The World According To Kafka – A Musical-Literary Collage (March 5)

The World According To Kafka – A Musical-Literary Collage (March 5)

The World According To Kafka – A Musical-Literary Collage (March 5), © Rüdiger von Voss: Franz Kafka – oil pastel on cardboard courtesy of the estate of Rüdiger von Voss

21.02.2024 - Article

Kafka mosaic of a special kind combining short stories, letters and aphorisms by Franz Kafka with compositions by his Czech contemporaries and settings of Kafka’s texts by his friend Max Brod and German composer Stefan Heucke.

The world which Kafka describes in his stories is often bleak and hopeless. Fear, failure and futile struggle are Kafka’s dominant themes. As a master of the absurd, he despicts the most fantastic events with crystal clarity and sobriety and takes the reader to the limits of human thought. The great upheavals of the 20th century are expressed in Kafka’s work in an almost visionary way. His name became synonymous with modern existence: today we call a situation that defies the interpretations of politics, psychology and sociology “kafkaesque”. But within this menacing, frightening universe there are slim traces of light, tiny hints of an ultimate hope despite all the nihilism and gloom.

Part dramatic reading, part concert, “The World According to Kafka” looks for these promising and encouraging signs in Kafka’s works. Baritone Peter Kendall Clark will narrate Franz Kafka’s texts. Soprano Jeannie Im will present some of Kafka’s favourite melodies by Friedrich Silcher and Carl Loewe, as well as songs by Czech composers Max Brod, and Adolf Schreiber, and twelve-tone-settings of Kafka’s prose by Stefan Heucke. Elysium’s Music Director Dan Franklin Smith complements the musical selections with piano solo pieces by Antonin Dvořák, Joseph Bohuslav Foerster, Pavel Haas, Leos Janácek, Bohuslav Martinu, Viteslav Novák, Erwin Schulhoff, Bedřich Smetana, Josef Suk and Viktor Ullmann. In his introduction, Michael Lahr von Leitis will talk about Kafka’s Jewish roots and references to the Jewish tradition in Kafka’s writings.

Date and Time: Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at 7.00 PM

Location: Bohemian National Hall (Ballroom), 321 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021

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