“THE WAR REQUIEM”
In Remembrance of the Victims of Fascism and War
Pro Musica Strings
Hikotaro Yazaki conductor
Richard Strauss; Metamorphosen, for 23 solo strings (Thailand premiere performance)
Dmitri Shostakovich/Rudolf Barshai: Chamber Symphony op. 110a
In the last days of WWII, German composer Richard Strauss saw the world he knew in tatters around him. Germany was occupied by foreign powers, the great monuments of German culture had been destroyed – its opera houses and theatres, the city of Dresden was in ruins, and the world in a state of moral suffering. Strauss looked to the writings of Goethe and his two 1790s poems Die Metamorphose der Pflanzen and Die Metamorphose der Tieren. These were Goethe’s response to Lucretius’ De rerum natura. Lucretius’ didactic poem, written the first century BCE, explained Epicurean philosophy to the Romans. Topics such as the nature of the mind and the soul, sensation and thought, living transformation, the development of the world and many elements of celestial and earth-bound phenomena.
Strauss took Goethe’s ideas of metamorphosis and the concept that inherent in each being was the archetype and used it as the concept for his Metamorphosen. No matter how much destruction surrounded him, in its essential core, the building, the city, the country, the continent, still remained. In his sketchbook for this work, there’s an entry that simply says, “Mourning Munich,” referring to the destruction of the National Theatre where he had worked for so many years.
A couple decades later in the summer of 1960, Dmitri Shostakovich’s (Russian music composer) work on the score of a Soviet-East German film took him to Dresden, the German city that had been destroyed in 1945 by an Allied firebombing which killed more people than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. There, in a span of only three days, Shostakovich composed string Quartet No. 8 inscribed “In memory of victims of fascism and war” which became his best known work for its intensity, immediacy, pain, shock and stunning silences. Although Shostakovich maintained that he could never hear Quartet No. 8 without breaking into tears, the work is not self-pitying. Rather its genius is that it transcends individual pain to address all human despair. It is this which explains its profundity. The torment that it voices is the tragic, human agony of all those who have experienced grievous loss whether it be due to fascism, war, or personal bereavement. Shostakovich’s Quartet No.8 String Quartet resonates with this bitter universal experience; it is truly ‘music written with the heart’s blood’; that is why it is a masterpiece of the twentieth century. Rudolf Barshai transcribed the quartet for string orchestra, in which version it is known as Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a.
Wednesday June 7th, 2023
Tickets 900THB, 300THB for students with valid ID
Khun Chuleeporn at 02 661 6470-3 ext 201 or email@example.com