“Concerto for String Orchestra” by Grażyna Bacewicz
“Serious songs” by Hanns Eisler
“Transfigured Night” by Arnold Schönberg
1 baritone – Johannes Kammler
1 string orchestra – HIDALGO Festival Orchestra
1 concertmaster – Johanna Pichlmair
13.09.2020 – HIDALGO Festival 2020
The HIDALGO Festival Orchestra plays abysmal works by Bacewicz, Eisler and Schönberg in a climbing hall. The young instrumentalists under conductor Johanna Malangré come from the BR Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian State Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, among others. The audience sits directly next to the orchestra and baritone Johannes Kammler (Stuttgart State Opera) – as far as hygiene rules allow.
We humans have a primal need to express ourselves. We want to communicate what we experience inside. Even unspoken things such as shame, disappointment and hopelessness need to come out of us. Art has the task of making this hidden world visible, tangible and audible. And because our lives really aren’t an Instagram feed, the music, our music, doesn’t have to be trivially beautiful, but raw, real and close. Our concert hall is not a museum temple, but a climbing hall where people usually sweat. Here they try to overcome body and mind and create impossible moves. In the end, they fall, and they know it.
In ABGRÜNDE we, orchestra and audience, plunge into deep ravines. We sit between boulder walls that rise above us like a canyon. We hear the “Concerto for String Orchestra”, with which the Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz explored the limits of the string orchestra in 1948. A work full of breathless, courageous energy, which is incredibly difficult to play, but sprays every imaginable color: chasing fast, then warm and soft, then immediately ghostly pale, often urgently dancing. We listen to the “Ernste Gesänge” by Hanns Eisler, who dissected laconic bitterness, disillusionment and resignation with an almost scientific coolness – which is perhaps worse than having the strength to shout out your suffering.
The songs with baritone are sparsely orchestrated and sound as if under a dull, gray cloud over GDR Berlin, where Eisler died a few months after the first performance in 1962. Finally, with Arnold Schönberg’s “Verklärter Nacht”, we reach the lowest point and everything imaginable in terms of darkness, fear and human error. The 25-year-old Schönberg, who later shaped atonal twelve-tone music, was himself on the edge of the abyss here in 1899: the work is highly romantic, but you can already sense the tendency to let everything collapse.
The cast corresponds to the usual artistic level of HIDALGO and its artist collective. The artists may vary depending on availability.