Concert as Part of a Conference on Andrey Platonov
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde e.V., Berlin, Germany
Supported by the EvS Music Foundation the concert is part of a multi-strand project on the rediscovery of Andrey Platonov. It will be held as part of the international, interdisciplinary conference Utopie und Gewalt. Werk und Wirkung des Schriftstellers Andrej Platonow (Utopia and Violence. The Work and Impact of the Writer Andrey Platonov) to mark the publication of a newly translated key work by the author. A quarter of a century since the dissolution of the USSR the early phase of the Soviet period is to be in focus – as a point of departure of a utopian blueprint of society that led to the absolute unleashing of political and social violence. Like no other author Platonov (1899–1951) allows us to feel the atmosphere of this epoch. The Russian revolution that affected all areas of life in this vast country, the struggle for a “new sky and a new earth,” finds tremendous expression in his work.
As late as the 1990s Russian composers began to turn to texts by Andrey Platonov. The spectrum of the musical process ranges from setting Lieder to music through to the transformation of the words and sentences into sound material. The semantic chasm between the “eternal sun” of the communist world order and that of people who were tormented by “Wind und Kummer” (Wind and Sorrow) is indeed made physically palpable in the pieces by Dmitri Kourliandski (Innermost Man/Sokrovennyj čelovek; 2002) and Vladimir Tarnopolski (Čevengur; 2002). You imagine you can hear screeching and whimpering, recognize snatches of a war song that is squelched into the machinery, you hear the sound of a soul whose distorted, intakes of breath are suffocated. Nevertheless, their music is neither programmatic nor illustrative. It is the sound material of the music per se that is best suited to give staggering shape to Platonov, the “secret man”. Alongside pieces by Kourliandski and Tarnopolski there will also be a performance of Alexander Vustin’s Three Songs, for voice and ensemble, text from Andrey Platonov’s novel Chevengur.
As a contrast to these pressingly compact, gloomy pieces, the Neophon Ensemble will be performing the works of two composers of the older, also teaching generation (for instance, Edison Denissov and Valentin Silvestrov).
December 2, 2016
Akademie der Künste Berlin, Pariser Platz, Berlin, Germany