The Art of Fear - Music in Stalin's Russia
Music for All - Music in FDR's America
The third section begins in January 1936. Joseph Stalin walks into his private box at the Bolshoi in Moscow. The performance is ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk’, a dark, sexually explicit and violent opera by Dmitri Shostakovich. Following Act Three, in which the Czarist police arrest people at will, Stalin stands up and leaves the theatre. “The listener is flabbergasted by the deliberately dissonant, muddles stream of sounds,” writes Pravda. The composer is described as playing a game which “may end very badly”. In the course of the 20th century Dmitri Shostakovich would be regarded as a propagandist for the Soviet system as well as its most significant musical victim. In the composer Shostakovich a key figure makes his entrance on the European stage and with him the question of the relationship between music and ideology.
The global bestseller ‘The Rest is Noise’ by American music critic Alex Ross takes us on a vast, pulsating journey through the last century. A voyage into the labyrinth of new music and its links to the social and political upheavals of the 20th century. Its title echoes Hamlet’s final words (“The rest is silence”) and in the broadest sense the prejudice that new music is simply noise. However, by “listening to the twentieth century” - the book’s subtitle - we also re-experience history: the major figures, the fateful shifts, the utopian dreams from 1900 to the present day. Alex Ross takes us to Vienna before the outbreak of the Great War, to the Paris of the Twenties, to Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia. We discover New York City in the Sixties and Seventies and futuristic globalization before the turn of the century. The result is the history of a century told through its music.
The Ruhrtriennale will visit over six months outside the festival period six theatres of the region: Schauspiel Dortmund, Schauspiel Essen, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Schlosstheater Moers, Theater an der Ruhr and Theater Oberhausen. The first collaboration of the six theatres of the Ruhr since the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 is also their first collaboration in this form with the Ruhrtriennale, supported by the Bochumer Symphoniker. Johan Simons will, together with his team of dramaturgs, develop six new instalments of his successful series of readings ‘The Rest is Noise’, which was first presented at the Münchner Kammerspiele. Here in the Ruhr region, ‘The Rest is Noise’ will take place once a month from November 2015 to April 2016 on a Thursday in one of the participating theatres. Actors from the resident company will read, with musical accompaniment by members of the Bochumer Symphoniker and the musician Carl Oesterhelt. The director will be the Ruhrtriennale’s Artistic Director Johan Simons.
A literary and musical journey in stages. Through the Ruhr region, through the world and through the music of the 20th century.
The readings by the Münchner Kammerspiele were based on text versions by Matthias Günther, Julia Lochte, Tobias Staab, Koen Tachelet and Jeroen Versteele.