Photo: Katja Durek


Composition Commission issued to Jörn Arnecke: Welcome to Paradise Lost (working title)

Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar | Kunstfest Weimar, Germany

Welcome to Paradise lost is the working title for a libretto by Falk Richter, which he is writing for the Kunstfest Weimar and the German National Theater – for a score by Weimar-based composer Jörn Arnecke, funded by the EvS Music Foundation. Falk Richter’s inspiration comes from the ancient Sufi poem The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar, a great mystical piece of Masnawī poetry considered one of the most important works of Persian literature. Falk Richter interweaves Farid ud-Din Attar’s 12th century epic Persian verse with the socio-political issues of our time: Why do we no longer listen to the world? Why is it passing us by? Overloaded by images and information we can no longer see or understand anything. With an analytical eye Richter dissects those repression mechanisms that work to justify our lives in the impossible. While flora and fauna perish around us, our only goal in life is growth. The play’s inherent thesis proposes that birds can show people the way. Musically, this creates an inspiring field for the composer Jörn Arnecke. The world is on the verge of tremendous change and yet people do not want to understand it. Birdsong is a tangible indicator that listeners grasp immediately as a harbinger of serious change. When the birds no longer sing, when they distort their song, warn of abysses, our perception of the world changes. For this reason, the precise study of real birdcalls is only the starting point of this compositional concept: it will be key to draw out the musical and dramaturgical power and urgency from the deformations of these birdcalls.

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