My life, a path

Bulletin July 1998 | Text: Hubert von Goisern

He basically feels at home wherever there are mountains: songwriter Hubert von Goisern

Hubert von Goisern’s views on giving, walking, experiencing nature and the associated
interaction with his artistic creativity.

Hubert von Goisern

My life is and always has been movement, change. I have always travelled the world, become acquainted with many individuals, peoples and landscapes. That was always very important to me! For through travelling, you get a much more objective picture of your innermost self, and also of the in the environment in which you have grown up, which you call your homeland.

Wherever I have been, I have tried to have contact with nature, to soak it up. For nature makes my life beautiful and worth living. And to experience it fully and completely seems to me to be a good opportunity of approach for the feeling and thinking of people living in a certain landscape. For people are shaped by the landscape! And, what is important for my artistic creativity, is that the landscape shapes the music of the people and their form of expression.

I basically feel at home wherever there are mountains. Whether in Canada, the Philippines or in Nepal, when I haven’t seen mountains for a long time, I always feel somehow uprooted. But the landscape in which you have grown up is especially shaping. It is a privilege for me to have been born into one of the most sensational mountain landscapes in the world - into this inner Salzkammergut. It still gives me strength today, I still draw on the first 22 years of my life, which I spent there. In our engineered world, in which, it seems to me, only the measurable has grown, it lets me win back the substance of life and helps me to "recharge my batteries".

But to really experience a landscape with all senses, to be able to soak it up, you must "indulge" therein, know it inside out and take time for it. A long summer mountain walk often must have begun before sunrise in order to avoid the heat of the day a little. I must also force myself to get up very early, perhaps at four in the morning. I must adjust myself physically and mentally totally to what the route will demand of me.

When several hours of the route have been done and the sun rises, all the senses are already sharpened in order to soak up the vast number of impressions: the lush green of the mountain pasture or the crunch of the rock under foot, the quiet babbling of the nearby spring, the tweeting of the birds in the trees, the breath of the wind on your skin. The altered sound of your voice in the echo. The ascent is perhaps sweat-inducing; you feel your lungs working, you feel your whole body. Afterwards I will feel tired, but cleansed within.

Little by little you "find" your step. Large distances and constant climbs are now mastered almost automatically. Now the head is no longer occupied with walking; now the spirit is free to absorb impressions from the landscape, free for inspiration, free to merge this with the new sensory impressions, to form something new from it.

And walking also frees you from the constant distractions of our hectic time. Even when I go walking with friends, there's not much talking. Each person is with himself and occupied with nature. Only during the rest is what has been experienced spoken of, impressions exchanged. When you set off without accompaniment, you nevertheless seldom feel lonely; and if you do, then it even helps you to free your head more easily of all negative factors.

In nature, and especially in the mountains, I find all atmospheres and changes as in life. Many people in the city have lost the connection to time, or have set themselves totally different timescales. Here outside I still feel what will be and what has passed again very keenly. The basis for many of my songs (e.g. Heast as nit, Wieder Hoam, Weit, weit weg and Goisern) is quite certainly to be found in the greening-up and blossoming of the landscape in spring, the colouring and falling of the leaves in autumn, in the frosty silence of winter, but also in the meetings, repeated over long periods of time, with native "originals", which almost belong to the landscape themselves.

Walking, or rather, hiking is also to do with freedom and being free as far as I am concerned. Being able to "walk" where you want is closely connected to being able to "follow your visions and ideas" when walking and this again is connected to "being able to freely say what you want". A connection that was especially clear to me in the so illiberal Tibet.

My fascination with nature has probably also indirectly promoted my stage career. It is very logical that you want to communicate the impressions that move you, that you also want to tell other people, let them participate. And I can simply best express my feelings and experiences with music. The stage has become my nature, so to speak! And I have always "indulged" in this.