Musik & Theater

The River
Songs of the living, songs of the dead

* abgespielt

An essay in theatrical form, sung in six languages by Peter Wagner Composed and arranged by: Ferry Janoska Production: Offenes Haus Oberwart (Österreichischer Kunstpreis 2013) A river is a symbol. A river divides, separating this side from that, just like the river of the dead in Greek mythology. But it also represents a constant flow, like the confluence of the song traditions of different folk cultures. Especially in a border country such as Burgenland, this tradition has developed, and been maintained, over centuries. This production premieres Ferry Janoska’s brilliant yet sensitive arrangements of 33 folk songs. They range from secular songs and folk ballads to laments for the dead, from all the language groups formerly and currently present in Burgenland: German, Croatian, Hungarian, Jewish, Hianza, and Roma). This is a production by Offenen Hauses Oberwart (OHO), who, on 28th January 2014, received the 2013 Österreichische Kunstpreis (Austrian Prize for Art) from Dr Heinz Fischer, President of Austria. This was the first time that an Austrian cultural initiative had been awarded a national prize. “The River” is also a story of things forgotten: for example, many songs, in one way or another, express in words and music how mothers brought up their daughters, an upbringing that was subject to a strict moral code. Or the “Burschenlieder”, which often relate to the ritual humiliation of particular young women within a society. Or the “Spinnstubenlieder” (spinning room songs), which tackle the disproportionately high unemployment among women which continued until well into the 20th century. The Croatian dirges and laments are a major (re)discovery. Outlawed after the Second Vatican Council as relics of paganism, they have nonetheless survived – albeit secretly – until today. In these songs, inter-generational conflict is a subject which is frequently (and purposefully) overlooked. This is often expressed with unbelievable, unthinking cruelty – “Hey, you’ve got a rope, go hang yourself with it”, say the young men to the old; and this is how all the other disputes which the song tackles are resolved, at a single stroke. Reflections on Auschwitz are to be found in many songs of the Burgenland Roma. According to Christiane Fennesz-Juhasz, their repertoire is primarily composed of songs based on traditional melodies, along with contrafactures of popular hits. The piece also incorporates the Jewish songbook which existed up until 1938, and comprised music in both the Hebrew tongue (liturgical texts) and Yiddish. This event includes the first public performance of a Jewish cradle song that was documented in Mattersburg in 1925.

  • Philipp Eisenmann
  • Marco Blascetta
  • Barbara Horvath
  • Ferry Janoska Ensemble
  • Sandra Selimovic
  • Eveline Rabold

STEHENDE OVATIONEN FÜR „DER FLUSS“ Liebeserklärung an das Burgenland Ausdrucksstarke Sängerinnen und Sänger, eindringliche, zu Herzen gehende Melodie, Lieder, die auch von Vertreibung und Vernichtung erzählen. Peter Wagners melancholische Liebeserklärung an das Burgenland ist fern von flacher Folklore und will auch nicht oberflächlich Identität stiften. O-Ton Peter Wagner: „In Wahrheit geht es doch immer darum: Wie fühlt sich der einzelne, wie singt er das Lied seines Lebens. Das hat oft mit Identität zu tun, aber oft auch nur mit einer Hingabe. Das ist in jeder Volksgruppe etwas anders gefärbt - und im großen Bogen dann doch wiederum sehr identisch.“ Zur Premiere gab´s stehende Ovationen vom Publikum. Eva Hillinger, ORF-Burgenland