Just returning from the première of Fülle des Wohllauts, performed in a grand patrician villa which suited the bourgeois mood of the event just fine. The performance was quite a surprise. My expectations were set based on the description in an earlier post. The text material is excerpted from two chapters of Thomas Mann's Der Zauberberg. But where we were expecting a mere lecture, Mann's intricate & complex language was freely & vividly recited - extraordinary! The synaesthetic qualities of the evening were even enhanced by the narrator who was smoking a Cuban cigar during the first part, which left its fine perfume hanging in the room. Very European in more respects than one ...

But the evening's core synaesthesia was the interaction between Mann's texts about music and actually hearing the pieces referred to (Offenbach's Orpheus, Puccini's La Bohème, Verdi Aida, Bizet Carmen and Schubert's Winterreise). What a great idea to combine the powerful language of a Nobel price laureate pundit with the actual objects of his review!

The other surprise was a bit of a disappointment, though: While the advertised gramophone was taking centre stage alright, it wasn't utilised. Whereas that may be comprehensible, I don't approve of all the choices of interpretations played, which include a 1981 Karajan and a 1979 Maazel. I really would have expected to hear only period interpretations that Mann could have referred to. But I guess I am nit-picking. Or am I?

At any rate, the evening was certainly enjoyable. In the course of it, I accidentally remembered a weird statement by the Salzburg festival director in yesterday's Silentium. I am paraphrasing: Hitler was such a sensitive man about noise - he couldn't stand it. And he loved Wagner. Well, I wonder whether that wasn't in fact a contradictio in adiecto ...

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