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Video on demand from 01 Apr 2020

Elphi at Home: Katharina Konradi & Roland Vieweg

The soprano and her duo partner give an exclusive concert with songs by Kurtág and Schumann

Video available until 04 Apr 2030

Interview with Katharina Konradi & Roland Vieweg

How does it feel to be playing in this concert hall without an audience?

Katharina Konradi: It's a very special situation, very intimate. And the acoustics are marvellous now. I only know the hall when it's full and in connection with other genres, not with a song recital like this.

Roland Vieweg: It's a unique, almost sacred atmosphere, partly because the acoustics have such incredible spatial presence. When playing, you can hear the notes you have just played still reverberating long after you've released the keys. And it's a very special experience for me today: I really only know the hall from the other side, as a member of the audience. It's the first time I've set foot on this stage.

Katharina Konradi & Roland Vieweg

This atmosphere is also reflected in the programme that the two of you chose for your recital.

Katharina Konradi: We thought that György Kurtág's a cappella pieces were remarkably well-suited to this situation. And they go very well with Schumann's Lieder in terms of both text and music. Both composers write about solitude and the search for peace and happiness. But in the end, none of this can be found, as depicted in the last piece, Schumann's »Abendlied«. The text contains the line »Wirf ab, Herz, was dich kränket und was dir bange macht!« (Cast off, o heart, what pains and scares you!). Here, Schumann creates an arch that encompasses all the different emotions in our programme.

Roland Vieweg: Our aim was to capture a whole panorama of feelings. And by virue of their very different styles, the individual pieces comment on one another. In Kurtág's music, large intervals recur, while Schumann answers with austere melodies and harmonies. So the two components stimulate each other mutually.

Katharina Konradi & Roland Vieweg
Katharina Konradi & Roland Vieweg © Philipp Seliger

Programme

György Kurtág: Attila József-Fragmente
1. Kasasodik a viz (Breiig wird der Schnee)
2. Sokan voltak es korulvettek (Es waren viele, die mich umringten)

Robert Schumann: Sechs Gesänge op.107
1. Herzeleid
2. Die Fensterscheibe

György Kurtág
4. Az ido (Zeit)
17. A kerten, hallatlan semmir idzve (Über dem Garten ein unerhörtes Nichts beschwörend)

Robert Schumann
3. Gärtner
4. Die Spinnerin

György Kurtág
7. Szolj hat, mit tegyek en (Sag, was soll ich tun, dass du mich liebst)
8. A nyarfak kozt ezust habbokkal (Durch die Pappeln, silbernd schäumend)

Robert Schumann
5. Im Wald

György Kurtág
14. Nincs kozom senkihez (Ich hab' mit niemandem zu tun)
10. Tizenot eve irok koltemenyt (Seit fünfzehn Jahren schreibe ich Verse)
11. Oly lagy az este, mint egy szolloszem (Der Abend ist so sanft wie eine Traube)

Robert Schumann
6. Abendlied

lyrics see below

Her voice just flows on her breath; the coloratura ripples with effervescence.

Hamburger Abendblatt

How are you spending your time at the moment?

 (Both laugh.)

Katharina Konradi: At home! We are dealing with musical assignments that may be forthcoming. I very much hope that this time will pass and we'll be able to experience and enjoy music normally again. In the meantime, we are also catching up on things that we usually don't get around to.

Roland Vieweg: It's fair to add that we are a married couple and live under one roof, so that we were able to use the time to study these pieces. This is the only way that we can come together on the concert platform. On the one hand you obviously want this situation to end sooner rather than later. But on the other, we can derive something positive and gain new energy from the reduced circumstances we are all living in at the moment. That's important in these strange and difficult times.

Katharina Konradi & Roland Vieweg
Katharina Konradi & Roland Vieweg
György Kurtág: Attila József-Fragmente

The Artists

She was only 15 when she moved from her native Kirgistan to Germany, then at the outset of the 2018/19 season, she became the new star of the Hamburg State Opera: Katharina Konradi is the first soprano from her country to enjoy success in every genre of classical vocal music – in Lieder, concert singing and opera. She is accompanied on the piano by her duo partner Roland Vieweg, who also works as a conductor and repetiteur.

Katharina Konradi has already sung at the Elbphilharmonie in several major concerts: she opened the 2017/18 season together with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, she appeared in Johann Strauss's »Die Fledermaus« at the 2018 New Year's Eve concert, and in 2020 she could be heard alongside Kent Nagano, Iveta Apkalna and the Philharmonic State Orchestra.

Lyrics

  • György Kurtág: »Attila-József-Fragmente«, alternating with Robert Schumann: »Sechs Gesängen op. 107«

    György Kurtág: Kasasodik a viz (The water thickens)
    The water thickens, swelling into ice,
    and my sins gather into death.


    György Kurtág: Sokan voltak es korulvettek (Many came and pressed around me)
    Many came and pressed around me
    in my dreams they laughed and mocked me:
    »Ha-ha-ha, he-he-he,
    so he is the one
    with the treasure
    that`s none!«

    Robert Schumann: Herzeleid (Heartache)
    The willows trail their weary branches,
    And the waters drift sadly by.
    The poor white-faced wretch
    Stared blindly down in a dream.
    And she let fall a wreath of everlasting flowers,
    Already heavy with tears,
    While the waves whispered in soft warning—
    ‘Ophelia, Ophelia!’


    Robert Schumann: Die Fensterscheibe (The window-pane)
    As I was cleaning the windows for the festival,
    So that they would catch the sunlight,
    Polishing and thinking of many things,
    He went by, head in air.
    And I was so taken aback
    That I smashed the pane,
    And the blood ran out
    Red over my hand.
    And though my hand may bleed
    And hurt badly,
    Yet you did look up at me—
    When you heard the glass breaking.
    And I looked into your eyes,
    For the first time for many a long day.
    But when my heart broke you never gave me
    So much as a glance; it broke in silence.

     

    György Kurtág: Az ido (Time)
    Time
    sprouts on the run, like beans.

     

    György Kurtág: A kerten, hallatlan semmir idzve (The heat looms above the garden)
    The heat looms above the garden,
    an idol conjuring a never-heard Void;
    with its wrinkled little hand the branch grasps
    a spider`s web and waves, resigned
    A fine dust fuzzes the puddle.

     

    Robert Schumann: Der Gärtner (The Gardener)
    On her favourite mount,
    As white as snow,
    The loveliest princess
    Rides down the avenue.
    On the path her horse
    Prances so sweetly along,
    The sand I scattered
    Glitters like gold.
    You rose-coloured bonnet
    Bobbing up and down,
    O throw me a feather
    Discreetly down!
    And if you in exchange
    Want a flower from me,
    Take a thousand for one,
    Take all in return.

     

    Robert Schumann: Die Spinnerin (The Spinster)
    Each of the village girls sits in her room,
    Happy at her spinning-wheel.
    Each has her sweetheart;
    How briskly the wheels turn!
    Each is spinning her wedding dress
    To please her true lover;
    Before long there’ll be
    Wedding bells.
    But no friend comes
    To talk with me;
    I sit in sad despair,
    And my hands falter.
    And the tears silently run
    Down over my cheeks.
    What need for me to go on spinning?
    I cannot tell.

     

    György Kurtág: Szolj hat, mit tegyek en (Tell me, what should I do to make you love me)
    Tell me, what should I do to make you love me,
    if I should weep, don`t laugh or mock me.
    Like a car with engine racing
    but there`s no road, no way of starting,
    - that`s me, and were I bolder
    my words would lack all sense or order...

     

    György Kurtág: A nyarfak kozt ezust habbokkal (The sweet breeze purls along
    among the poplars)

    The sweet breeze purls along
    among the poplars, silver-foamed,
    and the gigantic summer
    just bathes in it, golden-limbed.

     

    Robert Schumann: Im Wald (In the forest)
    All alone I go into the wood.
    Oh, see two butterflies flying
    And fluttering in the sky;
    When they rest they are cradled
    In the fragrance of a flower;
    And I am so alone, so full of care.
    All alone I go into the wood.
    Oh, see two birds frightened
    From their warm nest
    But still singing, chasing
    And playing high in the boughs;
    And I am so alone, so full of care.
    All alone I go into the wood.
    Oh, see two deer coming
    To the green hillside together,
    And as they see me
    They fly far off over hill and dale together,
    Leaving me alone, so full of care.

     

    György Kurtág: Nincs kozom senkihez (I´m a stranger and alone,)
    I´m a stranger and alone,
    my words are floating mould.
    I´m clear and hard,
    like the cold.

     

    György Kurtág: Tizenot eve irok koltemenyt (For fifteen years I`ve been writing verse)
    For fifteen years I`ve been writing verse
    and now, when I might at last become a poet,
    I just stand here by the ironworks,
    and have no words for the moonlit sky.

     

    György Kurtág: Oly lagy az este, mint egy szolloszem (The evening is as soft as a grape)
    The evening is as soft as a grape,
    rolling gently among my memories.
    A blond evening. But I can`t remember...

     

    Robert Schumann: Abendlied (Evening Song)
    All is still;
    So hushed is the evening
    That you can hear
    The footfalls of passing angels.
    All around, night
    Darkens and deepens;
    Now cast away your sickness, my heart,
    And your despair.
    Now the stars arise in majesty
    In the encircling sky;
    The golden chariot of time
    Passes on its assured way.
    And your way through the night
    Shall be safely guided too,
    So now cast away your sickness, my heart,
    And your despair.

     

    Translations of Schumann by Eric Sams

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