Helmi Vent Helmi Vent

1995 "Will you Play your Hurdy-Gurdy to my Songs?"

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Project Direction and Concept

Helmi Vent


Chris Amrhein (Voice)
Luis García Vázquez (Voice)
Sigrid Gerlach (Accordion)
Barbara Schönewolf (Dance)
Jaro Vent (Trombone)


Großes Studio at the University Mozarteum Salzburg


27, 28, 29 April 1995; 01 June 1995

Guest Performances

12 July 1995, Alexander Theater, Monash University Melbourne in the frame of the International Conference of Music and Dance, Melbourne (Australia)
17 July 1997, Baxter Concert Hall, University of Capetown in the frame of CONFLUENCES International Conference on Music and Dance in connection with the 15th Symposium of Ethnomusicology, Capetown (South Africa)

A scenic questioning on the subject of the so-called 'self' and 'other', based on the concluding question of the poetry and lieder cycle "Winterreise" by Wilhelm Müller and Franz Schubert
Salzburg (Austria), April 1995; Melbourne (Australia), July 1995; Cape Town (South Africa), July 1997

About the Piece

Would you play your hurdy-gurdy for my songs? is the question asked by a roaming traveller, a lover who hopes in vain for reciprocal love in the poem and song cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey) by Wilhelm Muller and Franz Schubert. It is, so to speak, the question of a forsaken person who has been cast out, as portrayed in the first song of Winterreise, the question of someone who has become alien to himself and others (I arrived as a stranger, I leave as a stranger). At the end of his long journey he meets another outsider, the Hurdy-Gurdy Man, in whom the wanderer sees a reflection of himself (No one wants to hear him, no one looks at him). The question – whether the hurdy-gurdy man wants to join him or even accompany him for his songs – remains unanswered.

This problem configuration leads to the formulation of the question and provides, so to speak, the blueprint for the stage play. In treating the issue of mutual alienation in the context of various encounter situations in modern everyday life, the question is asked how the problem arises in the context of one's own life history, culture and society. What are the forms of life, expression and behaviour which contradict a person's own rules and thus appear alien to him?

The dirty sounds of the scruffy tramp at the end of the play are the same ones, and the uncouth manner is also the same. What is affirmed is a process of moving and being moved, in both the physically concrete and the metaphorical senses, and this helps the partners in dialogue to get back on their feet again. A way is not mapped out here: it is introduced in the Schubert song with the bare fifth of the questioning melody at the conclusion – in our play the tramp heightens the uncertainity of the situation, 'hanging on to' the minor sixth of the accordion keys. The openness of unknown regions seems the most familiar thing to him; it already belongs to his store of experience.

Helmi Vent
(Translation: David Abbott)


"Suche nach Kommunikation"
[Search for Communication] by Anja Stiller-Reimpell
Salzburger Nachrichten, 29 April 1995


"Willst zu meinen Liedern Deine Leier drehn?"
["Will you Play your Hurdy-Gurdy to my Songs?"]

A film documentary based on the music and dance theater performance with the same name (1995)

DanceMusicTheaterLaboratory, University Mozarteum Salzburg
Concept, Staging, Performer, Location, Performances, Guest Performance: see above (Project Info)
Stage Setting: Jaro Vent
Camera: Coloman Kallós, Mathias Berghoff, Matthias Mädel
Sound Recording: Chris Amrhein, Matthias Mädel
Video Editing: Chris Amrhein, Helmi Vent
AV Mixing and Mastering: Chris Amrhein
Film Production: Helmi Vent – University Mozarteum Salzburg © 1996, ReEdition © 2004

Presentation of the video film "Willst zu meinen Liedern Deine Leier drehn?"
19 October 2004 at the Zentrum im Berg, Fürbergstraße 18-20, 5020 Salzburg (Austria), 19:30


"Willst zu meinen Liedern Deine Leier drehn?"
["Will you Play your Hurdy-Gurdy to my Songs?"]

Excerpt from the performance film (see above: Film Intro)
With Chris Amrhein (Voice) und Luis García Vázquez (Voice)
Duration: 2' 54''
Film production: Helmi Vent


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