Sunday, 24 January 2010

Vienna to Weimar, Kings Place

This week's theme at Kings Place is "Vienna to Weimar" a subject I'm passionately interested in. As usual with Kings Place, top performers are the exception rather than the rule, but there'll be a rare chance to hear the Artis-Quartett Wien on Friday in Berg's famous Lyric Suite and a Zemlinsky String Quartet plus, really interesting, Wellesz and Weigl String Quartets. There's a story behind the Wellesz but let them tell that.

The other big concert for me is the song recital on 27th with Christian Immler, whom I have heard before, but what a wonderful programme. My beloved Eisler! And not the most famous songs, either. If I have time I'll wrote more about this programme because most of it isn't generally familiar, and each of the composers is very different. Lots and lots to talk about. Even the two Goldschmidt songs (Ein Rosenweig and Nebelweben) carry "stories". The Krenek songs come from a cycle I've written lots about over the years. It's one of his best works and should be heard more frequently, but in many ways doesn't really fit into the "Vienna/Weimar" concept though it deals with Schubertian Austria on the verge of Hitler.

There'll also be movies, the new art form of the period. Most of these films are classics, which most people will have seen before, like Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Unfortunately there are many clashes, so if you go to the song concert you'll miss the film of Die Dreigroschenoper. But on the other hand maybe that's not such a loss as the film is softer than the original. There are clips of the film HERE and a commentary.

Ssssh I shouldn't say this if you're buying tickets, but several of the other films have long been available on this site as full downloads, with commentary.

For Die blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) see HERE.

For Berlin : Die Sinfonie der Grosstadt, please see HERE, with a long commentary. At present I'm doing something on black people in France and Germany at the time, There were thousands. A number were fairly successful professional actors, who made movies well into the Nazi period. Not all voluntarily, but still they should be remembered.

There are also films from the Fritz Lang triology about Dr Mabuse. In many ways these are even more fascinating than the more famous Dr Caligari, because the storylines are more complex and Dr Mabuse is a kind of symbol of evil.

Because film was such a new form, there weren't many models to copy, so many films in this era were pioneering. From the start Germans seemed to realize that films could be art as well as short term entertainment. Also on this site you can see Nosferatu, the greatest vampire movie of all, made in 1921/2 when the 1840's were within human memory. Click HERE.

And, of course the very important Kuhle Wampe, with music by Eisler and text by Bertholt Brecht, which is HERE. This is an amazing movie, take time to savour it.

Lots more to come!

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