Bernd Härpfer - Composition and Audiovisual Art


electronic music (6-channel)
3:45 min.


(Shona: words/voices)

This piece originates from an inscription of Paul Klijnsma (1915-1995), a former missionary and voyager throughout Africa. It summarizes his view of life after many years of residence in Zimbabwe. First we just observe rows of letters but on closer inspection a clearly running text emerges. A single sentence is repeated in different languages.

The soundsources of Mazwi are recorded native speaking voices articulating the first six sentences (in english, french, german, dutch, swedish, italian). To achieve a harmonizing spectre of timbres, Germanic languages are spoken by female voices and Romanic languages are spoken by male voices.

The musical character of the composition is designed by temporal stretching, interaction and crosswise transformation of the six voices. These transformations become manifest in changes of timbre and position at the same time because any two voices transformed into each other are swapping their channels respectively.

(first performed in The Hague, May 10th, 2000)