From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Frankfurter Rundschau 12.12.2009

Thomas Schmid remembers the bloody Romanian revolution twenty years ago – if it really was such a thing: "Over a thousand people were killed during the Romanian revolution. But was it actually a revolution? By now there is much to suggest that high-ranking army officers were pushing to get rid of the Conducator and that some of demonstrations were Securitate-driven. We are still in the dark about much of what happened. Pastor (now Bishop) Laszlo Tökes, who gave the starting signal for the overthrow of the dictatorship, is now a member of the European parliament, and the poet Mircea Dinescu, who preached the overthrow of the tyrants, is now living a Romanian village on the Danube – as a winemaker."

Frankfurter Rundschau 14.12.2009

Peter Michalzik was enthralled by Oliver Reese's "Phaedra" in the Schauspiel Frankfurt: "Reese has created an entire performance layer out of the act of touching. From who - bound up in their misfortune - touches whom, and where and when. As when Oenone, Phaedra's confidante, played as wonderfully selfish, anxious and alert by Franziska Junge, strokes the length of Phaedra's naked evening-dress arm without touching it once, lost in thought, calculating, and tender all at the same time. It is a magnificent moment of minimal gesture, a surprising and convincing translation of Racine in a contemporary art form."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 14.12.2009

Hubert Spiegel met the Romanian poet Werner Söllner and asked him why he kept silent for so long about his involvement with the Securitate (more here). "For over thirty years, Werner Söllner never talked about the three or four years in the Seventies, when the Securitate forced him to cooperate and interrogated him about friends and colleagues. For over thirty years he kept silent about it, out of 'guilt and shame', not because he wanted to keep quiet about what happened, but because he didn't have the courage or power to confess his involvement: 'I simply couldn't do it.'"

Frankfurter Rundschau

Although the new German translation of Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" contains a few hideous blunders - "the page numbers listed in the notes are persistently wrong" - Peter Michalzig is absolutely delighted by (the former East German stage director) B. K. Tragelehn's translation. "Tragelehn's language is saturated with the traditions and layers that precede it. Shakespeare's of course, earthy and celebratory, course and fine. Then the dry, world-opening language of Brecht with its close proximity to thought and fact. And then the development of this language through Heiner Müller, the reinforcement of the grave and classical elements, the bold and mythological, the passion for concentrated language games."

Die Zeit 17.12.2009

Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht (1919-1999) who, alongside Carl Dahlaus, was the most influential musicologist in West Germany, was involved in the mass shootings of Jews in Crimea during the Second World War, reports the musicologist and historian Boris von Haken. Eggebrecht was in the Field Gendarmerie (military police), whose two companies "lined up in their entirety" to execute 14.000 Jews in Crimea. "There was not a single refusal to obey orders, or a single sick note. The Field Gendararmes served various functions in this mass murder: they were on guard as the victims were rounded up and loaded into trucks in the city, they organised the transport and formed blockades at the place of execution. Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht was standing, on at least one occasion, in the so-called guard of honour through which the victims were forced to walk through on the way to their execution. This took place under extremely violent circumstances: the Jews were beaten with whips and iron rods, and Field Gendarmerie also used German shepherd dogs. Anyone who tried to escape or who put up any resistance killed immediately." Hakens's book "Holocaust and Musicology" is published in Spring 2010.

Jungle World 18.12.2009

Ivo Bozic provides some hope of an end in sight to the desperate scramble for clicks on news sites, which rarely generate any money anyway. "Simply by including the following sentence in this article: 'Sex with Britney thanks to CIA route finder: porno lesbians with swine flu castrate young Hitler aliens in Tokio Hotel' - will send the number of Google and Yahoo search results rocketing."

Süddeutsche Zeitung 18.12.2009

Nicola Spinosa
, the long-term head of the arts council of the city of Naples, is bidding farewell with a series of exhibitions on "The Return of Baroque". Having visited all of them, Kia Vahland finds them all too close to the bone, in a city which has capitulated in its fight against the Camorra: "In Museo Duca di Martina stands the wax bust of a disintegrating plague corpse from the 17th century: the mouth still gaping in a scream and worms crawling out of its chest. You couldn't accuse this age of escapism. The meditation with the scull is one of the most popular motifs and features so heavily, that the artist Roni Horn is now using it in her installation in the contemporary art Museum Madre. The death cult is as much a part of this city as the old lady who kisses the coffin of the miracle-healer in the church of Il Gesu Nuovo. There are just too many deaths here to ignore them."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Peter Richter reports that Hamburgs's artist-run anti-gentrification initiative "Not in our name" (read our translation of their manifesto here) has saved the city's Gängeviertel, with its old artisan houses, from being torn down by the Dutch investment company Hanzevast. - let's talk european