Since its founding in 1947, the Komische Oper Berlin has had a special role promoting the music of eastern Germany. During the time of the Iron Curtain, it was one of the leading lights of East Germany’s musical culture, alongside institutions like Leipzig’s Gewandhaus and Berlin’s Konzerthaus.
Music Director James Gaffigan looks back on music history and traces forgotten arcs of connection.
From Leipzig’s favourite son, Johann Sebastian Bach, to one of East Germany’s most important composers, Ruth Zechlin, whose Polyphony forms the second part of her Music to Bach. And from Leipzig-born Richard Wagner to East Germany’s Siegfried Matthus—two pioneers of music theatre who were each unparalleled in their times.
When I think of eastern Germany, I think of music!
Richard Wagner [1813–1883] Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde Siegfried Matthus [1934–2021] Concert for Piano and Orchestra Ruth Zechlin [1926–2007] Polyphony for Orchestra Johann Sebastian Bach [1685 –1750] Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut , BWV 199