Città di Castello, San Domenico Church
VIENNA BETWEEN DECADENCE AND EXPRESSIONISM
Readings from Die letzten Tage der Menschheit by Karl Kraus
Text by Massimo Lo Iacono
Alessio Boni narrator
Streichquintett Wiener Kammersymphonie
Fritz Kircher violin
Cornelia Löscher violin
Wolfram Fortin viola
Sergio Mastro cello
Felipe Medina double bass
Gustav Mahler, Bedächtig, nicht eilen, recht gemächlich from Synphony No. 4 in G major
Hans Gál, 5 Intermezzi Op. 10
Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Märchenbilder (adaptation for string quintet by Josip Maticic)
Ernst Krenek, Sieben leichte Stücke Op. 146
Vienna at the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th century experienced a period of manifold tensions, which exploded in the violence of the First World War. The ideals of scientific and industrial progress, persisting since the Belle Epoque, now had to exist alongside a pronounced feeling of crisis, which would become reality in a few years’ time, with the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In this scenario, Vienna in particular, more than any other European capital, recognised the end of an era and of the philosophical, historical and political certainties inherited from the 19th century.
The concert by the Wiener Kammersymphonie string quartet presents several examples of the music written and listened to in this period, drawing attention especially to the sensitive composers who succeeded best in interpreting the atmosphere of search for a new vision of life, a feature of this difficult moment in history. These examples include one movement of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, written between 1899 and 1901; Korngold’s Marchensuite , written between 1910 and 1920; and Gàl’s five intermezzi written in 1914.
Alessio Boni, the popular actor, reads some pages of The last Days of Humanity , the satirical masterpiece written by Kraus during the First World War. Lucid and visionary at the same time, Kraus succeeded better than anyone else in describing the horrors of war.