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Installation view Galerie Une, Switzerland

 

Translating Tragedy I | 2003

sound installation, cd player, headphones, 30x40 c-print. Dimensions variable

Shostakovichs 7th Symphony: a grandious and bombastic composition which signifies an important point in world history. Trying to translate this tragedy by whistling all the instruments the symphony is transformed into a pathetic conglomeration of sounds, out of sync and out of tune.

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Original score by Shostakovich

"Sixty-one years ago on August 9th, 1942, Dmitry Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony sounded for the first time in besieged Leningrad. Only three of the participants in that famous concert are still alive today: Victor Orlovsky (the trombone) who lives in Moscow, Galina Yershova (the flute) and Victor Kozlov (the clarinet) who live in St. Petersburg. Karl Eliasberg, the conductor had to specially create an orchestra to be able to perform the Seventh Symphony. The first rehearsal lasted only ten to fifteen minutes. The symphony is known to be hard to perform and for the starved out Leningrad musicians it was doubly so. Some of them were not even strong enough to hold their instruments. Despite the fact that for the period of the rehearsal which lasted two months the musicians had their food rations increased, several of them did not live to see the day of the concert. Shostakovich who began to write his famous symphony before evacuation from besieged Leningrad in October 1941, could not attend its premier performance. The composer sent the conductor and the musicians who performed his work in the besieged city a telegram with words of gratitude."

English Pravda 09.08.2002

 

sound excerpt