He plays the piano with his astral body

Photo: MM

It’s an entertaining idea: a city festival visitor from the long queue at the Dynamo Dresden market stall enters the Kulturpalast and sees that the concert will begin in fifteen minutes in the Great Hall, so: buy a ticket (cheap in order), a balloon and a hat hidden in the wardrobe – and go Away!

What is there to experience on a Sunday morning? Contemporary (or nearly contemporary) piano pieces alternate with poems by Hoechl, Bachmann, Rumkorff (“I play the piano with my astral body”), Insensberger or Rosenlicher. Cut the short characters first (Friedrich Goldmann: “four piano pieces”), which exhausts the instrument in terms of sound and mechanics. A first-time listener will not be able to recognize any structures here. Everything seems fragmented, the rhythm and tone are outstanding.

Steffen Schleiermacher, whom I think I last heard in the Blood-Red Hall of the Museum of Cleanliness, shares the big stage in front of a sparsely populated hall this morning with actor Eric Brunner, slowly getting used to the Fifties (Paul Celan): “I heard a saying”) through the sixties, seventies and finally The Eighties by Angela Krause, “Montagesnacht”. It was written in 1989 and represents the chronological conclusion of the concert, dedicated to piano music and literature from East and West Germany in a cleverly balanced way. Luckily moderated – because without explanations, without composers’ names, experts could only locate music here or there (logically, this is more successful with lyrics).

But anyone who now suggests creating a corresponding guess party on the spot—like a game in which you have to decide whether a painting is a contemporary work of an art college graduate or an elephant from Hanover Zoo—misjudges the actual function of the installations: last but not least, in a cultural work of works Selected adapted more or less by societies of composers and writers (East) or vulgar social expectations (West). Followers (Or just for the stairs? Watch the evening concerts with works by Christfried Schmidt) to create their inner world with individual forms of expression that may only be valid here. In this respect, these pieces are justified in the concert hall from the perspective of contemporary history only. But now they lack a stage background, their antithesis. Today, thirty years after the collapse of part of the country and two generations of composers after young Stockhausen and young Rem, one can hardly find a key to them. Perhaps it was easier to understand in contrast to the work of Louis Vornberg, Otmar Gerster or Ernst Hermann Mayer. From Kurt Barthel to Kurt Bartsch, so to speak.

Schleiermacher’s tentative presentations at times seemed sober, semi-ironic, due to the ignorance of West German visitors who had attended his concerts for the past 30 years. But music critics have also earned a bad reputation; After all, someone heard the Leipzig revolution in his “Piano Piece 1990”. I do not find this explanation too stupid: you can hear how something here gradually collapses after exhausting repetition, after routine operations that have been consumed. Angela Krause evoked in her poem The Beginning of Coming Beginnings.

Yes, what is the party? A sneak peek into the past, often failed initial attempts? It made me sad and sad. It was hardly the situation that composers and poets aspired to.

Martin Morgenstern

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