A Song for Rachela - Bernhard Lang International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

go to content

1 September 1939
The torn-up streets, the riflemen’s trenches, the windows protected with [bags of] sand, and the mobilization posters have all formed into one, just one, horrible word:
......Special ediiitioooon!!! Border crooooossssed!!! It’s waaaaaaar!!! 

A Song for Rachela is a compostion for 19 instruments, live electronics and voice, to be played by Klangforum Wien featuring Sarah Sun, voice.

It is based on a libretto made from the Ringelblum Archive focusing on the state of the Warsaw Ghetto and its inhabitants till 1942; the texts are to be used rhizomatically, the context more to be guessed by and by during the 50 minutes; the singing will be reduced to speaking, whispering, and miming, staying muted for a long time. The piece oscillates between open mobile-structures (Games) and song-structures, some of them derived from Polish ethnic music. 

The techniques used relate the piece both to the GAME-series and the preceding music theatre compostions Playing Trump (Hamburg Opera, 2020), Cheap Opera #1 (éclat festival, 2019) and #3 “May,” the latter performed at Donaueschingen in 2022. The piece was developed in collaboration with Klangforum Vienna, an ensemble I have been working with since 1993. 

Bernhard Lang, 2 October 2022 

The publisher of A Song for Rachela by Bernhard Lang is G. Ricordi Bühnen und Musikverlag GmbH.