Ludwig van Beethoven Trio B-Dur op. 11, ‹Gassenhauer-Trio›
Arvo Pärt, Mozart-Adagio
Leonard Bernstein, Klaviertrio
The author Ferdinand Schmalz is one of the most performed playwrights of our time. In 2017 he won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize with ‘Mein Lieblingstier heißt Winter’. Last year he turned this short text into a novel, which he will present at ‘Wege durch das Land’. At the centre of the work of the author, who was born in Graz in 1985, is humour, which in Schmalz’s case is always a laugh of despair at the horrors of the world. Thus his debut novel revolves around a missing corpse, in whose search the frozen-food truck driver Franz Schlicht encounters bizarre suburban characters. But not only the characters, the whole plot is bizarre – whereby the bizarre does not remain a pure end in itself with Schmalz and does not serve solely the amusement of the reading public. The novel is a kind of philosophical grotesque and is partly set in an elitist ‘suicide club’. The mixture of morbid and whimsical wit crossed with philosophical depth is also found in David Foster Wallace’s sprawling novel ‘Infinite Fun’. He gives our festival this year’s annual motto and we want to begin our engagement with him at Gut Geissel, a festival regular.
While the Boulanger Trio will begin the evening musically in Austria with Ludwig van Beethoven’s so-called Gassenhauer Trio and Arvo Pärt’s Mozart Adagio, the musicians will then turn the page to North America and the novel that gives the festival its title, from which the actor Stephan Szász will read. The serial music of Philip Glass in ‘Head On’ is reminiscent of the structure of ‘Infinite Fun’ in its permanent circling around a short sequence of notes that imperceptibly expands like a metamorphosis. While playing and listening, one is sucked into the piece by its repetitive character – almost like into a trance-like dream, which then simply ends abruptly. The structure of the first movement of Charles Ives’ Trio, in which the composer describes his student days at Yale, is also reminiscent of the overlapping plots in the novel. The composer first introduces three completely independent themes in a duet and then simply has them played simultaneously. The 2nd movement of the trio is entitled ‘TSIAJ – This Scherzo is a joke’.