Of course, this work is about the famous letter Franz Kafka wrote to his father in November of 1919, a letter he never mailed. From his long indictment, I have only used a few sentences, selected because they sum up what Kafka held against his father in explicit terms, and mostly because they translate the deep worries of the writer, the mold that gave him his shape, and, as a result, the substratum of his literary topics.
For over twelve years now, I have been working on a long work entitled Le cri du Choucas, about this author and his writings. So what has this “letter” turned into? I am surprised at the hybrid thing before me, both music and Hörspiel, that contains sounds, words, ideas, pictures, and that seems to eschew any regular classification. I might as well file it alongside my ’essays.’ However, this piece is most of all a preliminary study for Le cri du Choucas.
One word about the sound materials: other than the voice of actor Martin Engler (narration in the foreground), the sound materials were mostly obtained from the voice of the German composer Hans Tutschku, either as vocalizations or transformed into pure sonics. Kafka’s gritty and ruthless lament called for rough, tentative, and unseductive sound materials. So I decided to take a chance.
[English translation: François Couture, vi-09]
Brief an den Vater was realized in 2005 at the composer’s studio in Avignon (France) and premiered on 12 February 2005 during the trans_canada festival in the ZKM_Kubus of the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM) in Karlsruhe (Germany). This work was commissioned by ZKM. Thanks to Martin Engler (recorded narration), Hans Tutschku, Ludger Brümmer, and Götz Naleppa.