when & where
Jul 10, 2022, 7:00 PM
PORT25 - space for contemporary art, Hafenstraße 25, 68159 Mannheim, Deutschland
about the event
Ticket link follows!
Works by Iannis Xenakis, Franz Schubert, Juliana Hodkinson, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Gerard Grisey
With his Medea senecae , Iannis Xenakis takes an extreme position that can probably only be conveyed today in a careful concert program and with knowledge of his biography. Xenakis, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday on May 29, 2022, is generally considered one of the most important musical pioneers of the 20th century. It is hardly surprising that he also saw himself as a front-line fighter determined to do the utmost: In World War II, Xenakis joined the armed Greek resistance against the Italian-German occupiers. When Churchill reinstated the Greek monarchy in 1944, Xenakis continued to fight in the Greek Civil War, on the side of the communists. He suffered severe injuries from British tank fire, which he barely survived. In 1947 he fled the anti-communist waves of arrests and went to Paris, where, despite his status as an illegal refugee who had been sentenced to death in his home country, he managed to get a job as a structural engineer with Le Corbusier.
Medea senecae reflects much of this self-image. In Seneca, the Medea subject experiences a shift in meaning compared to Euripides, which makes Jason's motives for action understandable.
Seneca's choral singing also praises Jason's immense services to the advancement of civilization. Xenakis now only sets those choral songs to music, while Medea herself doesn't get a chance to speak at all.
On the contrary, the piece closes with the choir's ardent appeal to spare Jason further punishment. Even if heroic images of men are currently experiencing a questionable renaissance, this Medea conception must seem very archaic to us today - just like Xenakis' music with its boldness and brute modernity.
Reason enough to continue to follow Medea and male images in our promenade concert at Port25. Medea herself is heard with her sizzling monologues, as well as Bernd Alois Zimmermann's four-channel tape piece Tratto II , which would become part of his major unfinished Medea project. In contrast, Franz Schubert's male choirs convey a sensitive, less than heroic perspective full of doubt and despair. Juliana Hodkinson, on the other hand, lets all self-confident positioning unravel in (something in capitals) : merged with a great feeling for the development of sound sources in space she gently picks out scraps of sentences, words and obscure noises. The finale is Gérard Grisey's Stèle for two bass drums. Originally composed for a deceased friend, the work, in the context of this concert, sets a silent memorial to the supposedly distant conflicts that culminate in Medea.
Image: Thilo Ross