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    (Photo: Fleur du mal © Rainer Ehrt)

Prinzip Hoffnung II: Desperate Hope

“I consider the fact that Paul Celan was even able to write poetry after his horrific past a well of hope in life”, writes composer and singer-songwriter Matthias Kader. The song cycle Der Tod ist eine Blume (Death is a flower) introduces the antipodes in Paul Celan’s lyrical world: hope and despair, life and a yearning for death, through his darker early works as well as his love poems such as Blume (flower). Celan’s writings are set to music and juxtaposed with Franz Schubert’s famous song cycle Winterreise (Winter’s journey). Schubert’s protagonist staggers back and forth between exuberance and despair, finally descending into a hopeless sense of melancholy. David Cavelius has arranged the songs of the cycle for 16 male voices and string players.

There’s a mocking aphorism that states “Hope is the last thing to die, but it dies”. Has hope died out in the face of climate change, nuclear threats and catastrophes, war and hunger? To mark their 15th anniversary, one of Germany’s best chamber choirs, Vocalconsort Berlin, will aim to usher hope back into the limelight in a five-part concert series named Prinzip Hoffnung (Principle of hope). It’s a cycle of musical contemplations on the nurturing and the abandonment of hope under different circumstances: from Francis Poulenc’s 1943 anthem of liberty that he composed in France under occupation, to J. S. Bach’s St John Passion. Thus, a musical dialogue emerges. One between the secular and the divine, between the engine of survival that is human hope and the Passion of Christ and its readings – a symbol for the religious well of hope. From Baroque to New Music, from concerts to stage productions – Vocalconsort’s got it all.

Franz Schubert: Gesang der Geister über dem Wasser
Matthias Kadar: Der Tod ist eine Blume, Settings of poems by Paul Celan (premiere)
Franz Schubert: Winterreise, edited for 16 male voices und 5 strings by David Cavelius (premiere)

With: Vocalconsort Berlin & Solistenensemble Kaleidsokop
Direction: David Cavelius

The concert-series is funded by the Capital Cultural Fund an the Berlin Senate Department for Cultur and Europe. In cooperation with Radialsystem.

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