Stefan Dohr / fot. Simon Pauly
Stefan Dohr / fot. Simon Pauly
Orchestral concerts
Depths of the Soul
25.04
Fri.
7:00 PM
NFM, Main Hall
Programme:

A. Schönberg A Survivor from Warsaw op. 46*
J. Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem op. 45 

Performers:

Christoph Eschenbach – conductor
Soloists  
Aleksandra Zamojska
– soprano
Michael Nagy
– baritone 
Michael Nagy
– narrator*
NFM Choir
Lionel Sow
– artistic direction of NFM Choir
NFM Wrocław Philharmonic

Duration:
100 minut
Venue:
NFM, Main Hall
plac Wolności 1, 50-071 Wrocław

Christoph Eschenbach, together with the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic and the NFM Choir, will present two works that have a serious character, great emotional depth and a humanistic message. The first of them is A Survivor from Warsaw by Arnold Schoenberg, a leading avant-garde artist working in the first half of the 20th century. About A German Requiem, its creator, Johannes Brahms, once said that perhaps he should call it a “human requiem”.

A Survivor from Warsaw by Arnold Schoenberg is a work for narrator, choir and orchestra from 1947, dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. The composer wrote the text himself, noting that it was based on testimonies he received directly or indirectly. At the end, he added one of the most important Jewish prayers in Hebrew – Shema Yisroel. In Schoenberg’s words, the work is a warning “to all Jews to never forget what was done to them and never to forget that even people who did not do it personally consented to it and found it necessary to treat us this way. We should never forget this, even if it happened in a different way than I describe in A Survivor. It does not matter. The most important thing is that I saw it in my imagination.” The radicalism of the musical language used by the composer is completely in line with the subject matter he undertakes. Despite its short duration, A Survivor from Warsaw speaks with musical depth.

Johannes Brahms was an artist commonly associated with musical conservatism, and yet the avant-gardist Schoenberg considered him one of the most important composers of the second half of the 19th century. In 1933, he even gave a radio lecture entitled Progressive Brahms, in which he pointed out the artist’s ability to build large forms from a very limited number of elements, which he called the technique of “permanent variation”. It became an impulse for the development of dodecaphony, which we will hear in A Survivor from Warsaw. Yet A German Requiem is a very unusual work in many respects. The music is meditative in nature, filled with melancholy and devoid of dramatic, pathos-filled images of the Last Judgment known from the funeral masses of Mozart, Berlioz, or Verdi. Brahms abandoned liturgical texts and instead used German translations of the psalms prepared by Martin Luther. His choral style is also completely different from the quasi-operatic liturgical music written by many other composers. His experience in writing music intended for choral groups is obvious, but its expression is completely different. The same applies to solo voices – they are embedded in the sound of the choir and orchestra, so they are not mere show-offs. Brahms’s contemporaries were a bit disappointed because of this, but it cannot be denied that the result was a composition carrying powerful emotions that touch the depths of the soul.

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