HIBERNO GOETHE: GERMAN IRISH CONVERSATIONS
This Podcast dives into the many colours of arts, language and life across cultures. St. Pauli fan and former Düsseldorfer Ciarán Murray and his guests explore the connecting moments of German and Irish life. What do musicians, dancers, artists, writers pick up from either culture? How are they inspired and enriched by the other? For all listeners who like to go and think beyond borders.
Episode 5 Hiberno Goethe: Don Morgan
This episode features Donnchadh Morgan, barrister at law, son of the late Dermot Morgan and German mother Susanne Morgan (nee Garmatz). Donnchadh tells us of his experience of his German Irish cultural world, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant from his grandparents' stories of leaving Silesia and Pomerania to his mother’s journey from Hamburg to the Dublin Horse Show, where she met his father.
Ciarán and Donnchadh talk about some of the changes in Ireland; from the grim 1980's with no real coffee, to the schickimicki (fancy) present; the concept of the Wutbürger (the angry German citizen) when something ends up as a Schlamassel (cock-up) like the delayed construction of the Elbphilharmonie; how Germans take the world seriously but can be very loyal and funny, and even romantic, in a 19th Century kind of way.
Feeling European and with the apron strings ripped from Ireland as the UK exits the EU, Donnchadh sees a lot of opportunities for stronger ties between Ireland and Germany ‘We gave them Christianianty, we might as well give them more butter.’
· Stefan Zweig: Sternstunden der Menschheit („Decisive Moments in History“) – Admittedly Zweig is Austrian, but this book was ever present on my grandparents’ shelf.
· Album: Die Mathematik der Anna Depenbusch (best song: “Tim liebt Tina”). In fact, anything by Anna Depenbusch. She exemplifies the German overlooked ability to be both playful and profound with the German language.
· Claudia Rusch: Meine Freie Deutsche Jugend; engaging and often funny memoir of growing up in East Germany.
· The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Rudolf Erich Raspe); Erich Kästner did a great retelling of these tall tales.
· Heinrich Böll: Irish Journal/Irisches Tagebuch – the book is more about Germany than Ireland, and still informs how many Germans see Ireland. Some Irish people find his representations of Ireland as problematic, but I think exemplifies a naïve fascination with Ireland that exists even today.
· Hugo Hamilton: The Speckled People. The conflict of identity for people of my parentage has never been matched in prose as in Hamilton’s poignant (and triggering!) memoir.
· Walter Kempowski: Alles umsonst/All for Nothing; Günther Grass: Im Krebsgang/Crabwalk; Svenja O’Donnell: Inge’s War. All dealing with the expulsion of Germans from east of the river Oder at the end of World War 2 in very different ways. The latter is relatively new and on my list for this year.
Episode 4 Hiberno Goethe: Ulrike Gasser
This month Ciarán is joined by Ulrike Gasser, the newly appointed director of the Goethe-Institut Irland and now proud Dublin Northsider.
Originally from Munich, Ulrike identifies with and appreciates many other cultures, especially the Middle East. Having worked with artists in Ankara and Istanbul she learned to understand and speak Turkish which Ulrike describes as very poetic with many symbols and pictures. They chat about some particularities of Bavaria; about Turkish Germany, and how the Middle East has been and still is often portrayed inaccurately, the joy of books and other artforms and the way Germans celebrate Christmas with the Christkind and Krampus (bad Santa).
Ulrike reads a section by Heinrich Boell, the post WWII author whose work started the vibe about Ireland in Germany.
Episode 4 on Spotify
Episode 3 Hiberno Goethe: John Scott
This episode features John Scott, choreographer and artistic director of Irish Modern Dance Theatre.
As a son of artistic parents and being exposed to the Abbey Theatre from a young age, John’s love for dance started after being introduced to Kurt Jooss’s masterpiece The Green Table.
He talks about great dancers, choreographers and musicians and the influence they had on his life.
John remembers his first time in Germany in the early 1980s and being amazed by the importance that is afforded to culture in Germany; the beautiful dance spaces, wonderful theatres, opera houses, and bookshops.
Ciarán and John talk about the challenges and joy of becoming a dancer and later on a Heldentenor. They chat about German films, books, food, and the different landscapes in the German countryside. John recites a part of Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio in which Fidelio rescues her husband Florestan from a prison. Having a close alignment to the German language, John describes it as both spiritual and rich as well as dark in some of its more menacing sounds.
We hear about the challenges of COVID restrictions in the dance world, how dancers can no longer touch each other during performances, but mask wearing has its place in dance. For John it’s not all negative, it teaches him to look at obstacles in a different way for going forward in future
Episode 3 on Spotify
1a - Dances for Inside and Outside: my Pandemic choreography
2 - The White Piece (one of my works with Survivors of Torture
3 - It is better to, choreographed by German choreographer Thomas Lehmen for IMDT
4 - Gott, Welch dunkel hier! Aria from Beethoven’s Fidelio sung my me
5 - Dark, Netflix German series
6 - Pina Bausch - seminal German choreographer
7 - William Forsythe, Seminal US choreographer based for many years in Frankfurt/Dresden
8 - Dance On Ensemble: important Berlin based ensemble
9 - Susanne Linke - seminal German choreographer
10 - Joint Adventures - important German dance production agency based in Munich
11 - Fassbinder Foundation: Foundation for German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder
12 - Bauhaus Movement history
13 - Beethoven - article from The Guardian
14 - Wagner - Beyrouth Festival
15 - William Forsythe: One Flat Thing (excerpt filmed at Bockenheimer Depot, Frankfurt Main)
16 - William Forsythe: The Loss of Small Detail finale
17 - Pina Bausch: Sacre du Printemps extract
18 - Introduction to the work of Heiner Muller
19 - Wagner: Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, Conducted by Daniel Barenboim, Directed by Heiner Muller
20 - Wagner: Ride of the Walkures
Episode 2 Hiberno Goethe: German Ambassador Deike Potzel
This month Ciarán is talking with the German Ambassador Deike Potzel, who, ever since her inter-railing in Europe shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, had an interest in Irish people, history and even its language. They talk about the Irish border, the ambassador's growing up in East Berlin and the rise of the far right. We hear how stereotypes of Germans seem to be the same in Dublin, Singapore or Tehran and about the importance of confronting our past and need for open debates for cultural understanding.
They talk about the beauty of the Baltic sea, especially the car free picturesque island Hiddensee, Brittas Bay in Wicklow and many great German and Irish writers that inspire Deike, some of them enjoyed particularly with a glass of wine.
While she doesn't miss much specifically from Germany, certainly not Sülze, but maybe cherry jam, East Berlin and the DDR will always be an important part of her identity.
Episode 2 on Spotify
Hugo Hammilton: The Speckled People; Heinrich Boell: Irish Journal; Stan Nadolny: The Discovery of Slowness; Daniel Kehlmann: Measuring the world, (a wonderful book about Alexander von Humboldt, won many awards, made into a movie); Daniel Kehlmann: Tyll (translated; about Till Eulenspiegel and the 30year-war in Europe); Jenny Erpenbeck: Go, Went, Gone; Julie Zeh; Dörte Hansen: This House is mine; Ferdinand von Schirach: Terror (and many other crime stories); Bernhard Schlink: The Reader, made into a movie with Kate Winslet); Lutz Seiler: Kruso; Eugen Ruge: In times of Fading Light; Wladimir Kaminer: many, many books,; Uwe Timm: The invention of curried sausage; Peter Schneider: The Walljumper; a guy going back and forth between East and West Berlin in times of the wall)
Some classics – but from the 20th century:
Hans Fallada: Alone in Berlin, wonderful story about a couple in resistance fight to Hitler)
Siegfried Lenz: The German lesson
Christa Wolf: Kassandra (and others)
Stefan Heym: any of his books
Walter Kempowski: any of his books
Die Ärzte; Die Toten Hosen; Paul van Dyck; Seed; The Boss Hoss; Udo Lindenberg; Herbert Groenemeyer; Marius Mueller-Westernhagen; Annenmaykantereit; Nena; Silbermond; Juli; Die Fantastischen Vier; Sarah Connor; Mark Forster
Episode 1 Hiberno Goethe: Sharon Carty
Ciarán chats with mezzo soprano singer Sharon Carty. We first hear how she went from PE teacher to opera singer and about her growing up with country music, Willie Nelson and ‘Wailing’ Jennings! They chat about encountering German at school, and the grammar, the ‘Der, die, das, die’, and how her love of the language grew, especially as she began to sing opera in German. They drift into talking about performing, and the amazing frocks and making sure that you always have a spare dress. They talk about how her experience of living in Vienna and Frankfurt differs from life in Ireland, and about how opera is perceived differently in these countries. Sharon tells how some of the Lieder (the opera songs) come from poetry, sometimes very moving poems, and she reads a beautiful poem Winterabend, by Karl Gottfried von Leitner.
Episode 1 on Spotify
Intro Episode Hiberno Goethe: Oya Demirci
Ciarán Murray speaks to Goethe-Institut Irland head librarian Oya Demirci. They chat about music, food, dancing, books, James Joyce of course, and the inspiration and impact of living across different cultures. Oya talks about her idea for the series, and the plans for upcoming guests who have one foot in German culture and the other foot in Irish culture.
Intro Episode on Spotify