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At the start of the European Championship 2024: “Crowd Sounds” reloaded

The year is 2018 and the World Cup is taking place in Russia. In the same year, the chamber choir of the Muttenz high school was invited to take part in the international main draw at the European Youth Choir Festival in Basel. For us, this is a great honor, as only internationally proven ensembles from home and abroad can take part in this festival, which requires an application process. For years, it was my declared goal to prove to myself and to the youth choir scene that even a “normal high school” with the appropriate preparation and a clever concept can keep up in this international environment.

For the opening concert in Liestal, I was quite daring to think of something special. To this day I don't know whether this was even registered in the huge flood of the festival. As is well known, football is almost omnipresent in the public and the hype is now so great that you can hardly afford to escape this pull. So I decided to develop a composition, or rather a sound concept, on the subject of fan chants specifically for the festival at the time. The improvisation models are partly based on a project that my M class carried out in the “Nachtklang” series with members of the Basel Chamber Orchestra.

The piece starts with a kind of call to the notes F-C-B. Why does it always have to be FCB that is in the public eye? We find out the juiciest details about every piece of information, no matter how banal, from the FCB environment while the culture sections of the newspapers continue to dribble away. On F-C-B there is a stylized “Ole, ole, ole” that eventually builds up into a large cluster and suddenly collapses. The second part then goes back to an experience I had while researching fan chants. The song “Erfolg isch nid alles im Läbe” goes back to the piece “Avanti ragazzi di Buda” by the songwriter Pier Francesco Pingitore, which he wrote when the Russians invaded Budapest in the 1960s. In addition to this cruel story, the events of 1989, which are still regularly promoted as a peace movement in cities like Leipzig, seem almost unreal to me. What was different in 1989 that such a peaceful change could become a reality?

Even back then, the background of the melody stuck with me due to the current inhumane bloodshed. From a gentle hint, the melody in my piece crystallizes more and more until it finally merges with another fan melody into a simple form of final fugue. What can music and football currently contribute to peace? Does it always have to be about power, money and profit? Listen to “Crowd Sounds.” What do you think?  

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