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Thursday 11 November 2010 8.

00pm
Barbican Hall

Gyrgy Kurtg
Kafka-Fragments

Dawn Upshaw soprano


Geoff Nuttall violin
Peter Sellars director

David Michalek

David Michalek photography


Anna Kiraly costume design
James F. Ingalls lighting design
Jenny Lazar production stage manager
Diane J. Malecki producer

Kafka Fragments was produced by Carnegie Hall in


association with Old Stories: New Lives, and received its
premiere on 10 January 2005 in Zankel Hall.
This revival of Kafka Fragments has been commissioned by
the Barbican Centre, KVS Theater and Romaeuropa.

this evenings programme

Gyrgy Kurtg (born 1926)


Kafka-Fragments (19857)
Text by Franz Kafka (18831924)

Part 1

16 Keine Rckkehr

8 So fest

1 Die Guten gehn im gleichen


Schritt
2 Wie ein Weg im Herbst

17 Stolz (1910/15 November, Zehn Uhr)

9 Verstecke (Double)

18 Trumend hing die Blume


(Hommage Schumann)

10 Penetrant Jdisch

3 Verstecke

19 Nichts dergleichen

4 Ruhelos
5 Berceuse I
6 Nimmermehr (Excommunicatio)
7 Wenn er mich immer frgt

Part 2

11 Staunend sahen wir das grosse Pferd


12 Szene in der Elektrischen
(1910: Ich bat im Traum die Tnzerin
Eduardowa, sie mchte doch den
Csrds noch einmal tanzen )

1 Der wahre Weg (Hommage-message


Pierre Boulez)

Part 4

8 Es zupfte mich jemand am Kleid

1 Zu spt: 22 Oktober 1913

9 Die Weissnherinnen

Part 3

10 Szene am Bahnhof

1 Haben? Sein?

11 Sonntag, den 19 Juli 1910


(Berceuse II): Hommage Jeney

2 Der Coitus als Bestrafung:


Canticulum Mariae Magdalenae

4 Aus einem alten Notizbuch

12 Meine Ohrmuschel

3 Meine Festung

5 Leoparden

13 Einmal brach ich mir das Bein


(Chassidischer Tanz)

4 Schmutzig bin ich, Milena

6 In memoriam Joannis Pilinszky

5 Elendes Leben (Double)

7 Wiederum, Wiederum

6 Der begrenzte Kreis

8 Es blendete uns die Mondnacht

3 In memoriam Robert Klein

14 Umpanzert
15 Zwei Spazierstcke
(Authentisch-plagal)

2 Eine lange Geschichte

7 Ziel, Weg, Zgern

programme note

Fragments of a life
Searching for the heroic in the midst of the mundane
Nimmermehr
Nevermore, nevermore, will you return to the cities,
nevermore will the great bell
resound above you.
Part 1 Fragment 6

In the closing lines of his quintessentially Modernist


masterpiece The Waste Land (1922), the poet T. S. Eliot
alludes to the myth of the Fisher King retold in Frasers
The Golden Bough, a nursery rhyme about London Bridge
falling down, Dantes Divine Comedy, a late Latin poem that
includes a version of the violent story of Tereus, Procne and
Philomela, a sonnet by Grard de Nerval, the Upanishads
and Thomas Kyds bloody revenge play The Spanish
Tragedy. High art slums it with popular culture across
two millennia. And buried within these rich allusions that
Eliot has mined from the Western tradition comes the line,
These fragments I have shored against my ruins.
For Eliot, convinced of the collapse of the European cultural
tradition after the slaughter of the First World War, it was a
question of sauve qui peut every man for himself in the
sense of drawing artistic and perhaps spiritual consolation
from whatever fragments could be rescued from the great
tradition that stretched back to Classical Greece and indeed
beyond, to ancient Hindu texts. Something of the same idea
is perhaps present, too, in Yeatss line Things fall apart; the
centre cannot hold from The Second Coming, which was
published just a year before The Waste Land. What was
once whole has collapsed, leaving the artist scrabbling

through a heap of cultural debris as he tries to make sense


of the modern age.
Thomas Stearns Eliot and William Butler Yeats, Modernists
to the nibs of their fountain pens, may seem an odd pair
of writers with whom to embark upon a journey through
Gyrgy Kurtgs Kafka-Fragments, which was completed in
1987. But we might remember that Kurtgs musical hero has
always been Bartk, with whom he had hoped to study, and
that Webern another arch-Modernist composer has
stood at the Romanian-born composers shoulder for the
greater part of his professional life. Then, during his time in
Paris (19578), when he studied with Messiaen and Milhaud,
Kurtg came to admire the work of Samuel Beckett
arguably the greatest dramatist of the second half of the
20th century.
What binds these writers to Kurtg, and to an extent to
Bartk and Webern too, is the idea of the fragment. But
whereas for Eliot and Yeats and Beckett it induces a deep
pessimism about creativity and the human condition, for
Kurtg it is at worst a fact of life and at best another way of
thinking about the world. As Peter Sellars, who has staged
this performance of the Kafka-Fragments says, Of course
the fragment is one of the key elements in art because the
fragment is eloquent. Its not only what can be said but what
cannot be said; not only what the evidence is but what the
missing evidence is; not only what we claim but also what
we cannot claim; not only the illusion of a story but the
understanding that this is only part of a story. Indeed, any
story that were telling turns out to be part of a story. So the
fragment is the pice de rsistance of the 20th century.

programme note

Ziel, Weg, Zgern


There is a destination, but no path to it;
what we call a path is hesitation.
Part 3 Fragment 7

What, then, is the story that Kurtg spins from his Kafka
fragments, short gnomic passages taken from the Czech
writers diaries and letters, some of which are no more than
a single sentence and when set to music last little more
than a minute, sometimes less (the shortest is a mere
10 seconds)? Someone once remarked that all of this
composers vocal compositions are shadow operas, but
writing in the programme for the first performance of
tonights production at Carnegie Hall in New York with
Dawn Upshaw as the soprano soloist, the critic Paul Griffiths
suggested another musical model for the Kafka-Fragments.
How often the imagery in the music as in the text, is of
journeying. The great song-cycle of the early 19th century,
Schuberts Winterreise, was a travelogue. Here, from the late
20th century, is a successor. The journey, though, is all within.

shocking reversals and change-arounds. It lasts an hour and


15 minutes like a great 19th-century work and it does
deepen and extend itself emotionally into realms that you
could never have imagined at the outset.
It's interesting because Kurtg really did write it in fragments
every page of the score has a date at the bottom of it of the
afternoon that he finished that page and just below you get
the date of the afternoon that he revised it two years later,
and so on. The material is minutely worked over and in that
sense its like the paintings of Mark Rothko or Jackson
Pollock, with layer after layer of impasto. You never quite
know how many layers there are, its so dense.

Reading the texts, which Kurtg selected from Kafkas


diaries and his letters to Milena Jesensk who was as
close to him as anyone its impossible to escape a sense
of autobiography; both Kurtgs and Kafkas. Kafkas life is
present in the dancer with her pair of violinists on a Prague
tram, the self-hatred of Penetrant Jdisch (Offensively
Jewish) and the obsession with cleanliness in Schmutzig bin
ich, Milena (I am dirty, Milena ), while the dark despair
Schuberts journey is, of course, also within. What makes his of Elendes Leben (Miserable life), which Kurtg sets twice,
cycle so compelling is that it is both within and without, we
is a reminder of what Jesensk published in her obituary of
are as much beside the wanderer treading the wintry
Kafka, He wrote the most significant works of modern
landscape as inside his head. One challenge posed by
German literature, which reflect the irony and prophetic
Kurtg is to try to construct the outer journey from the
vision of a man condemned to see the world with such
fragmentary evidence of an inner life. Peter Sellars makes the blinding clarity that he found it unbearable and went to
point, Kurtg has fashioned the piece as a continually
his death.
unfolding set of surprises and just when you think that you
know what is next you dont. The piece has these really

programme note

Elendes Leben

the fact that both of these artists came through some very
intense experiences in World War Two, leaving their lives
in fragments. They understood what it meant to live
clandestinely, what it meant to have a partial existence in
the shadows, an existence where there were numerous
When Franz Kafka died, his literary executor, the novelist Max identities, many of which were invented. In fact identity was
always elusive, something that had a grain of truth and
Brod, was instructed to destroy everything both his fiction
and personal papers. In an act of magnificent disobedience, maybe two grains of falsehood.
Brod burnt nothing and instead began the laborious task of Peter Sellars would argue that theres autobiography of an
preparing the manuscripts for publication. So are these
even more exact kind in Es blendete uns die Mondnacht
fragments of a life, from which Kurtg has created a collage, (The moonlit night dazzled us), the final fragment in the
all that we might have known of Kafka if Max Brod had done cycle, in which we find a pair of snakes crawling in the dust in
as he was asked? Literally a fragmentary life?
the moonlight. For snakes, says Sellars, read Kurtg and his
wife Marta. He and Marta did make it through. Two snakes
Perhaps Kafkas fragments are also Kurtgs fragments?
Peter Sellars reminds us that both writer and composer were that actually slithered under a fence they did crawl under a
fence and make it out. Its a marvellous, surreal Kafka image
heir to the great Jewish tradition of Mitteleuropa. And that
of two snakes in love. Its also a tender, daring, haunted
if Kafka somehow anticipates the logically irrational horror
tribute to his wife, whom he loved so much and you feel that
that befell that tradition in the middle of the 20th century,
Kurtg actually lived it. He was born in Romania but became in the music. Its just like an album of photos where you dont
know who these people are but you cant miss the simple
a Hungarian citizen, was 13 when the Second World War
humanity of it all. And what are snapshots in a photograph
began in Europe, lived and taught in Budapest under the
album but fragments of a life with family and friends, never
Soviet regime and only finally moved west after the
telling the whole story, and often lying as we smile for the
revolutions that ended the Cold War in 1989. Obviously
camera when anything but happy?
Kurtg was deeply influenced by Beckett and the idea
that what remains is fragmentary. It derives also from
Slept, woke, slept, woke,
miserable life.
Part 1 Fragment 11 and Part 3 Fragment 5

programme note

Es blendete uns die Mondnacht


The moonlit night dazzled us.
Birds shrieked in the trees.
There was a rush of wind in the fields.
We crawled through the dust, a pair of snakes.
Part 4 Fragment 8

A decision to stage Kafka-Fragments is fraught with perils.


Producing the work would seem to imply the existence of
an overarching narrative and that flies in the face of the
fragmentary structure of the piece, though Kurtg does
divide the work into four sections. This is not necessarily an
invitation to see it as a work in four movements. We make
our own individual way through this music, as soprano
Dawn Upshaw reminds us. We all as either listeners or
performers have different responses and experiences of
the piece. Nonetheless, she does have a story to tell in Peter
Sellarss version of the work. I am a housewife going about
my daily activities (sweeping, scrubbing, ironing), and, as
we all do every day of our lives, I have brief moments
fragments where various thoughts and ideas, longings
or memories, come to mind.
Peter Sellars explains that his choice of a housewife heroine
has its roots in a theological proposition. Theres that
profound thing you find in Kafka which you get in Jewish,
Lutheran and Roman Catholic traditions the idea that
your soul is already so polluted theres no way that you can
save it, that no matter where you take it, it is still defiled and
tainted. Out of Kafkas sense that he is always unclean
comes this idea of wanting and needing to cleanse. So

what Ive done with Dawn Upshaw is to make her into an


American housewife. Act 1 is the laundry, Act 2 is the closet,
Act 3 is doing the floors and Act 4 the dishes. Its nonstop
cleansing! But its also that yearning for one pure moment in
your life, that one moment when your soul isnt tainted or
compromised. You could say your life only makes sense when
you are doing the dishes, because everything calms down
and you do have time and space to reflect.
Schmutzig bin ich, Milena
I am dirty, Milena, endlessly dirty,
that is why I make such a fuss about cleanliness.
None sings as purely as those in deepest hell;
it is their singing that we take for the singing of angels.
Part 3 Fragment 4

Sellars argues that Kurtgs music matches his notion of


yearning for transcendence while caught up in the middle of
the ordinary everyday. Kurtgs compositional technique
[has] these exploding instants where for 23 seconds there is a
truth so burning and so intense and so vivid, and then when
its done you cant recover it or retrace your steps. The
complexity of that moment can never be recreated, which is
why he writes such complex vocal and instrumental music .
And what hes asking the performers to do is so fierce, but it's
also because as human beings, like Kafka, you are trying to
hold yourself to an impossible standard.
The score demands much from both soloists, the violinist
quite as much as the soprano. Geoff Nuttall, who performed
it with Dawn Upshaw at Carnegie Hall, is on record as

programme note

saying that the violin part is borderline unplayable, some


of the nastiest stuff I've ever seen in terms of technique.
Upshaw agrees that Kurtg is a demanding composer. For
the singer and for the violinist the score is quite something
to put together pitches, rhythm, ensemble, etc. But the
greatest challenge I find is beyond that to bring the truth
of the music, of the expression, to the fore without being
fettered by complication of execution.
I continue to be amazed at the variety of musical expression.
Each [of the 40 fragments] is so ingeniously distinct from the
others, musically speaking. The vocal writing is in some
places very lyrical, in others almost violent.

Keine Rckkehr
From a certain point on, there is no going back.
That is the point to reach.
Part 1 Fragment 16

The fragments that Kurtg finds in Kafka are not to shore up


his ruin or even ours. On the contrary, they offer diamondbright glimpses of that otherness that we in the 21st century
seem to crave. The idea, as Peter Sellars suggests, is that the
heroic is possible in the midst of the mundane. I wanted to
get across that this is just ordinary life, but that ordinary
life is irradiated with these moments of strange yearning,
unexpected transcendence and also a kind of suffering that
you cant necessarily identify as suffering. Things may fall
apart, but the centre can hold.
Programme note Christopher Cook

text and translation

Part 1
1 Die Guten gehn im gleichen Schritt
Die Guten gehn im gleichen Schritt.
Ohne von ihnen zu wissen,
tanzen die andern um sie die Tnze der Zeit.

The good march in step


The good march in step.
Unaware of them, the others dance around them
the dances of time.

2 Wie ein Weg im Herbst


Wie ein Weg im Herbst:
kaum ist er reingekehrt,
bedeckt er sich wieder mit den trockenen Blttern.

Like a pathway in autumn


Like a pathway in autumn:
hardly has it been swept clean
when it is covered again with dry leaves.

3 Verstecke
Verstecke sind unzhlige, Rettung nur eine,
aber Mglichkeiten der Rettung wieder so
viele wie Verstecke.

Hiding places
There are countless hiding places, but only one salvation;
but then again, there are as many paths to salvation
as there are hiding places.

4 Ruhelos

Restless

5 Berceuse I
Schlage deinen Mantel, hoher Traum,
um das Kind.

Berceuse I
Wrap your overcoat, O lofty dream,
around the child.

6 Nimmermehr (Excommunicatio)
Nimmermehr, nimmermehr kehrst du wieder in die Stdte,
nimmermehr tnt die grosse
Glocke ber dir.

Nevermore (Excommunicatio)
Nevermore, nevermore, will you return to the cities,
nevermore will the great bell
resound above you.

7 Wenn er mich immer frgt


Wenn er mich immer frgt.
Das , los-gelst vom Satz,
flog dahin wie ein Ball auf der Wiese.

But he just wont stop asking me


But he just wont stop asking me.
That ah, detached from the sentence,
flew away like a ball across the meadow.

8 Es zupfte mich jemand am Kleid


Es zupfte mich jemand am Kleid, aber ich
schttelte ihn ab.

Someone tugged at my clothes


Someone tugged at my clothes,
but I shrugged him off.

9 Die Weissnherinnen
Die Weissnherinnen in den Regengssen.

The seamstresses
The seamstresses in the downpours.

10 Szene am Bahnhof
Die Zuschauer erstarren, wenn der Zug vorbeifhrt.

Scene at the Station


The onlookers freeze as the train goes past.

text and translation


11 Sonntag, den 19 Juli 1910
(Berceuse II)): Hommage Jeney
Geschlafen, aufgewacht, geschlafen, aufgewacht,
elendes Leben.

Sunday, 19 July 1910


(Berceuse II): Hommage Jeney
Slept, woke, slept, woke,
miserable life.

12 Meine Ohrmuschel
Meine Ohrmuschel fhlte sich frisch, rauh,
khl, saftig an wie ein Blatt.

My ear
My ear felt fresh to the touch, rough,
cool, juicy, like a leaf.

13 Einmal brach ich mir das Bein


(Chassidischer Tanz)
Einmal brach ich mir das Bein:
es war das schnste Erlebnis meines Lebens.

Once I broke my leg


(Chassidic Dance)
Once I broke my leg:
it was the most wonderful experience of my life.

14 Umpanzert
Einen Augenblick lang fhlte ich mich umpanzert.

Enarmoured
For a moment I felt enarmoured.

15 Zwei Spazierstcke
(Authentisch-plagal)
Auf Balzacs Spazierstockgriff: Ich breche alle Hindernisse.
Auf meinem: Mich brechen alle Hindernisse.
Gemeinsam ist das alle.

Two walking-sticks
(Authentic-plagal)
On the stock of Balzacs walking-stick:
I surmount all obstacles. On mine: All obstacles
surmount me. They have that all in common.

16 Keine Rckkehr
Von einem gewissen Punkt an gibt es keine
Rckkehr mehr. Dieser Punkt ist zu erreichen.

No going back
From a certain point on, there is no going back.
That is the point to reach.

17 Stolz: 1910/15 November, Zehn Uhr


Ich werde mich nicht mde werden lassen.
Ich werde in meine Novelle hineinspringen
und wenn es mir das Gesicht zerschneiden sollte.

Pride: 15 November 1910, 10 oclock


I will not let myself get tired.
I will dive into my story
even if that should lacerate my face.

18 Trumend hing die Blume


(Hommage Schumann)
Trumend hing die Blume am hohen Stengel.
Abenddmmerung umzog sie.

The flower hung dreamily


(Hommage Schumann)
The flower hung dreamily on its tall stem.
Dusk enveloped it.

19 Nichts dergleichen
Nichts dergleichen, nichts dergleichen.

Nothing of the kind


Nothing of the kind, nothing of the kind.

text and translation

Part 2
1 Der wahre Weg
(Hommage-message Pierre Boulez)
Der wahre Weg geht ber ein Seil, das nicht
in der Hhe gespannt ist, sondern knapp ber
den Boden. Es scheint mehr bestimmt,
stolpern zu machen, als begangen zu werden.

The true path


(Hommage-message Pierre Boulez)
The true path goes by way of a rope that is
suspended not high up, but rather just above
the ground. Its purpose seems to be more to
make one stumble than to be walked on.

Part 3
1 Haben? Sein?
Es gibt kein Haben, nur ein Sein, nur ein
nach letztem Atem, nach Ersticken verlangendes Sein.

To have? To be?
There is no to have, only a to be, a to be
longing for the last breath, for suffocation.

2 Der Coitus als Bestrafung:


Canticulum Mariae Magdalenae
Der Coitus als Bestrafung des Glckes des Beisammenseins.

Coitus as punishment:
Canticulum Mariae Magdalenae
Coitus as punishment for the happiness of being together.

3 Meine Festung
Meine Gefngniszelle meine Festung.

My fortress
My prison-cell my fortress.

4 Schmutzig bin ich, Milena


Schmutzig bin ich, Milena, endlos schmutzig,
darum mache ich ein solches Geschrei mit der Reinheit.
Niemand singt so rein als die, welche in der tiefsten Hlle sind;
was wir fr den Gesang der Engel halten, ist ihr Gesang.

I am dirty, Milena
I am dirty, Milena, endlessly dirty,
that is why I make such a fuss about cleanliness.
None sings as purely as those in deepest hell;
it is their singing that we take for the singing of angels.

5 Elendes Leben
(Double)
Geschlafen, aufgewacht, geschlafen, aufgewacht,
elendes Leben.

Miserable life
(Double)
Slept, woke, slept, woke,
miserable life.

6 Der begrenzte Kreis


Der begrenzte Kreis ist rein.

The closed circle


The closed circle is pure.

7 Ziel, Weg, Zgern


Es gibt ein Ziel, aber keinen Weg;
was wir Weg nennen, ist Zgern.

Destination, path, hesitation


There is a destination, but no path to it;
what we call a path is hesitation.

10

text and translation


8 So fest
So fest wie die Hand den Stein hlt. Sie hlt ihn
aber fest, nur um ihn desto weiter zu verwerfen.
Aber auch in jene Weite fhrt der Weg.

As tightly
As tightly as the hand holds the stone. It holds
it so tight only to cast it as far off as it can. Yet
even that distance the path will reach.

9 Verstecke
(Double)
Verstecke sind unzhlige, Rettung nur eine,
aber Mglichkeiten der Rettung wieder so
viele wie Verstecke.

Hiding places
(Double)
There are countless hiding places, but only one
salvation; but then again, there are as many
paths to salvation as there are hiding places.

10 Penetrant Jdisch
Im Kampf zwischen dir und der Welt
sekundiere der Welt.

Offensively Jewish
In the struggle between yourself and the world,
side with the world.

11 Staunend sahen wir das grosse Pferd


Staunend sahen wir das grosse Pferd.
Es durchbrach das Dach unserer Stube.
Der bewlkte Himmel zog sich schwach entlang
des gewaltigen Umrisses,
und rauschend flog die Mhne im Wind.

Amazed, we saw the great horse


Amazed, we saw the great horse.
It broke through the ceiling of our room.
The cloudy sky scudded weakly
along its mighty silhouette
as its mane streamed in the wind.

12 Szene in der Elektrischen


(1910: Ich bat im Traum die Tnzerin Eduardowa, sie
mchte doch den Csrds noch einmal tanzen )
Die Tnzerin Eduardowa, eine Liebhaberin der Musik,
fhrt wie berall so auch in der Elektrischen
in Begleitung zweier Violinisten,
die sie hufig spielen lsst.
Denn es besteht kein Verbot, warum in der Elektrischen
nicht gespielt werden drfte, wenn das Spiel gut,
den Mitfahrenden angenehm ist
und nichts kostet, das heisst,
wenn nachher nicht eingesammelt wird.
Es ist allerdings im Anfang ein wenig berraschend,
und ein Weilchen lang findet jeder, es sei unpassend.
Aber bei voller Fahrt, starkem Luftzug
und stiller Gasse klingt es hbsch.

Scene on a tram
(1910: In a dream I asked the dancer Eduardowa if she
would kindly dance the Csrds once more )
The dancer Eduardowa, a music lover,
travels everywhere, even on the tram,
in the company of two violinists
whom she frequently calls upon to play.
For there is no ban on playing on the tram,
provided the playing is good,
it is pleasing to the other passengers,
and it is free of charge, that is to say,
the hat is not passed round afterwards.
However, it is initially somewhat surprising
and for a little while everyone considers it unseemly.
But at full speed, with a powerful current of air,
and in a quiet street, it sounds nice.

11

text and translation

Part 4
1 Zu spt: 22 Oktober 1913
Zu spt. Die Sssigkeit der Trauer und der Liebe.
Von ihr angelchelt werden im Boot.
Das war das Allerschnste.
Immer nur das Verlangen, zu sterben und das Sich noch Halten,
das allein ist Liebe.

Too late: 22 October 1913


Too late. The sweetness of sorrow and of love.
To be smiled at by her in a rowing boat.
That was the most wonderful of all.
Always just the yearning to die and the surviving,
that alone is love.

2 Eine lange Geschichte


Ich sehe einem Mdchen in die Augen,
und es war eine sehr lange Liebesgeschichte
mit Donner und Kssen und Blitz. Ich lebe rasch.

A long story
I look a girl in the eye,
and it was a very long love story
with thunder and kisses and lighting. I live fast.

3 In memoriam Robert Klein


Noch spielen die Jagdhunde im Hof, aber das
Wild entgeht ihnen nicht,
so sehr es jetzt schon durch die Wlder jagt.

In memoriam Robert Klein


Though the hounds are still in the courtyard,
the game will not escape,
no matter how they race through the woods.

4 Aus einem alten Notizbuch


Jetzt am Abend, nachdem ich von sechs Uhr frh an gelernt habe,
bemerkte ich, wie meine linke Hand
die Rechte schon ein Weilchen lang
aus Mitleid bei den Fingern umfasst hielt.

From an old notebook


Now, in the evening, having studied since six in the morning,
I noticed that my left hand
has for some time been gripping the fingers
of my right in commiseration.

5 Leoparden
Leoparden brechen in den Tempel ein
und saufen die Opferkrge leer:
das wiederholt sich immer wieder:
schliesslich kann man es vorausberechnen,
und es wird ein Teil der Zeremonie.

Leopards
Leopards break into the temple
and drink the sacrificial jugs dry;
this is repeated, again and again,
until it is possible to calculate in advance when they will come,
and it becomes part of the ceremony.

6 In memoriam Joannis Pilinszky


Ich kann nicht eigentlich erzhlen,
ja fast nicht einmal reden;
wenn ich erzhle, habe ich meinstens ein Gefhl, wie es kleine
Kinder haben knnten, die die ersten Gehversuche machen.

In memoriam Joannis Pilinszky


I cant actually tell a story,
in fact I am almost unable even to speak;
when I try to tell it, I usually feel the way small children might
when they try to take their first steps.

12

text and translation


7 Wiederum, wiederum
Wiederum, wiederum, weit verbannt, weit verbannt.
Berge, Wste, weites Land gilt es
zu durchwandern.

Again, again
Again, again, exiled far away, exiled far away.
Mountains, desert, a vast country to
be wandered through.

8 Es blendete uns die Mondnacht


Es blendete uns die Mondnacht.
Vgel schrien von Baum zu Baum.
In den Feldern sauste es.
Wir krochen durch den Staub,
ein Schlangenpaar.

The moonlit night dazzled us


The moonlit night dazzled us.
Birds shrieked in the trees.
There was a rush of wind in the fields.
We crawled through the dust,
a pair of snakes.
Translated by Jlia and Peter Sherwood

13

about the performers

Dario Acosta

About the performers

Dawn Upshaw soprano


Combining a rare natural warmth
and a fierce commitment to the
communicative power of music, Dawn
Upshaw has achieved worldwide
acclaim in opera and concert
repertoire ranging from Bach to
contemporary music. In 2007 she
became the first vocal soloist to be
named a Fellow of the MacArthur
Foundation and the following year she
was made a Fellow of the American
Academy of Arts & Sciences.
In the opera house her repertoire
includes the great Mozart roles as well

14

as works by Stravinsky, Poulenc and


Messiaen. She has appeared at
leading opera houses all over the
world, including nearly 300
appearances at the Metropolitan
Opera, New York, where she launched
her career in 1984. She has also
championed many new works created
for her, including John Harbisons The
Great Gatsby, Kaija Saariahos
Lamour de loin and La passion de
Simone, John Adamss El Nio and
Osvaldo Golijovs chamber opera
Ainadamar and the song-cycle Ayre.

Esa-Pekka Salonen. In her work as a


recitalist she has premiered more than
25 pieces over the past decade and
she regularly presents innovative
programmes of Lieder, unusual
contemporary works and folk and
popular music. She furthers this
musical exploration via masterclasses
and workshops with young singers.
She is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts
Program at the Bard College
Conservatory of Music and a faculty
member of the Tanglewood Music
Center.

She opened this season with the


Boston Symphony Orchestra in
performances of Golijov and
Canteloube at the Tanglewood
Festival. Tonights appearance is part
of a European tour of KafkaFragments. She gives the world
premieres of four new works written for
her, and is Music Director of the 2011
Ojai Festival.

Her discography includes over 50


recordings and she has won four
Grammy Awards. Her releases range
from a bestselling recording of
Greckis Third Symphony to operas
by Mozart, Stravinsky and Messiaen,
Canteloubes Songs of the Auvergne,
and three discs of music by Golijov.

Dawn Upshaw regularly works with


artists such as Richard Goode, the
Kronos Quartet, James Levine and

Dawn Upshaw holds honorary


doctorates from Yale, the Manhattan
School of Music, Allegheny College
and Illinois Wesleyan University.

about the performers

leader. The quartet has given well over


1,500 concerts throughout North and
South America, Europe, Australia
and Asia.

Geoff Nuttall violin


Geoff Nuttall was born in College
Station, Texas, and began playing the
violin at the age of 8 after moving to
London, Ontario. He spent most of his
musical studies under the tutelage of
Lorand Fenyves at the Banff Centre,
the University of Western Ontario and
the University of Toronto, where he
received his bachelor of arts degree.
In 1989, he co-founded the St
Lawrence Quartet, of which he is

The quartet has an exclusive recording


contract and received two Grammy
nominations for its 2002 release
Yiddishbbuk, a collection of works by
the Argentinean-American composer
Osvaldo Golijov. The Quartets first
recording of works by Schumann
won a Juno Award for Best Classical
Album, as well as a Preis der
Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.
Since winning the Banff International
String Quartet Competition and the
Young Concert Artist Auditions in the
early 1990s, the St Lawrence Quartet
has become a regular at some of
North Americas most esteemed music
festivals, including Mostly Mozart,
Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Bay

Chamber Concerts and Spoleto USA,


where it celebrated 10 years as
quartet-in-residence this summer. A
busy touring schedule has seen the
ensemble in such venues as Carnegie
Hall, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan
Museum, Kennedy Center, the
Wigmore Hall, Royal Concertgebouw
Hall in Amsterdam, Thtre de Ville in
Paris, Tokyos Suntory Hall, and the
White House, where it performed for
President Clinton and guests.
The St Lawrence Quartet served as
graduate ensemble-in-residence at
the Juilliard School, Yale University
and Hartt School of Music, acting as
teaching assistants to the Juilliard,
Tokyo and Emerson quartets,
respectively.
Geoff Nuttall is now on faculty at
Stanford University, where the
St Lawrence Quartet has been
ensemble-in-residence since 1999.

15

about the performers

Peter Sellars director


Peter Sellars is one of the worlds
leading theatre, opera and festival
directors. He is particularly well-known
for his groundbreaking interpretations
of classic works. Whether it is by
Mozart, Handel, Shakespeare,
Sophocles and the 16th-century
Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu, he
seeks to strike a chord with audiences,
engaging and illuminating
contemporary social and political
issues.
He has staged operas for Chicago
Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera,
Glyndebourne Festival, Netherlands
Opera, Opra National de Paris and
the Salzburg Festival, among others,
establishing a reputation for bringing
20th-century and contemporary
operas to the stage, including works by
Messiaen, Hindemith and Ligeti.
Inspired by the compositions of Kaija

Saariaho, Osvaldo Golijov and Tan


Dun, he has guided the creation of
productions of their work that have
expanded the repertoire of modern
opera. He has also been a driving
force in the creation of many new
works with longtime collaborator John
Adams, including Nixon in China, The
Death of Klinghoffer, El Nio and
Doctor Atomic. Recent projects have
included a staging of Stravinskys
Oedipus rex and the Symphony of
Psalms for the Los Angeles
Philharmonic and the Sydney Festival,
a production of Shakespeares Othello
seen in Vienna, Bochum and New
York, and a concert staging of Bachs
St Matthew Passion with the Berlin
Philharmonic Orchestra, performed in
Salzburg and Berlin.
Peter Sellars has led several major arts
festivals, including the 1990 and 1993
Los Angeles Festivals, the 2002

Programme produced by Harriet Smith; printed by Aldridge Print Group; advertising by Cabbell (tel. 020 8971 8450)
Please make sure that all digital watch alarms and mobile phones are switched off during the performance. In
accordance with the requirements of the licensing authority, sitting or standing in any gangway is not permitted. Smoking
is not permitted anywhere on the Barbican premises. No eating or drinking is allowed in the auditorium. No cameras,
tape recorders or any other recording equipment may be taken into the hall.
If anything limits your enjoyment please let us know during your visit. Additional feedback can be given online, as well as
via feedback forms or pods around the centre foyers.
Confectionery and merchandise including September Organic ice cream, quality chocolate, nuts and nibbles are
available from sales points situated in the foyers.

16

Adelaide Arts Festival and the 2003


Venice Biennale International Festival
of Theatre in Italy. In 2006 he was
Artistic Director of New Crowned
Hope, a month-long festival in Vienna
for which he invited international artists
from diverse cultural backgrounds to
create new work in the fields of music,
theatre, dance, film, the visual arts and
architecture for the Viennas Mozart
Year celebrating the 250th anniversary
of Mozarts birth.
Peter Sellars is a professor in the
Department of World Arts and
Cultures at UCLA and Resident Curator
of the Telluride Film Festival. He is the
recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship,
the Erasmus Prize, the Sundance
Institute Risk-Takers Award, and the
Gish Prize, and was recently elected
to the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences.

Barbican Centre
Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
Administration 020 7638 4141
Box Office 020 7638 8891
Great Performers Last-Minute Concert
Information Hotline 0845 120 7505
www.barbican.org.uk