Lore Lixenberg, voice

works by Robert J. Crow, 11th C. Plainchants, Lixenberg

Zilberman Gallery, Berlin

6 October 2016. The breadth and depth of the works assembled into THE RED GAZE provided unique inspiration for ITINERANT INTERLUDE #82. In addition to offering a musical counterpoint to the works represented in the exhibition, the program also highlighted some of the special interests and passions of virtuoso vocalist Lore Lixenberg, revealing a deep contemplation of the archaic as it relates to the new, seen and heard through the prism of music.
British composer Robert Crow’s (b. 1956) “Ur-text” was composed in 2009 and subtitled “Cantata for Female Voice”. Sound material for this large scale work is made up of fragments of ancient Sumerian love songs from ca. 2,000 B.C. derived from the cuneiform script, their origins in Mesopotamia, what is today Iraq. Because of their thematic and figurative affinity to the Old Testament’s Song of Songs, the Sumerian songs are considered by modern scholars to be the actual sources of the biblical text. Thus, in the codification of different religious allegories, these erotic songs from Iraq found their way into Hebrew and Christian liturgy in the form of monophonic chants.

Three excerpts from “Ur-text” were performed together with their correlates, plainchants from the Song of Songs as found in the 11th century Klosterneuburger codex: “Aperi michi” (Open the door); “Pulchra es amica mea” (I am full of loveliness, I am good oil); and “Sicut malus inter ligna” (Promises among the apple trees). The relationship between the ancient Sumerian songs and medieval Latin plainchant is particularly exciting, Lixenberg observes, “because it forms an artistic, cultural, and geological seam that cannot be argued with. No one owns it. And everyone owns it. It illustrates the artistic richness and connectivity of the region that can’t be eradicated as long as the song lines exist.”

Just as THE RED GAZE unfolded a plethora of cross-references through space and time, so too, the program of ITINERANT INTERLUDE #82 aspired, in this more ephemeral encounter, to realize something similar, namely, to reveal the song lines that traverse space and time.

THE RED GAZE curated by A.S. Bruckstein Çoruh. Works by Ahmet Elhan, Memed Erdener a.k.a. Extramücadele, Erdem Gündüz, Ali Kaaf, Navid Kermani, Aisha Khalid, Şükran Moral, Erkan Özgen, Pablo Picasso, Imran Qureshi, Rebecca Raue, Sarkis, Arnold Schönberg, Eşref Yildirim.


Internationally renowned British mezzo-soprano and opera director Lore Lixenberg is as at home in opera houses and on concert stages as she is in West End musicals, art installations, or stand-up comedy. Her repertoire extends from medieval plainchant through the classical literature, to premieres of works by some of the most exciting contemporary composers of today. Together with Frederic Acquaviva she directs La Plaque Tournante, a project space in Berlin devoted to experimental art both sonic and visual. She is the founder of ‘PRET A CHANTER’, a singing cafe, where no speech is allowed, only song, and continues to conduct her trademark SINGTERVIEWS worldwide.