Erlaube, Fremdling, dass ich dich berühre (2003)
for 1 mime, 2 ensembles, video and tapes
(FP: Dresden, 2004) duration: 55 min.

Iris ter Schiphorst
„Erlaube, Fremdling, dass ich dich berühre…“ (2003/2004) (55’)
for voice (male), 3 vln, , 1 vla, 2 vc, prep. piano/samplekeyboard, tapes,

World-Premiere: October 2004, Dresden, Festspielhaus Hellerau
Christian Kesten-voice, Gordon MacKay – vln, Anton Lukoszevieze - vc, Christoph Grund – prep. piano/sampler, Ensemble 01’ (Andreas Winkler, Ruth Petrovitsch-vln; Ulla Bruder – vla, Enrico Schüler –vc), e-guitar - Daniel Göritz
video: Susu Grunenberg

1_fremdling.jpg 2_fremdling.jpg


erlaube Fremdling, daß ich dich berühre

In Erlaube, Fremdling, dass ich dich berühre II (Grant me, stranger, that I touch you II), Iris ter Schiphorst combines instrumental and sampled sounds, movements and scenic elements to form a composition about the tensions and conflicts underlying the processes of globalised, networked communication. Our perception of space and time are fundamentally and irreversibly changed by this new form of communication. To take part or be excluded from this communication can be critical for the future of our societies and our world. This musical and theatrical suite is a take on the predominance of technology in our present, recalling Franco Evangelisti’s and Franco Nonni’s work Die Schachtel (The Box) of 1963.

Two independent ensembles on the stage communicate with each other: a trio, consisting of a piano/sampler, violin and cello on the left, and a traditional string quartet with an electric guitar on the right. This communicational process, as reflected in the music, forms the centre of the performance. The two actors/singers mark the social framework of the piece, acting as ‘subjects’ within ter Schiphorst’s soundscape. They are the ‘networked self’ and its relation to an unknown ‘stranger’, who acts as a reflective and treacherous screen for the networked society – a screen which indeed might not show anything but society’s own wishes, obsessions and fears.


“Works of art that offer a critical take on everyday culture have become rare, since few creative artists feel they have any social responsibility beside the aesthetic one. One of the exceptions is Iris ter Schiphorst, a composer born in Hamburg in 1956 to Dutch-German parents who has been a guest to the Dresden festival for many years. As she demonstrated very clearly at the premiere of Erlaube, Fremdling, dass ich dich berühre (Grant me, stranger, that I touch you) in the European Centre of the Arts in Hellerau, she does not hesitate to take a firm stand. In this ‘musical-theatrical action in 5 parts’ under the heading of ‘man and virtuality’, the composer deals with the striking imbalance of information: only 10 per cent of the world’s population have access to the Internet. The remaining 90 per cent will never, or only in a few decades, be able to benefit from this advancement. There is no equality; instead, a new elite dominates the rest of the world. Questioning the relationship of the ‘networked’ human being to the ‘outsider’, who is cut off from virtual communication, ter Schiphorst finds gripping images… In addition, the music of the trio (cello, violin, prepared piano), string quartet and sampled material is very complex, characterised by lively gestures. The sound techniques range from isolated single notes to compact masses of sound and noises… Impressive.”
(Sächsische Zeitung, 17 May 2004)

“… a strong element: the music… a strange effect on the listener when oppression mixes with disturbance – a skillful arrangement which puts a specifically musical sense of loss into sound …”
(Dresdener Neue Nachrichten, 17 May 2004)

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