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Wim Mertens presents the new album ‘Voice of the Living’

Today Wim Mertens publishes ‘Voice of the Living’, a tribute to all the victims of the war. This composition was born from an order by the Chancellery of the Belgian Prime Minister as part of the commemoration of the Great War (1914 -’18).

The composition ‘Voice of the Living’ is told from the point of view of the “common man”, the normal man, the soldier who is confronted with the everyday abyssal experience – literally, face to face with the unheard of, the unpredictable, the unimaginable and all this through the imposing rival fields. In other words, it was clearly not thought of from a triumphalist perspective.

The four elements, in turn, refer to specific warfare situations, such as stalemate trench warfare (land), flood plains in the Westhoek (water), air strikes (air pressure, poison gas), and gunfights. Fire). In other words, Wim Mertens investigates the connection between the four elements and the four traditional instrumental groups, harp, strings, woodwinds, and percussion. This binding is used as an axiomatic starting point. The different parts of the composition ‘Voice of the Living’ are guided by singing. The voice is responsible for finding the “right key” in the continuum of the overall course of the composition. The voice that knows, the voice that oversees, even the unimaginable, the unpredictable; literally the abyssal voice. This continuum has an “open character”, leading to unexpected interruptions, distortions, ruptures, unevenness, and confrontation with the “strange tout court”.

A composição ‘Voice of the Living’ é contada do ponto de vista do “homem comum”, o homem normal, o soldado que é confrontado com a experiência abissal quotidiana – literalmente, cara a cara com o inaudito, o imprevisível, o inimaginável e tudo isto através dos imponentes campos rivais. Por outras palavras, não foi claramente pensada de uma perspectiva triunfalista.

Today, the memory of the experiences of all soldiers and victims of war is the true theme of Mertens‘ work. This memory can only be interpreted and performed by those alive today. The voice of the living today is a tribute to all these victims. The composition ‘Voice of the Living’ can only become a final tribute to the victims after the execution – à la dernière instance – of the work. The ultimate tribute to all victims is the musical performance. ‘Voice of the Living’ was commissioned by the Belgian Prime Minister’s Chancellery as part of the commemoration of the Great War (1914-’18). The composition was premiered at the cathedral of Sint-Maartens, Ieper, on October 28, 2014, and offered to the inhabitants of the City of Ieper.

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