The Kurt Weill Fest in Dessau is not only interested in the composer, but also explores his times. The performances this hour are particularly authentic.
Kurt Weill was a refugee from Nazi terror, as was Austrian composer Ernst Krenek. Both composers emigrated to the US. And both knew how to reach out to audiences by employing jazz and dance music.
Violinist Ernst Kovacic, who knew Ernst Krenek personally, refers to a timeless quality in Krenek's Violin Concerto. "He wrote the concerto when he was an impetuous young composer," explained Kovacic in an interview for DW. "The violin always comes through loud and clear. But he finds many different ways to do that. At one point, in an audacious touch, he has the music go up and up in pitch, like a gradually disappearing balloon. Or sometimes the violin and the trumpet will play in unison, with simple harmonies. The piece sounds fresh, new and very original."
This concert has music from the 1920s. Modest Mussorgsky came earlier, but it was in the early 20s that Maurice Ravel orchestrated Mussorgsky's famous piano piece "Pictures at an Exhibition." At the end of the decade, the music inspired a theatrical presentation in Dessau for which Kandinsky furnished the images. In acknowledgement, the Kurt Weill Fest put them on exhibition in 2016 and featured the music in this concert event.
Violin Concerto No. 1, op. 29
Pictures at an Exhibition (orchestral version by Maurice Ravel, excerpt)
Ernst Kovacic, violin
German State Philharmonic of the Rhineland Palatinate
Ariane Matiakh, conductor
Recorded by DeutschlandRadio Berlin (DLR) in the Anhaltinian Theater, Dessau, on February 26, 2016.