Cry of this Earth

1977–1978

1 Percussion and soundtrack (2 tracks: CD on request)

(Schrei dieser Erde, Schreeuw van deze aarde)

UA: 11/17/1979, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Soloist: Willy Goudswaard

U.S.A.-E: 8/2/1981, University of Illinois, Urbana, Soloist : Chris Shultis

CD: Acousmatrics 5, Electronic Works, BVHAAST 9011 (CD 1990) [EDISON AWARD]

Performer(s) : Chis Shultis (Schlzg.)

CRY OF THIS EARTH (Schrei dieser Erde, Schreeuw van deze aarde) is the third work in a trilogy which includes the orchestra piece “Canciones del Camino’ (1973/4) and the cantata ‘Song from Afar’ (1974/75). In this trilogy, Boehmer tried to reflect the relation between music and politics. ‘Canciones’ integrate several songs and motives of liberation movements throughout the earth. In ‘Song from Afar’, three poems by Ho Chi Minh written during his detention in 1942 (by the Kuomingtang-gangsters) have been integrated as ‘arias’ into a instrumental composition.

The problem with CRY OF THIS EARTH was in looking for another conception of musical ‘genre’. Boehmer felt that the traditional concept of concert music was insufficient in expressing his musical ideas. The synthesis of ‘social’ and ‘musical’ elements had to be realized within a form which would be ‘concert’ and ‘radio play’ at once. On the tape, electric sounds and different sung and spoken texts create the ‘radio play’ element. The percussionist gives a ‘living’ commentary, adding the concert element.

The texts are chosen from widely varying sources: a quotation from Edgar Varèse, describing the move of all humanity towards a new time (“En avant, l’humanité en marche: Rien ne peut l’arrêter…”); a poem by the baroque German poet Andreas Gryphius on the destructions inflicted by the War of 30 Years (“Du siehst, wohin Du siehst, nur Eitelkeit auf Erden. Was dieser heute baut reisst jener morgen ein…”); this poem is combined with quotations of the Old Testament, used by Brahms in the first of his ‘Four Serious Songs’ and a poem by the Dutch writer J.H. de Groot, who wrote impressive poems of resistance against the German Nazi-occupation between 1940 and 1945.

Boehmer also used a resistance poem (anonymous) from South Africa, a quotation by the great French (resistance-)poet René Char, some quotations from poems by Mao Tse Tung and sections of the only poem W. I. Lenin ever wrote. Since this text was first published in the Latin American review ‘Crisis’, it is used here in the well-sounding Spanish version. Further on a poem from one of the pre-Columbian cultures (an incantation in the ‘Nacahuatl’ language) and parts of the original text of the ‘Internationale’ were used.

None of these texts are arranged in a dramatic fashion. They are composed more or less as ‘evocations’ of the eternal cry of humanity for peace and freedom on the planet we live on. The very first cry of a new-born baby (Rinia Willemse), and the happy games of children in a schoolyard in The Hague complete the vocal element.

You can download the score here: CryEarth.pdf