Ten years ago today, on November 24, 2011, songwriter Ludwig Hirsch died. Musician Oliver Welter (“Naked Lunch”) staged an appreciation show at the Rabenhof Theater in Vienna.

from Bernd Melichar | 6 a.m., November 24, 2021

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Come on, big black bird: Ludwig Hirsch died ten years ago
Come on, big black bird: Ludwig Hirsch died ten years ago © KK

You have already dealt with the creative universe André Heller and the “Planet Danzer”, now a homage to Ludwig Hirsch. Why he?
OLIVER WELTER: When Thomas Gratzer from the Rabenhof Theater asked me about the Heller and Danzer projects who I would like to work with, my spontaneous answer was: Ludwig Hirsch! Because he interests me most artistically and he is closest to me in his essence.

Oliver Welter staged one at the Rabenhof Theater in Vienna "Ludwig-Hirsch-Show"
Oliver Welter staged a “Ludwig Hirsch Show” at the Rabenhof Theater in Vienna Photo © Ingo Pertramer

How should you imagine your “Ludwig Hirsch Show”, which is currently paused due to the lockdown?
Together with the Rabenhof team, I dealt intensively with music and person. Although I honestly have to say that I especially appreciate his early work, that is, “Dark gray songs” and “Come on, the big black bird”. The songs on these albums have an incredible depth and, for me, Cohenian dimensions. Unbelievable, Hirsch was a relatively young man at the time, but the two records sound like an old work. That impressed me and probably also influenced me. And for all the tragic comedy of his songs, Hirsch always had a sense of humor, albeit often a very bitter one.

When “Dunkelgraue Lieder” appeared, they were eleven years old and have hardly heard this music. When did you first come across a deer song?
I must have been 16, 17 years old. A friend brought some deer platters. And when I heard that, by candlelight and a darkened room, I just thought: Wow! What is that? Such listening experiences are very rare in your life.

Kinship?
Sounds pathetic. But, yes, Ludwig Hirsch is kind of a soul mate for me. This melancholy mood is also inherent in me. Maybe that’s why I feel so close to his music.

How did you approach him musically?
I tried to core the songs and get the essence out. It was about pure deer for me. The show includes 15 songs, with spoken texts in between. But every word sung or spoken is by Ludwig Hirsch.

What is special about Ludwig Hirsch for you?
The black humor, this deeply Viennese, although he was not a native of Vienna. What was added to the Hirsch, however, was empathy, I wouldn’t necessarily attest that to the Viennese or Austrian.

Ludwig Hirsch always had a tender look at people in spite of the depths, that’s how I felt.
Yes, I am with you there. Although he had a dissecting view of society, he also had a big heart for outsiders, for freaks of all kinds.

Your Hirsch show currently has a compulsory lockdown break. When and where can you see it again?
So Corona wants on December 20 in the Rabenhof Theater. There will probably also be some guest performances in the federal states.

Can I safely ask you when there is a new “Naked Lunch” album? There is a persistent rumor that you and Herwig Zamernik cannot be allowed into the same room together, because otherwise there is a risk of murder and manslaughter.
Nonsense! I really appreciate the Herwig. And a new “Naked Lunch” album is expected to be available in autumn 2022.

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