In 1993, over 160 years after Schubert wrote his song cycle that still moves audiences to this day, Hans Zender arranged the original piano accompaniment for small orchestra. He made the voicing of the verses more sensuous, and one can now truly feel the icy wind on one’s face…
‘Kornél Mundruczó’s direction offers a topical reading of Schubert’s left-by-the-roadside motif, dealing with issues of homelessness and refugee life, and the journey those affected are forced to undertake. As the songs are performed, projections fill the background with pictures loosely associated with the lyrics, depicting mainly the most fundamental activities of human life: rest, nourishment, hygiene. The director asks the question: What does it mean to be human? What is the minimum requirement for human existence? And is that really enough to ensure the basic needs of life? In the accompanying film clips, residents in a refugee camp try to live a normal life within the constrained circumstances of a few square metres of living space, being constantly confronted with restrictions and the reality of the limitations in their lives.’ (Kata Kondor – operavilag.net)
Mundruczó Kornél, Director: ‘For me, ‘Winterreise’ is the apotheosis of being on the road. Always being on the move. Waiting for one does not know what, as if in purgatory. For me, the imigrants’ purgatory is like a refugee camp. Anyone can end up there, but no one knows the principles of judgement.
Schubert’s traumatic motifs provided me with a special opportunity to think about man’s perpetual alienation. And to ask whether art can provide a refuge when the very fundamentals of life are questioned?
The video-installation film cells show actual residents in a Hungarian refugee camp. The time spent with them was an inspiring experience, which, with the help of a few telling scenes, confronts the problems of fundamental existence that countless people have. When I withdrew from the deprivation and hopelessness of their world, I was seized by such deep shock that I could no longer account for it with words, only with music. The refugees’ generally uncertain and structure-less existence, involuntarily slipping into a state of vegetation, accentuates the nightmare and reality behind the music.’
Orchestra Danubia Orchestra Óbuda
Franz Schubert, Hans Zender
CAFé Budapest Contemporary Art Festival, Danubia Orchestra Óbuda