© Christian Burkert

Man Of Work, Wake Up!

Worker songs and poems from the period 1900 to 1933

This musical reading revives German workers songs & poetry from the period up to 1933. The best-known songs of the working-class movement are experiencing their contemporary renaissance, for example as a powerful gospel ('The International', 'Brothers to the Sun for Freedom') or soulful pop ballad ('Bundeslied'). Voices from the working-class movement express the various facets of human need of their time and astonish in their diversity and their narrative power:

For example, while Otto Krille in 'Arbeiterliebe' (1904) gives us a two-if not even three-fold insight into the world of a secretly in love with a worker, Ludwig Lessen captivates us in 'Tragedy' (1911) with his exciting as well as shocking account of an accident at work. The modern interpretations of the workers' songs are occasionally interrupted by the true-to-the-original presentation of Brecht songs as well as by the song 'Moorsoldaten'. Old and new mix or alternate. The lyrics of the workers' poetry as well as the songs seem more poetic and from another time, sometimes they seem as topically as just written - and thus make history close enough to touch.

In 2007, the first song arrangements were commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation for various festivities in Hanover, Oldenburg and Brunswick on the occasion of '60 years of democratic Lower Saxony '. In 2009 Böhm & Niggemeier performed at the Open Day in the Lower Saxony state parliament during the presentation of the SPD.
In 2013 the reading took shape in its current form on the occasion of a major event of IG BCE Hannover: In 'Unbroken! In addition to various panel discussions and the exhibition 'Trade Unionists in Concentration Camps', the program also served as the artistic framework program for the 80th anniversary of the breakup and banning of free trade unions in Germany.

The program lasts max. 60 minutes and is variable in length, as texts and pieces of music can be omitted and added as desired, without the program losing its strong effect. It is developed for a stage, but can also be presented on a smaller scale as a musical-theatrical performance. An existing tuned grand piano or a piano as well as professional sound technology on site are required.

Repertoire (excerpt)

Brothers to the Sun for Freedom, Federal Song, The Internationale, Song of the SA Man, The Moor Soldiers

© Bernd Brundert

singing & reading: Franziska Böhm

© schauspielhannover

grand piano: Burkhard Niggemeier