From Europe’s East Lothar Knessl’s „Musical Request Programme“ on the Occasion of (after) his Ninetieth Birthday
Portrait Lothar Knessl © Johannes Cizek
Lothar Knessl © Johannes Cizek

Unusual: the ensemble seduces its subscriber into a state of emergency by asking him to pick from an embarrassment of riches, to select a concert programme at his discretion. “At his discretion” may sound compelling, but it quickly departs from reality – for a host of reasons, spatially, aesthetically, economically... One can’t have everything, as the wise grandmother already said.
The wheel of deliberation starts to turn. Or, more precisely: thoughts turn themselves over in the mind, they are turned. One is no ‘fan’, that’s to say: an enthusiast focused on a single or just a few protégés. That would betray a blinkered mentality. So – maybe a fan after all? Of Gesualdo, at most; thus one can stay out of harm’s way; rather, and by conviction, the broad spectrum between Josquin and the present day. This would concern the thirtysomethings. In this case, “present” should be conceived of in the broadest possible terms. However – it doesn’t behove the oldest subscriber to indulge in the glorifying recollection of the more or less recent past. Besides it is his responsibility painfully to select, by means of radical reduction, the four to six pieces, if possible infrequently performed, unjustly overlooked or even “forgotten” owing to some current trend. How should, how can this work out?
Were he, searching and weighing, to stay within the country, this would result in a flood of grievances all round. If he decided to limit himself to one neighbouring country only, this would give rise to the indignant question: why only this particular one? On the other hand: a medley, even if it were qualified - where would this leave the “programmatic idea”?

Let’s switch on hope. – Sunrise. - A view towards the East. – Vienna’s position as resident neighbour. – Already Heine, in his orientation towards the west, grew tired of Europe. – Revitalisation from Europe’s East. – Is the subscriber not ultimately a fan of Eastern Europe, of the Danube region? Suspicion grows.

(Lothar Knessl, 2016)

23. April 2017
Wiener Konzerthaus

For Lothar Knessl

György Ligeti — Zehn Stücke für Bläserquintett
György Kurtág — 12 Mikroludien
op. 13 (Hommage Mihály András)
   — 4 Lieder auf Gedichte von János Pilinszky op. 11
Adriana Hölszky — Segmente I
Henryk Górecki — Musiquette 4, op. 28

Galina Ustwolskaja — Komposition Nr. 1 (Dona nobis pacem)