Günther Rabl sound-alchemy, klangregie, lyrics
An anthem naturally consists of two parts: text and music.
The musical part is relatively simple to explain: it deals with an adaptation of an already existing, internationally recognized anthem, The Pusher (Steppenwolf) in a – the computer makes it possible – new re-working through Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Of course, historical references will also be brought in, as already with the old Greater Austria anthem of J. Haydn in its last valid version which is still current today ('Gott bewahre, Gott beschuetze vor dem Kaiser unser Land'). ('God save, God protect our country from our emperor' ). Stockhausen also may not be missing ('Pluramon'). Besides, anthem-capable aspects from renowned Upper Austrian artists (August Strindberg, Anton Bruckner, Waterloo und Robinson, etc.) are also up for discussion.
It's a more difficult matter with the text. There is a fundamental problem: a European anthem – naturally, but in what language? Large portions of the evening will be declaimed, therefore, in Ancient Greek and Sanskrit ('trnaih vidhiyate rajju, yaya nago'pi badhyate' !).
In addition to generally known platitudes, such as the one just cited, which can today be regarded as part of the European cultural heritage, our main textual focus is especially concentrated on the literary estate of the poet Hubert Rabl.
Hubert Rabl (b. 1899 in Wels, d. 1943 in Cairo) is known in expert circles as one of the most non-understandable of all Austrian writers. He had the habit (which is also attributed to E.T.A. Hoffmann) of writing poetry only in absolute darkness. His notes, which are located in a private archive near Luxor, are known to be fully unreadable. Not only are the scattered slips of paper and notebook sheets completely written over several times – downright 'palimpsets' – it is not even decipherable which script it actually should be: Arabic, Hebrew, Coptic, Greek, Latin? The irony of fate is that one of the few reliably identified text fragments (written in Ancient Greek) adorns the portal of the Bank of Athens in Thessaloniki ('έπειτα Ζωγον, ύστατη των έπτων πολεων ... loosely translated 'then came Zoogon, the last of the seven cities, whose inhabitants, as the girls twisted their hair into a single braid in dance, neither admired the braid, nor the girls, but rather the dialectic of the matter').
As an international commission was set up in February 1982 to catalogue the text fragment, a single sentence, written in Latin, surprisingly surfaced: 'I think I am the only one who is wearing short pants.'
This sentence spread like wildfire throughout the Orient, and is today, in a somewhat varied form, even part of the Tibetan constitution.
Gilbert Handler has been following the tracks of the poet and Thomas Grill has been assisting him. The latter has repeatedly recited this key sentence in different locations in Egypt, and the spontaneous reactions to it are available in authentic original recordings. These are also a part of the supporting program concerning the presentation of suggestions for a new European anthem.
translated by Brian Dorsey