Liederabend - Michelangelo and the Moderns


Liederabend: Michelangelo and the Moderns

Konzert: Dmitri Schostakovich, Suite on Verses by Michelangelo, Op. 145

Lektur: Abstract Echoes & Shadows of Night: Violence in the Oeuvre of CY TWOMBLY

Andrew Munn, bass

TBC, Klavier

Julia Modes, Art historian 


Einlass: 19:00

Konzert: 19:30

Karten 20 / 10€ reduziert erhältlich an der Abendkasse


Suite on Verses by Michelangelo, Op. 145

In 1974 Dmitri Shostakovich composed his Suite on Verses by Michelangelo on eleven of the artist’s sonnets on themes of love, political critique, and legacy. The forty-five-minute song cycle is characterized by the sparsity of Shostakovich’s late style. An austerity of means contains the music in a structure rich with inner tension that breaks and build through subtle shifts between consonance and dissonance in a modern aesthetic and evocative of the antique. Shostakovich’s choice of texts invites western listeners to invoke the narrative of Shostakovich as secret resistor to Soviet dogma, yet the cycle transcends this limiting political framework. In No. 1 Truth, the cycle opens with Michelangelo’s bitter condemnation of his patron, Pope Julius II. Unjust authority is a theme that returns in No. 5 Wrath and seeps into Michelangelo’s odes to Dante Alighieri in No. 6 Dante and 7 to the exile, No. 9 Night and the penultimate song, Death. Equally present in Michelangelo’s sonnets on Dante and his own political travails, is the question of legacy. At the time of composition, Shostakovich’s health had long been in decline and death had become a common theme in his work. By setting Michelangelo’s address to the poet of previous centuries, Shostakovich creates a double echo – a modern composer drawing on the thoughts of the renaissance artist, whose own thoughts turned to the medieval wellspring of modern literature, Dante Alighieri. The Suite however is not dominated by political themes, No. 2, 3, 4, and 8 are mediation on love and beauty, and the mysterious force that animates artistic work.

Abstract Echoes & Shadows of Night: Violence in the Oeuvre of CY TWOMBLY

Julia Modes, art historian & curator

In the decade preceding Shostakovich’s composition, the American artist Cy Twombly was living in Rome and brought his abstract visual language to bare on the historical and mythological subject matter that populates the output of artists since antiquity. Art historian and curator Julia Modes will trace a throughline from the renaissance works of Michelangelo to the modern abstract paintings of the American artist Cy Twombly. Just as the poetry of Michelangelo is mined by scholars for evidence of his homosexuality, the works of Cy Twombly are often discussed as sites of homoerotic expression. However, violence too is a defining characteristic of Twombly’s artistic subjects and techniques. as he cuts into the canvass and splatters red paint in works on historic beheadings, battles, and assassinations. His large-scale work Leda and the Swan is an abstract treatment of the classic subject, addressed too by Michelangelo in a now lost painting, and in the sculpted personification of Night on the tomb of Lorenzo di Medici in Florence. This is the Night that is addressed, and speaks in the haunting ninth song of Shostakovich’s suite.

Presented by Karsten Witt Musik Management