Heiner Goebbels: A House of Call – Material Counter
Publisher: Neofelis Verlag GmbH
Softcover, 16 x 24 cm, 140 pages
49 colored and 30 b/w-pictures
A book based on a concert or a concert based on a book?
In recent years, composer and theatermaker Heiner Goebbels has regularly collected recordings of voices during his travels, chance encounters, projects, and research. Unique, peculiar voices that have touched, disturbed, excited, alienated him. These are voices from very different contexts, soundscapes, musical traditions, and languages, folk material, rituals, literature, recorded in the course of the last hundred years or so. This phonographic collection in an imaginary notebook has now become two things:
A House of Call as a full-evening concert for the Ensemble Modern Orchestra, in which these voices will often be heard on a concert stage for the first time and set the tone: cries, calls, invocations, incantations, prayers, speech acts, poems, songs. The orchestra presents, supports, accompanies them, responds to or contradicts them – like a secular “responsory.”
A House of Call. Material Counter as a book that uses numerous documents, texts, images, and sources to try to trace what distinguishes these voices. About half of these voices were recorded on wax cylinders with historical phonographs, and their origins are often ambivalent. Many reasons may have led to the recordings: ethnomusicological or music and linguistic research, sociological or anthropological interests.
Heiner Goebbels’ music is a direct answer to the complexity and grain of the voices, their vibrancy and the history of these recordings. The book discusses the heterogeneous contexts of how they were created and explores the question, for example, of whether these voices were recorded at concerts or under questionable, for example colonial, circumstances and what makes them unique.