Dmitri Shostakovich is in his hotel room, preparing for the speech that he will soon have to deliver before hundreds of Americans, whilst his countrymen listen to it over the radio. The content of the speech, which of course he hasn’t written himself, is anything but according to his own convictions. Nervous and tortured, he paces up and down his hotel room. In the mean time he listens to the Russian radio. Various Russian string quartet pieces are being broadcasted, and one also hears bits of talkshows, news items, an interruption for an urgent announcement about the Convention he is meant to be a part of, scraps of radio play, historical recordings, etc etc. Shostakovich feverishly turns the transmitter on the radio, until his moment has come. He addresses the people.
On stage we see an actor, the Ragazze Quartet that plays the live radio: it plays Russian string quartet repertoire and brings the radio sounds and fragments to life. The musical frame for this evening will be created by Mayke Nas, our current National Composer. All musical and textual elements will be interchanged with (or continued by) passages of this all embracing musical composition that will make the evening into a whole.
The music will be accompanied by a rich content: biographical information about composers, anecdotes about the string quartets, political background information and other stories and discussions that relate to the programme, in a new theatre piece especially written for it by Ilya Leonard Pfeijffer. All items combined deal with the paradox that exists in Russia, between its hugely rich culture, and the oppression that Russian artists feel and that forces them to flee from their homeland.
Repertoire Mayke Nas Etherkwartet nr.9 (2017); Shostakovitsch string quartet no.10; Rachmaninov string quartet no.1; Gubaidulina string quartet no.2
Performers Ragazze Quartet and an actor
Words Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
sun 11 March, 2.00 PM
sun 17 March, 8.15 PM
Willem Twee, Den Bosch
thursday 3 May, 8.15 PM
Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam