Repertoire Tip "Nature & Man"
Balance or contrast

„The discussion about the climate catastrophe has now also made it into contemporary music,“ proclaimed Frank Hilberg last year in his review of Martin Smolka’s choral piece „Walden, the Distiller of Celestial Dews“.

Inspired by the ideas of the nature philosopher Henry David Thoreau, Smolka pleads for a low-emission life in harmony with nature, and extols the joys of simplicity. Yet Smolka’s attitude is not unique in music, for composers have long been pondering the balance between man and nature, an increasingly serious issue that is relentlessly brought home to us by reports on dying forests, disappearing species and global warming. The controversy is given a musical voice in a variety of ways. In his „Three Pieces for orchestra with audible breaths and piano obbligato“, Nicolaus A. Huber focuses his aesthetic and social gaze on our exploited planet as an emblem of horror. And in his percussion concerto „Der Wald“ (The Forest), Siegfried Matthus describes with vivid sound images the plundering of nature. Siegfried Thiele, in contrast, expresses in his orchestrally and vocally rather traditional „Erdengesänge“ (Songs of the Earth) humanity’s homage to the earth. When writing oratorios or musical stage works, composers have repeatedly been inspired by the great speeches of the Native American chieftains of the 19th century, who glorified a life in harmony with nature. One of these is Hans Zender’s stage work „Chief Joseph“. Günther Becker took a more abstract approach in his work „stabil - instabil“ (stable - unstable), where he explores the concept of balance. Huber, in his turn, works with two different levels in „Eröffnung und Zertrümmerung“ (Opening and Shattering): the visual and the sonic, which, however, progressively move away from each other. The visual aspect is given ample room to unfold its power through a free selection of films or images that can reflect the composer’s socio-critical position, which could otherwise not be represented on its own through music. We will be glad to help you with your programming needs and send you further information. Simply write to: