Musik der Jahrhunderte, Stuttgart, Germany
During his residency at Villa Aurora 2001 author Michael Lentz wrote a novel on the former exiles at Marta and Lion Feuchtwanger’s villa – Bertold Brecht, the Manns, Franz Werfel, Alma Mahler and many more. Russian composer Sergej Newski, himself a Villa grant recipient in Summer 2014, used the novel’s psychograms as a basis for a piece of work that alternates between music theatre, literature and installation. In collaboration with Lentz Newski compacts the texture of the novel into a virtuoso, imaginary dialog between six individualists, caught between hope and fear and between fantasies of omnipotence and experiences of impotence. Their states of mind are reflected by Newski in multilayered tonal structures. Here he is able to build on the enormous experience of the Neue Vocalsolisten with experimental vocal techniques. His musical language moves between recitation and song, alternating between traditional vocal sounds and noises that are electronically compacted by projecting the voices into other rooms. The Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation is supporting the composition commission issued to Newski. Joining the main work of the project – which is composed for the rooms of Villa Aurora but will also be adapted for other venues – are two other pieces of work that explore the relationship between music and literature: Cathy Milliken discovers Pablo Picasso as a poet and Mauro Lanza composes on the basis of Goethe’s Italian Journey.