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TC: Your photographs are rather unusual. Lindemann is wearing a white body suit and you have him standing between white mannequins -- what was the idea behind this?

GH: It was to illustrate what Lindemann is also seeking to express with his poetry: the increasingly advancing ice-age between inter-human relations. In our world, people are cold to each other. Have you ever noticed that you can walk up to someone in the street and try talking to them and nine times out of ten they look at you as though there was something wrong with you, and then walk on by. This is what we wanted to express by placing a living person between the mannequins: no matter how warm you are, no matter how communicative you try to be, you will never get any warmth back. It is an illustration of the coldness in our modern world where everyone is out for themselves and people injure each other physically and emotionally.

TC: Ouch, but true. What literary influences does Lindemann cite, aside from Meyer?

GH: All the German romantics, people like Rückert. The French writers like Rimbaud. Authors who are concerned with inter-human relationships and the mutual wounding of the soul between people. This is something that I try to express with my photographs and Lindemann drives home with his texts.

SH: A truly extraordinary poet and lyricist ...

TC: True, but someone whose talents you discovered by accident. That has to do with Lindemann's day job as a rock musician.

SH: Till is the lead singer of one of Germany's most successful rock-bands, Rammstein. I am not into rock, and although one of my high school buddies plays in that band I had never taken the trouble to listen to any of their CDs. Then, one day, while I was at the home of my friend, he showed me one of their CDs. I looked at the booklet, read the words to these songs, and what hit me straight off was the immense refinement of the writing, the depth and poetic nature of the words. This was not just someone who had jotted down a few rock texts to be performed to loud bang bang music. Here was a writer who had such immense talent that I was in awe. I immediately realized this is the kind of text-writing I had been looking for in creating that Lieder cycle that I was dreaming about.

TC: Till thought you were nuts when you told him of your plan?

SH: He didn't quite know what I wanted. He writes books of poetry but his contact with classical music had been rather limited thus far.

TC: But eventually he agreed that you could use his texts and now the search was on for a composer ...

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Copyright © 17 October 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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