Beef Kohlrabi

CESSE Conference / Andrea Szigetvári’s concert / Performed by Márta Murányi – soprano, Andrea Szigetvári – electronics / 1 Dec / BMC

The inspiration for the new piece „Marhakaralábé” (Beef Kohlrabi) came from a field recording made by myself at the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest on the 2nd of September of 2015, when hundreds of refugees were camping out on a metro underpass. The recording captured a conversation of three Hungarian men, who were expressing their dissatisfaction about helping the refugees by some volunteers. At the most dramatic part of the conversation a man said he wanted to shot those people, throw them on a truck and burn them, if he had some power. He called the refugees „funnily” marhakaralábé (beef kohlrabi in English).
To develop the recording and to put its content into wider context I collected recordings of interviews with refugees talking about their pitiful experiences and of speeches by different contemporary leaders expressing their ideas about finding solutions for the migration crisis. As a historical context I chose to explore also recordings of speeches made by Mahatma Ghandi and Adolf Hitler.

The suprasegmental parameters or prosody of the vocal communication, it is the emotional and musical aspects of the speeches serve as source material for the composition of both the acoustic and the electroacoustic parts. The melodies, glissandi, rhythms, tempi, structures of silences, accents, volumes and timbral characteristics resulting from the vocal material are embedded in soundscapes reflecting on the location of the recording (the Keleti Train Station) and meanings emerging from the spoken texts.