La "Novena Sinfonía" de Henze una genial creación basada en la huida de siete prisioneros de un campo de concentración nazi. Sólo uno sobrevivió. Hoy 27 de octubre de 2012 fallece Henze

El estreno mundial tuvo lugar el 11 de Septiembre de 1997 por la Filarmónica de Berlín. Henze nació el 1 de julio de 1926 y murió el 27 de octubre de 2012.

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The Ninth Symphony of the German composer Hans Werner Henze was written in 1997.

It is a choral symphony, subtitled Den Helden und Märtyrern des deutschen Antifaschismus gewidmet (Dedicated to the heroes and martyrs of German anti-fascism). The text, written by the poet Hans-Ulrich Treichel, is based on the 1942 novel Das siebte Kreuz (The Seventh Cross) by Anna Seghers, in which seven prisoners attempt to escape the Westhofen concentration camp, only one of them surviving. According to the composer, the symphony deals with themes that have preoccupied him since he was conscripted to the German Army as a young man during World War II. His earlier Requiem is in many ways a precursor to this work.

Across its seven movements, and in parallel with the novel, it recounts the story of a fugitive from the Nazis, with depictions of the callousness of small-town torture and 'official' police reporting and the felling of plane trees to make crosses with which to crucify recaptured fugitives (movements two and three). The sixth movement is a delirious episode in a cathedral where the fugitive's faithless encounter with Christian imagery is contrasted with the death of an escapee in the previous movement, and the arrival of attack dogs at the end. The final movement depicts the fugitive's eventual escape in a ship (sailing down the Rhine in the novel). However, the ending, like much else in the work, is ambiguous, contrasting the individual's successful escape with the fact that the general threat remains at large.


Die Flucht (Escape)
Bei den Toten (Among the Dead)
Bericht der Verfolger (The Persecutors' Report)
Der Platane spricht (The Plane Tree Speaks)
Der Sturz (The Fall)
Nachts in Dom (Night in the Cathedral)
Die Rettung (The Rescue)

It was premiered on 11 September 1997 at the Philharmonie, Berlin with the Berlin Radio Choir and the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Ingo Metzmacher. The performance was also recorded by EMI.
Crítica de la Revista Gramophone

Composer or Director:
Hans Werner Henze


Magazine Review Date:

Symphony No. 9
Hans Werner Henze Composer
Ingo Metzmacher Conductor
Berlin Radio Chorus
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Oliver

To Hans Werner Henze the Ninth Symphony represents “the most extreme experience I have ever had, both in terms of the events of the time and as regards the level of artistic endeavour … it is a summa summorum of my musical oeuvre”. It deals, in short, with his experience of Nazi Germany and it is dedicated “to the heroes and martyrs of German anti-Fascism”. All seven of its movements are choral, settings of poems by Hans-Ulrich Treichel, themselves based on the novel by Anna Seghers, The Seventh Cross (memorably filmed by Fred Zinneman, with Spencer Tracy in the leading role).

The novel tells of seven prisoners, condemned to be crucified, who escape from a concentration camp. Six are recaptured; after a series of horrifying experiences the seventh manages to reach freedom by boarding a Dutch ship on the Rhine. The first movement, “The Escape”, is not an exciting action scene but a portrayal of abject, pitiful terror; in its successor, “Among the Dead”, the delirious prisoner finds himself in a no man’s land of shadows. There is a brief, savage portrayal of the persecutors, then the trees from which the crosses will be made sing lyrically of their own beauty before they are ruthlessly hacked down. Now the fate of one of the other prisoners is described; he is an artist, and as he dies, “I … the wounded eagle, spread my wings and fly once more over the only land I have”. At this point what is marked in the score as a gran canto, a grave, plangent string melody, rises with poignant eloquence in the strings.

The penultimate movement, much the longest of the seven, is a hideous nightmare drama set in a cathedral, where the exhausted prisoner has hidden at night. Christ will not reply to his prayers; all he can hear is the voices of the dead (12 soloists, placed at the opposite end of the hall from the orchestra and choir), raptly and horribly praising the voluptuous pleasures of torture and martyrdom. “The Rescue”, finally, provides the huge contrast of rich, calm, multilayered polyphony, but though the prisoner has survived, the horror remains.

The extremest of emotions are explored, in short, and extremes are needed to express them. The lines are often tortuous or angular (or are not lines at all), the textures often dense. This is a live recording of the first performance, and as a photograph of the occasion shows, the chorus is not large (about 70, I would say) and is placed well behind the main body of the orchestra. The recording balance does not always compensate for this, and at times I had difficulty following both the choral counterpoint and the words, even with the text in front of me. Despite this the cumulative impact of what was evidently a very thoroughly rehearsed performance is shockingly powerful. It is a piece that one senses Henze has been steeling himself to write (in the immediately preceding symphonies and the Requiem in particular) for years, and its eloquence catches you by the throat.'

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