fremde Erinnerungen

2-channel tape and video

16 min
Video: Fuyuki Yamakawa
cast: Zhang Chunxiang
screen play/direction: Peter Gahn
format: Mini-DV (NTSC/PAL), DVD (NTSC/PAL)
Edition Juliane Klein


  • world premiere: Contemporary Art Space Osaka, Japan 2002
  • German premiere: Gloria Halle Düsseldorf 2006

scene picture of "fremde Erinnerungen" with Zhang Chunxiang
© F. Yamakawa/P.Gahn 2001

programme note

"fremde Erinnerungen" can be translated as "different/foreign/strange" "memories/reminiscences" and is the condensed and abstract result from a very strange work of foreigners from German and China about the theme of a Hungarian author presented to a Japanese audience.

The 50 min lasting piece "Kangan" for Peking Opera and electronic music was a commission of the "4th International Dance Festival Theatre X [cai] Tokyo 2000" about the pantomime "the miraculous mandarin" of Melchior Lengyel. The German composer (with a background of European classical music) communicated in Japanese with the Chinese Director, Actors and Musicians (with a traditional education in the classical Peking Opera), working together with the Japanese translation of the in Chinese written textbook about the Pantomime of the Hungarian author Melchior Lengyel. The music for the instrumentalists and singer was selected from traditional Peking Opera material, discussed and explained without any score by singing and playing, and still leaving a lot of unanswered questions by the composer. Not only the music of the Peking Opera impressed the composer, but also the "music" of the complete not understood Chinese text and the music interpretation of the Hungarian Bela Bartok, which was premiered more than 80 years before in Cologne and is part of his cultural background. Samples of Peking Opera music and Bartok's "the miraculous mandarin" are the material of the electronic music part of "Kangan", a second layer to the music by the Peking opera members, which was to them probably even more strange than their music to the German composer.

The video "fremde Erinnerungen" is a new condensed, abstract perspective of the composer Peter Gahn about the experiences of this work and uses only the electronic music and the gestures of the face of actor Zhang Chunxiang. The concept of the multi perspectives is not only realized in the video techniques realized by the Japanese Fuyuki Yamakawa, but also in the in two sides divided make up of the actor and the heterophonic structure between music, video and acting.
(Peter Gahn)