three songs for voice, piano and megaphone (2021), 18 min.

Auftragskomposition Eclat Festival 2022
UA Eclat Festival 2022, Viktoriia Vitrenko (Stimme und Klavier)

"Illuminations" stands for the desire to illuminate what is consciously forgotten in many places, what is held in suspension in an indeterminate place – in limbo – what is ignored consciously, making someone a social or political orphan. The three songs of "Illuminations" address three such orphans. The songs are based on their own statements and are partly a record, partly an emphatic speech. The songs demonstrate: they are rendered polyphonically through tape recordings, loudly through megaphones, shared and documented internationally through smartphones. The music does not come from the withdrawn romantic song tradition of the private, but from the outwardly pushing tradition of the political protest song and the rock song. They do not seek subtle shadow areas of unconscious expression but turn the piano keys into chanting trombones and electric guitars. Each of the three songs has its own aesthetics and language. "Illuminations" is also the title of an essay collection by Walter Benjamin, which served as a latent source of inspiration.


 [1] Gen Xiaonan (speak)

Thank you to the court for giving me such a chance to make a self-report. Today I don’t want to defend myself. I plead guilty to all the accusations and evidence presented by the court.

As the major and independent decision maker of my publishing company, all the decisions made by my colleagues are eventually my decisions, and the colleagues only fulfilled my requirements. All the violations in the accusation were done because I insisted. I ask the court to focus the punishment on me. My colleagues have nothing to do with the decisions I made. I ask the court to treat them lightly.

Finally, I want to clarify a few points:

First, I am the first offender.

Second, there is no subjective criminal intent.

Third, there is no specific victim in this case.

Fourth, the fourth thing I especially need to explain is that I need to support and take care of my 80-year-old father. He is a disabled veteran who has been on the battlefield in Vietnam. He has no other children and has lived alone for more than 40 years. I have been taking care of him. If I serve my sentence in the future, I may lose the opportunity to be with him.

I am asking whether the court can take a humane stand and educate me, so that I can be punished accordingly.

In addition, my defense lawyer’s defense is their professional instinct, and I am grateful and respectful for this. However, the content of their statement is not my original expression, and it is suggested that the presiding judge may not adopt it.

[2] Maria Kalesnikava (sing with megaphone)

We are peaceful, we are honest, we want to life in a safe and free country. We are ready to fight for this. You are incredible. I’m glad to see you here today. Thank you all very much.

[3] Hannah Arendt (sing)

Even in the darkest of times we have the right to expect some illumination…Eyes so used to darkness as ours…warmth of human relationships which may strike those…discuss with our fellows…we learn to be human


04 February 2022


1-4 instruments, vocal music, with electronics