Erik Bünger, Jan-Filip Tupa
The Empire Never Ended / The Girl Who Never Was
The evening begins with Bünger's composition The Empire Never Ended (2007), based on a transcription of a man speaking in tongues and interpreted by the cellist Jan-Filip Tupa.
His second performance The Girl Who Never Was (2014), a German premier, takes us on a winding trip through history, where a voice echoes throughout time, retroactively changing history, and influencing the present from the past's vantage.
In 2008, an American researcher discovered the lost traces of the very first recorded voice: an 148-old girlish voice singing the French lullaby Au Clair de la Lune. A year later, a playback experiment proved that the fragment is actually the voice of a full-grown man. This exact lullaby is sung by the artificial intelligence HAL in the French version of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). As HAL dies the voice performs the same glissando as the non-existent girl's: a high-strung, insistent voice gradually slows into a deep, harmless one.
The Empire Never Ended was originally written for Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt am Main and commissioned by the BHF-Bank-Stiftung for Frankfurter Positionen 2013.
The work is based on the recording Banta Trance Speech found on the CD release: Occulte Voices – Paranormal Music, Recordings of Unseen Intelligences 1905-2007 published by Thomas Knoefel and Andreas Fischer, Cologne in 2007.