for harp, glass harp, and two – channel fixed media.  Duration: approx. 6’30”

Program Notes:

The second of two pieces inspired by my 2013 Europe trip, Nie Wieder is an audio experiment inspired by propoganda. Propaganda infiltrates our lives on a daily basis. No matter how you get your news, each and every one of us is exposed to a biased account of what the world wants us to think. The same thing happened in 1933 when the concentration camp in Dachau, Germany opened. Through press releases and staged pictures, they convinced the outside world that the camp was no more than a labor camp, instead of a torture facility employing forced labor and mass executions. My family and I visited what’s left of the concentration camp on our trip this past June. Upon entering, one of the memorials had a sign that read “Nie Wieder”, meaning “Never Again”. We walked through the museum, remaining barracks, and the crematorium, a moving and powerful experience in and of itself. Out of reverence, and possibly shock, not a word was spoken. The only thing that could be heard while walking the grounds was the sound of the gravel crunching under everyone’s feet. I hit the record button on my smartphone as we walked around, hoping to capture the atmospheric essence of the ghosts of the destruction that was the Holocaust. Knowing the sounds people expected from seeing a harp and a glass harp on stage, I wanted to shatter the assumptions created by the propaganda associated with each instrument, so I created a piece of discomfort, disillusion, and distortion, as the Holocaust truly was the epitome of these. In order to do this, I took the recordings of footsteps, manipulated them, and combined them with the disgusting timbres I could find on these seemingly beautiful instruments in graphic notation to create the atmosphere of this piece. The only notated motif in the entire piece consists of the notes D-A-C-H-A, with H being the German reference of B natural.

Zachary Bartsch, glass harp; Heidi Joosten, harp. October 15, 2013.

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