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Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Final Work Performed in Seattle

Jun. 06, 2018

Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Final Work Performed in Seattle

The Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Adam Stern, performed Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Ich wandte mich und sah an alles Unrecht, das geschah unter der Sonne on June 2 at Benaroya Hall. Bernd Alois Zimmermann completed this great work--his final composition--only five days before his suicide. The music of the ‘ecclesiastical action’ provides an expression of Zimmermann’s anguish at the eternal suffering of mankind and the abuse of power on the part of the Catholic church. Two different texts provide the basis of the work: the biblical verses from Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 and passages from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel "The Brothers Karamazov."

Scored for two speakers, bass soloist, and orchestra, Zimmermann’s typically pluralistic style comes to the fore in the relationship between narrative and musical elements: he experiments with different types of vocal and linguistic expression lying between song and speech, lending the work a character similar to a radio play. The climax of the composition is the simultaneous conjunction of all elements: speech and singing, the Bible and Dostoyevsky.

2018 marks the centennial of Zimmermann's birth. The March/April 2018 edition of the Schott Journal offers an in-depth exploration into this formidable artist's life and work. Click here to read more.



(Ich wandte mich und sah an alles Unrecht, das geschah unter der Sonner/Bernd Alois Zimmermann/
WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln/Heinz Holliger, conductor)

To learn more about Bernd Alois Zimmermann, please visit schott-music.com

Bernd Alois Zimmermann
Ich wandte mich und sah an alles Unrecht, das geschah unter der Sonner (1970)
for two speakers, bass soloist, and orchestra
3.3.3.3-5.3.6.1-timp-4perc-egtr-hp-str
35'

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