12. March 2010

Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche

Lichtzwang Koehne quartet

KOEHNE quartet: Joanna Lewis, Anne Harvey-Nagl (violin); Elaine Koene (viola); Mara Kronick (violoncello)

To a concert of silent sounds, unspoken words and unspeakable pain the Koehne Quartet unites string quartets by Dmitri Schostakowitsch, Luciano Berio and Alfred Schnittke. The Russian composer Schostakowitsch’s eighth string quartet was composed in only three days under the strong influence of memories of Second World War events, when in the summer of 1960 he was residing in the city of Dresden—still marked with destruction—in order to work on the music for the film “Five days – five nights”. The string quartet—officially dedicated to “the memory of the victims of fascism and war”, unofficially dedicated by the composer to the composer himself as a “piece of memento” of his “coming death”—gave expression to the vibrating pain in people facing places of human destruction. The deep and dark sounds contrast with the bright sounds still reflecting the fireball Dresden had transformed into under the hail of bombs during World War II. “Molto lontano”, from a distance, sounds Luciano Berio’s “Notturno” which the Italian composer uses to dive into the night’s world of shadows, in the silence of which the silhouettes of fragmentary conversations and dark thoughts crescendo to acute intensity. “To her the silenced word” is a line from Paul Celan’s poetry work placed in front of the musical work which, despite motionless sounds, slowly moves and in its fine nuances of timbres and abrupt accord modulations brings shimmering lights to the nightly dark. With his second string quartet the Volga German composer Alfred Schnittke reacted to the shocking news of the accidental death of his friend and film director Larissa Schepitko. A cantus condenses into a lament; sequences from the old Russian church singing turn into micro-polyphonic outcries; unstable steps of a musical scale merge into a vague and wordless choir. Flaring choral voices turn heavenwards.

In cooperation with Ludwig Ritter von Köchel-Gesellschaft

Musik in Krems 2010