Home > History of ECEK > Dr. Albrecht Goetze

Photo: Paweł Sosnowski

dr Albrecht Goetze  (1942-2015) – the originator of the construction of the “MEETINGPOINT MUSIC MESSIAEN”, a friend of Polish.

He had a dream: to set up on the Neisse a music center for meetings of young Europeans. This is an ideal place, he says. Albrecht Goetze, born in Leipzig, lived throughout Europe, but 11 years ago he came to Görlitz and settled here. Albrecht Goetze is a literary historian, but also mechanic by trade, he also graduated from directing in England. For 35 years he led his comfortable life in Munich, he has left after 10 years, after his visit of Görlitz and Zgorzelec.

I am interested in music and one day by chance I came across of one of the works of Olivier Messiaen. The composer has piqued my interest, and when I got his partition and realized where it was created, I decided to visit this place. I’m not a Messiaen’s Fan. I’m a fan of music. In this case, however, suggested not only music my interest. // Goetze

Especially in Görlitz, in the suburb on the right bank, on the territory of the present town of Zgorzelec, in the early 40’s was the Nazi POW camp Stalag VIIIA. Here came the French composer Olivier Messiaen in captivity, here he presented his most famous work: “Quartet for the End of Time” (“Quatuor pour la fin du temps”). On January 15, 1941. This work was first performed in one of the camp barracks.

This is a work that redefined the classical music of the 20th century. It showed that a human being may survive the difficult times of life by showing power of his Spirit. Messiaen survived the terrible times in the camp thanks to his music. He was helped also by deep faith. In 2002, when I came here, I have discovered a new depth of the Catholic faith, even though I am not religious. On the way to Stalag I decided to stay here. // Goetze

Why? For this town, this music, Messiaen – he accentuated. Albrecht Goetze has set himself the task of forming an international center of music and education -MeetingPoint Music Messiaen- in Görlitz and Zgorzelec. Here should be organized by young people concerts, competitions and workshops for composers and multimedia art events and meetings. Olivier Messiaen and his music should be a guiding principle of this project. Zgorzelec and Görlitz are ideally suited for such a cultural project, according to the professor.

Between Poland and France, there is a centuries-old friendship, and on this foundation you can build the MeetingPoint Music Messiaen. // Goetze

The key point and also an integral part of the MeetingPoint shall be a memorial for the victims of the POW Camp (Stalag) VIIIA.

For 16 years I have been involved with a similar project in Dachau. This duration is already a proof that such a project is not one of the simplest. I am aware that we need 10-15 years to accomplish this task. But I also remember my childhood’s divided Europe and the time when I dreamed of the unification and integration of Europe. Zgorzelec / Görlitz is perfect to realize this idea. With music this could be really successful. // Goetze

To implement the idea of ​​MeetingPoint Music Messiaen in Görlitz, in fact, an association was founded under the same name. Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, the composer’s widow, has agreed to take over the patronage for the project. Thanks to the dedicated work of the club many interesting concerts were organized in Görlitz and Zgorzelec. The last concert was held according to the tradition on 15 January of the current year at  Stalag VIIIA, just on the anniversary of the premiere of the work “Quartet for the End of Time”.


Interview with Dr. Albrecht Goetze

Who are you?
A person who has seen how Europe in the minds of people was divided into East and West. Terrible times. In Berlin, I went to grammar school, separated from my family, who lived in Eastern Germany. To Zgorzelec-Goerlitz I moved because I wanted to experience how Europe is growing together. Through the Meeting Point Music Messiaen project suddenly we may help to form an important part of this process.

Why do you like the music of Olivier Messiaen?
This music gives tremendous power and lets us hear the courage of a man who builds his own sound world. This music always sounds fresh to my ears, like fresh water from a source: it’s always the same source, the same water, but the taste is always fresh and invigorating, like the first time. Every human being is as such a source, but the source of Messiaen is truly unique. Just as there are wonderful sources in Europe, in Germany and Poland, to drink in bottles, so we have to hear this wonderful music source, either in the concert hall or on CD. The concert hall, I prefer.

Why do you have moved to Zgorzelec?
I came to Zgorzelec by train from Munich, because I wanted to see this place, where Olivier Messiaen created his “Quartet for the End of Time”. I studied in Munich, then for 35 years I lived in London, Hamburg and Paris, where I worked in a wonderful house with a park. In order to see the place where Olivier Messiaen has composed, I went by foot from the station to the Stalag VIIIA Görlitz. On the way back I decided to leave Munich and to move here.

What do you feel when you hear the music of Olivier Messiaen?
Although this is difficult to imagine for others: with every fiber of my heart I feel that what is the most inexplicable in the universe: to be a human being, a personality, as if my whole inner net is energized.

How did you come up with the idea to deal with the POW camp Stalag VIII A in Zgorzelec?
Because I read on the last page of the notation of the work “Quartet for the End of Time” that it was completed on 15 January 1941 at Stalag VIIIA in the former Görlitz. I really wanted to come to the place where this music was composed. Then I found the book by Hannelore Lauerwald “In Strange Land”. I became aware of  the interpenetration of the opposites: the horror of the war – and in the midst of this horror a galactic music that inspires to think. Then I got acquainted to the wonderful and humble Professor Roman Zgłobicki from Zgorzelec. Our history workshops are built on his knowledge. And since then our knowledge and memory of StalagVIIIA and Messiaen’s music for Zgorzelec and Görlitz, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, but also for all of Europe grows, which is affected by the project.

What is your profession?
My first job was as professor of German literature. I studied in Munich, and made my doctorate Magister, then Iworked for five years as lecturer at the Wagner College Staten Iceland / New York. Then I worked as theater director and teacher at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and London, and finally at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. After that I completed an apprenticeship as a toolmaker and made my master – my masterpiece, a gadget, was built for BMW Munich and is now at the museum. And then I started to compose.

With what did you occupy yourself?
In addition to my professional work I have written and published literature and much painted. But then slowly came the interest in music. I’ve done a lot of traveling, a lot of dancing and lived very intensely. And now from morning till night I deal with music.

Which music do you hear?
Depeche Mode, OMD and China Crisis. I especially like listening to accordion, music of Bach, especially his oratorios, organ works, his compositions for piano, operas by Mozart. I like music of contemporary composers from all countries, music of Iannis Xenakis. The most mysterious and mystic composer for me is Edgar Varèse is: I adore him.

Author: Karolina Krążyńska

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