Who was/is Christof Stählin ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Christof Stählin

"Questioning the self-evident" (Self-description)

Christof Stählin did not want to be a songwriter at that time. "The word no longer has any pride, it stands for a kind of fashionable error," he wrote in 1978 in a book contribution. "You can't make a song that easy, and what you can make that easy is not a song." Therefore he prefers to call himself a singer "and don't let me put up with being assigned to a fashionable movement with a sloppy word, because I still want to sing in twenty years' time". Well, they have passed since then and the 'singer' and vihuela virtuoso - a Spanish Renaissance instrument considered to be the forerunner of the guitar - has made his peace with the word. He still finds it 'problematic', but, as he said in his lecture 'Liedermachen als Kunst', which he gave in January 2006 at a conference of the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing: "First of all, it has entered the bloodstream of our language and secondly, it makes no sense to distance oneself from something linguistically that needs cohesion in order to gain more space and recognition again".

When Christof Stählin, born in 1942, had his first appearances, the German-language song was in the process of gaining 'space and recognition'. Since 1960 he has performed in the duo Christof Stählin and Michael Wachsmann, not to be confused with Christopher and Michael. The two played English lute pieces, German Renaissance and Baroque songs as well as modern German and French chansons. With this program they were also invited to the Waldeck in 1965 and returned every year until 1968. Unlike Waldeckers like Degenhardt, Süverkrüp or Mossmann, his texts had a very personal tone. "Stählin's songs lack the didactic, the agitative impulse," wrote Thomas Rothschild in his book 'Liedermacher'. "They are more introverted than those of the actual political singers, less geared to direct communication." Nevertheless, the artist, who lives in Tübingen, by no means renounced criticism of contemporary phenomena. In 1976, he described the approach for his titles as follows: "I want to entertain my audience in a way that is as quiet as possible, but as haunting as possible. I try to draw the material for the pieces from the intermediate areas of life, from the cracks: Daydreams, shadows, foam, small hand movements. My attention moves where the most private is common to all, where the trivial turns into the mysterious. I seek society where it takes place in each individual, politics where it has a common root with supposedly non-political areas of life. Karl Valentin is my role model in questioning the self-evident, because the self-evident is the most sensitive side of any society. I want my listener to feel how close to him lies the border to the unexplored, yes, that it goes through him himself. It is a matter of overturning some things that are so firmly established in us: that fantasy is not precise, that dream is not concrete, that thinking is not sensual, that poetry and a critical view of the world do not belong together".

On record, the audience could convince themselves of Stählin's qualities in 1967, when his Degenhardt parody Makaber macht lustig became the title song of the sampler, which gave an acoustic overview of the young German singer-songwriter scene with titles by Schobert & Black, Reinhard Mey, Hannes Wader, Walter Hedemann and Walter Mossmann, among others. Stählin was, by the way, represented with two pieces on it. Recorded in 1973, Stählin's first LP with his own lyrics, 'Privatlieder', including the Sauregurkenzeit represented here, was released by Intercord in 1974. In it he practised an early critique of the student movement as a songwriter. But he also criticized the marketing of his songs. On the cover of the 'private songs' he wrote: "The commercial music market has its laws and its vocabulary. "None of this is likeable, but I didn't push myself into it anywhere either." Consequently, he founded his own publishing house - Nomen+Omen - in the mid-seventies. There he released his second LP 'Lieder für andere'. The song Verstopft is taken from her, in which Christof Stählin fights back with eloquence and irony against any appropriation. The last CD of the musician was released at the end of 2006: 'Stiller Mann - 14 Lieder'.

Christof Stählin has been involved in promoting young talent for many years. In 1989 he founded his own school for poetry and music - SAGO. She was at home in Friedberg/Bavaria until 2006 and has been accommodated in the Villa Musica Mainz under the care of the Mainzer Kultursommer since autumn of this year. Stählin wants to put young songwriters on the trail of the 'Sentipensando', which means something like 'feeling'. For Stählin, this is a way of "approaching the good things, which have less to do with logical chain conclusions, with which the discourse works, than with an instinct that detects good things".


Extract from
Various - songwriter in Germany
Vol.1, For whom we sing (3-CD)

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