Wed. Feb. 13 – Salon Series The End of the World with the Manhattan Chamber Players 4 & 7:30 pm Haus Der Musik, Constitution 112, Ajijic
In 1940, the world was ablaze. As Hitler marched his armies across Europe and Northern Africa, death and destruction unlike the world had ever seen was taking place. For Richard Strauss, it was also the culmination of a “twelve-year reign of bestiality, ignorance, and anti-culture under the greatest criminals, during which Germany’s 2000 years of cultural evolution met its doom.” It was during these final years of WWII that Strauss began a creative period often referred to as his “Indian Summer” – in which he wrote some of his most self-effacing and poignant works, having grown old, tired, and jaded by what had transpired in the latter half of his life. His final opera, Capriccio (subtitled “A Conversation Piece for Music”) falls into this category. Harkening back to a more civil, elegant time in history, it is one of his most understated, nostalgic works. A year earlier, a shaky alliance still existed between Germany and Russia, but everyone knew the fight would eventually come. Dmitri Shostakovich brilliantly captured this calm before the storm in his Piano Quintet, a complex work filled with angst, paranoia, despair, and fleeting moments of joy and calm. Peppered in are sardonic references to military songs and Russian propaganda that would later become one of Shostakovich’s calling cards. This pairing of Shostakovich’s first truly great chamber composition and Strauss’s last one sees the world, as they knew it, at an end.
Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949): Sextet from Capriccio (1941)
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975): Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57 (1940)
Tickets $600 pesos