level of expression that seems to lie “dahinter” or “behind” the original words, i.e. to underlie and at the same time undermine them. moreover, it's often hard to accurately identify the individual words in sung texts, so that the uncertainty principle kicks in producing a degree of semantic fuzziness that can trigger a stream-of-consciousness-like reverie. in this way the spooneristic title “dahinterweise” doesn't only hint at the formal principle behind the new lyrics, but it also alludes to an underlying depth-psychological level, which – typical of subconscious content – is a mix of confusing directness and encoded dream symbolism.
of the 24 songs, which were recited live at the world premiere at the steirischer herbst festival in graz in1990, i have chosen 12 for the separate radio project and paired them with an equal number of correspondingly long acoustic works. these 12 sound events that derive from sound-suggestive words occurring in my texts are intended to produce atmospheric realms and at the same time more complexly interlink the associations awakened in the listener. the “winterreise dahinterweise” is not just a journey into the internal world ruled by images from thanatos to eros but – with songs from the 19th century – it is also a journey to the past, though the manner of experiencing it always remains one of the present.