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 Forum index » Artists » Stein Grebstad
Elektro 80: Funeral Pyre - Berlin
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 2:21 am    Post subject: Elektro 80: Funeral Pyre - Berlin Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread


By the end of April 1945 berliners now referred to their city as the "Reichsscheiterhauffen" - the "Reich´s funeral pyre".
General Kazakov had on the morning of the 21 of april pushed forward his breakthough artillery divisions and all the other heavy gun batteries with 152 mm and 203 mm howitzers. The gun crews were encouraged into a frenzied rate of fire by political officers. Senior artillery officers felt especially proud and made self-satifisfied remarks about the "the bloody god of war", which had become an almost universal euphemism for Soviet gunnery. From that morning until 2 May, they were to fire 1.8 million shells in the assault on the city.

That morning the casualties among women were especially heavy as they still queued in the drizzling rain, hoping for their crisis rations. Mangled bodies were flung across Hermannplatz in south-west Berlin as people queued outside the Karstadt department store. Many others were torn apart in the queues at the water pumps.

By 28 of April many were trying to escape the city. Huge numbers of refugees became mixed up with shattered remnants of the Wehrmact in the Halbe area. Many attempts were made at fleeing through the forests.
The russian writer Konstantin Simonov happened to be on his way to Berlin in a jeep coming up the autobahn. On the stretch south of Teupitz he saw a sight that he said he would never forget. "In that place, there was a rather thick forest on both sides of the autobahn. half coniferious, hald decidious, already becoming green. A cross-cutting, not wide, led though the forest on both sides of the motorway, and one was not able to see its ends,,,[it was] packed with something incredible; a terrible jam of cars, trucks, armoured cars, tanks, vehicles, ambulances, all of them not only pushed closely together against one another, overturned, standing on end, upset, breaking the the surrounding trees. In this mess of metal, wood and something unidentifieable was a dreadful mash of tortured human bodies. All this went on along the cutting, into infinity. In the surrounding forest - corpses - corpses, corpses, mixed with, I suddenly noted, ones who were still alive. There were wounded lying on greencoats and blankets, sitting leaning against the trees, some in bandages, others still without any. There were so many of them that apparently nobody had managed to do anything about them. Some even lay on the edge of the autobahn, which was half blocked by debris and covered in oil, petrol and blood."
Simonov was told that this large group had been caught by the massed fire of several regiments of artillery and katyushas. This was the preferred way to take out "the german hordes hiding in the forests". Close to 30. 000 lie buried in the cemetry at Halbe and every year scores of bodies are still being found in the woods. Nobody knows for sure how many refugees died with the soldiers in the forests. Recent calculations mentions 10.000 as a likely number. At least 20.000 red Army soldiers died here too, many killed by friendly artillery fire.

But many more would still die within the city. It was the end of the world.


This piece is part of a series called "Utmost Savagery". The instruments used are Waldorf PPG, Mini-Moog, Moog Taurus, Arturia Moog Modular, Korg MS 20, Korg DW 8000. Steinberg Halion was used for handling the field recordings and effects. Many of the fieldrecordings are of actual gunfire and explosions. The norwegian army is still using some german machine guns, rifles and pistols. I did some recordings years ago using my old portable reel to reel Uher device. The original 24 bit file contains a fair bit of low frequency bass. Some of this will hopefully survive the mp3 encoding.
I have used the actual recording of Hitler´s last radio broadcast and some snippets from a broadcast from the BBC on D-Day.. and also some parts from a BBC eyewitness report from the Battle of Anzio.

When I originally researched this material, I happened to actually meet several germans who had experienced the .Reichsscheiterhauffen. One of these was then a little girl. She gone with her mother to get some buckets of water from the nearby water pumps when the artillery assault started in the morning of April 21. She had returned to the shelter carrying only her mothers left arm. The family intended to bury the arm, but some crazed hungry dogs ran away with it. Food was as scarce as water. This girl, actually the mother of a friend of mine, has no clear memories from this day until february 1951. Quite possibly she had been put into a state of shock.


Funeral Pyre - Berlin - link removed


Interesting links:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/wwtwo/berlin_01.shtml
http://books.stonebooks.com/cgi-bin/foxweb.exe/base/subjects?1000271
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Berlin
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/battle_for_berlin.htm
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/berlin.htm

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Last edited by elektro80 on Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:44 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is excellent. I like this piece a lot. The incongrunty and the compassion are a powerful combination. This is moving and thought provoking. Well done. Thanks,
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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Another thoughtful beautiful piece. Somber and well thought out.
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I post here what I had already written to Stein when I first heard this piece on a pre-release version
Quote:
It's peaceful as a war cemetery can be.
It reminded me of a German War Cemetery maybe 50 Km from Florence. see
http://www.tuscanwanderings.com/futa.html
http://www.appenninoweb.com/english/cimitero_militare.php
It's a great place I visited many years ago: stern and sobering.
Yours is a nice piece of music!

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paul e.



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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Smile
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2004 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Your music always seems to be inspired and inspiring...you always convey the emotion very well. I like this a lot.
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Impressive.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2004 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

THX guys. I was kinda stunned so I had to give it a few days before I responded. I appreciate the nice words.
It seems like I have collected about a CD worth of material in the Utmost Savagery series so far, and I consider doing a CD of this as a volume one .. dunno yet how long this series will be. Some later CDs in the series could be joint projects or whatever. I am not quite sure how to package this CD, but I imagine I should set up a website for this particular series of works.. and take it from there.

I am just about to start figuring out how to record the "Shelter From The Storm - The Sinking Of Wilhelm Gustloff" and "Staying Alive - The Warzaw Uprising- 1944".

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Last edited by elektro80 on Mon May 17, 2004 11:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2004 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
but I imagine I should set up a website for this particular series of works.. and take it from there.



great idea !

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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2004 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
The Sinking Of Wilhelm Gustloff

I had never heard of that ship:
Quote:
The sinking of the TITANIC in 1912 and the LUSITANIA three years later are commonly thought of as two of the greatest maritime disasters of all time. Yet, a German ship carrying mostly civilian refugees and sunk in the Baltic Sea in the closing months of World War II claimed more than twice as many lives as both ships combined. But little has been written about it. Why?


http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/articles/wilhelmgustloff.aspx

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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2004 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

German maritime civilian losses in 1945 were high. They now rank as the greatest naval disasters ever. It must be noted at very few soldiers got on these ships. That would have been desertion. The losses were close 95% civilian in nature.


Vessel ---- Year ---- Deaths
Goya ---- 1945 ---- ~6,000
Wilhelm Gustloff ---- 1945 ----   5,348 ( now believed to be approx. 9500 )
Cap Arcona ---- 1945 ---- ~4,500
General Steuben ---- 1945 ---- ~3,500
Thielbek ---- 1945 ---- ~2,800

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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2004 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i am afraid to listen. but i made myself read "the rise and fall of the third reich," so the least i can do is try to exorcize some of these demons. that story about the girl and the arm is entirely too much.

this world is completely insane. just when we thought that the madness had reached its apex (the millions of war dead in WWII), we seem to raise the bar, the US starving Iraq and murdering millions while i was in high school, the US and France propping up opposing sides in Rwanda leading to 30 thousand people a DAY being hacked to pieces during the war there, the phenomenon of child soldiers in west africa, the Indonesian genocide at East Timor, on and on. and this is just the last 15 years.

i'd like to comment on the work, but i really can't. it hurts too bad to hear those guns and tanks. what hurts even worse is that they are very beautiful sounds. (this would change if i had to experience a bombing firsthand, I'm sure.)

nice political art.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmm... back to the story: Thomas Cadett reports for the BBC on the terrible devastation of Berlin, 5/9/45.

The sound file is attached.


The_devastation_of_Berlin_5.9_mp3.mp3
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ahhh yes... Once upon a time, long long ago, there were journalists. Shocked
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2004 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yup...
those were the days.. Shocked

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The music has been taken offline.
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