News Release: Simon Callow to make “the mother of all speeches” at 2016 soundfestival

The acclaimed actor, Simon Callow, known to millions as Gareth in Four Weddings and Funeral, is to appear at the 2016 soundfestival it was announced today. Callow will perform Der Tribun (The Tribune or the Mother of all Speeches), a caricature of totalitarianism by the leading 20th century composer Mauricio Kagel, on Saturday 29 October at ACT Aberdeen.

At the time of its composition (1978) the Argentinian-born composer was living in Cologne with a Soviet backed regime in power across the border in a still divided Germany. Meanwhile in South America his native country was in the hands of Videla and Pinochet ruled Chile with a rod of iron with military dictatorships also in Boliva (Banzer), Peru (Francisco Morales Bermudez ) Brazil (Ernesto Geisel) and Paraguay (Alfredo Stroessner).

Devised initially as a radio play the piece features a political orator, marching sounds, and loudspeakers. As the work progresses it becomes clear that the orator is rehearsing a speech, starting and stopping pre-recorded applause as he hones his tone and vocabulary. The piece calls for a performer who can seduce the audience with his comic presentation rendering even more hard-hitting the eventual realization that the objective of the orator is absolute power and all that entails.

“We are delighted that Simon Callow will be joining us for the 2016 soundfestival”, says sound director Fiona Robertson. “Kagel’s renowned piece is a searing indictment of totalitarianism which draws on his own experience of both South America and Europe. It speaks as powerfully to an audience today as it did in the late 1970s when it was written”.

“The piece calls for a performer of great skill who can take us in with a seemingly comic speech only to reveal his true colours as the work progresses. Here is a dictator whose sole aim is to maintain absolute power and to crush all opposition. What better actor could there be to take on this challenge than the wonderful Simon Callow.”

Der Tribun will be performed in a concert that also features the seminal De Staat (The Republic) by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen and the World Premiere of a sound–Red Note Ensemble co-commission from sound’s first composer in residence, John De Simone, who studied in Andriessen’s celebrated composition department at Den Haag. The concert brings together three leading international ensembles, Red Note (Scotland) I Solisti del Vento (Belgium) and Song Circus (Norway)

Herald Scotland