German mission holds a splendid musical poetry night

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Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH
— The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany held a heartwarming musical and literary evening, highlighting the beauty of German poetry and it’s meaning in Arabic, at the residence of the Consul General, here on Sunday.

This splendid evening named “Winterreise” — Winter Journey — gathered an audience of both Arabic and German poetry lovers here, to discover the exquisite poetry of Wilhelm Müller in German and Arabic languages alongside the fascinating music of Franz Schubert.

The music was performed by Prof. Birgit Erichson and Vassili Laghidze, who performed on cello and piano respectively, whilst locals Dr. Adel Khamees and Claudia Ziegeler recited the poetry in Arabic and German, respectively.

The German consulate stated: “This ceremony welcomed two renowned German classical musicians and professors of music from the University of Münster presenting one of the finest combinations of 19th-century poetry and classical music. The poetry cycle “Winter Journey” consists of 24 songs, written by the German romantic poet Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827). In 1827, the year of Wilhelm Müller’s death, Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1798-1828) discovered the cycle and wrote the accompanying music.

Attending guests witnessed the world premiere of ‘deconstructed and augmented’ songs from the cycle “Winterreise” (“Winter Journey”): ‘Deconstruction’ because text and music are being separated to look at both in their individual beauty. Instead of being sung, the poems are recited in German, and instead of the human voice, the violoncello will take on the part to ‘sing’ the Schubert songs with the piano.

‘Augmentation’ represents the German Consulate Jeddah’s feat to pair these original texts with an Arabic translation, or rather: storyteller recital. To our knowledge, this is the first time that such a rendering and juxtaposition is being tried.”

The statement added: “The German mission continues to conduct musical and cultural occasions. Next week the Debussy Trio, including Prof. Ulrich Beetz on the violin will perform a selection of classical music from the Romantic period together with Wendy Keyes on Dec. 3 at KAUST, and on Dec. 8 again at the German Consulate. On Dec. 6 the German trio will perform at the French Consulate General Jeddah, in the spirit of cultural cooperation, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of French composer Claude Debussy. Next performances will take place at the German Embassy and the Goethe Institut in Riyadh.”

These literary cultural initiatives and events by the German Consulate General aim to build a cultural bridge between Saudi Arabia and Germany.


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