The beginning of this piece was not this piece, but the piece before, it is called Composition for 9. And I was asked from musicians from West Berlin, it was — I did this in 89′, shortly before the wall was destructed. And I had in my mind, a double quartet for four wind instruments and four string instruments.


And they said to me, “Oh, yes, but we have a singer, please. Do something for the singer too.” And at first, I refused, I said I had no idea. I had no idea what kind of text I should use. The good text need not music, and bad text, I have no — I don’t want to have in my music. And then, in summer 89′, I heard a transmission in radio from Moscow. And in this transmission, old women recite poems by Anna Akhmatova.


It was not possible to write these poems on paper, because if these poems would be found by Secret Service, the persons who store these poems would be arrested and go to concentration camps. So, people learned these poems by heart and transmitted the knowledge about these poems only by heart. And I was so deep impressed by these reciting poems that I put this speaking in the piece — Composition for 9.


And an East German singer, originally from Cuba, heard this presentation and said oh, she would be glad if I could make a piece for her. And I had no idea what to do. But this idea to store things in another medium than it was before, the things which are in danger to disappear, brought me to the idea of Voice, Books and FIRE, because I collected old manuscripts and rotten manuscripts, destroyed manuscripts, and collect — sort of I collect these copies, and then I started to bring these copies to the pages, and to group them. And it’s the only piece — in the beginning, I had no idea how this piece at the end sounds.


And the main idea was to store things, because I do not — I had not the idea to quote these old manuscripts or the things are written in the manuscript. But this piece should be like a witness. This piece should testify that in East and Southeast Europe, a kind of European culture exists, which is not taught in the tradition of Western Europe.

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