Hajnal Németh

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choral performance, NGBK Berlin


False Testimony (one Version of the Version)

Choral performance, 20', NGBK, Berlin, 2012

The choral performance is based on an actual historical event and the dialogue of a film referring to it. Between 1882 and 1883 the blood libel and show trial of Tiszaeszlár took place in Hungary. Today known as the “Tiszaeszlár Affair”, its fame was spread across Europe, greatly influencing the later developments of Antisemitism in Hungary. A firsthand description of the trial is provided by Károly Eötvös's novel, who, as defence lawyer, had the culprits acquitted.

The film “Verzió” (1981) by Miklós Erdély refers to this case, especially the inculcation of the testimony upon the 14-year-old crown witness Móric Scharf. The boy stated that the Jews killed a girl in order to use her blood at the approaching Passover.

The lyrics for the songs are based on rephrased fragments of the film’s dialogues. The structure of the piece follows the method of secret inculcation and forced learning: mastering the false testimony; the validation of a lie on the level of testimony; the course of the fictitious conception through the psyche, its registration by external and internal forces, its development into conviction and its ultimate and fatal proclamation.


Author: Hajnal Németh

Composer: Reinhard Hoffmann

Assistant: Annette Wiegand

Performers: Tobias Müller-Kopp (baritone) as Kálmán Péczely, court clerk; Christian Miebach (tenor) as Móric Scharf, crown witness; The Heilig-Kreuz-Chor as the tussling psyche

Chorus-master: Reinhard Hoffmann

View: NGBK, Berlin, 2012

Photo: Hajnal Németh