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GoetheInstitute

27/09/2007

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Die Welt 27.09.2007

Iran's intentions to wage war are to be taken seriously, writes French philosopher Andre Glucksmann, who aligns himself with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. "If there is a real risk of war, there's no point hiding it. The notion that the Iranian bomb would serve world peace, without any further consequences, is the dumbest of all self-deceptions. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt are not going to be content with Iran's nuclear hegemony in the region. One should be aware of the side-effects! In the political rug that is the Middle East, where everything is interwoven and on which the great game around God and oil is being played out, a nuclear war is brewing - whether the bunglers in Tehran are aware of it or not."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 27.09.2007

"For two generations, no Polish director has dared touch the subject," writes Thomas Urban, referring to Andrzej Wajda's new film "Katyn". "The name of the Russian village is a symbol, a clear signal, that stands for bloody violence and for the blatant dishonesty of the fallen one-party regime. Both contribute to its weightiness. In Katyn in the spring of 1940, more than 4000 Polish officers were shot dead by the Soviet Secret Service NKWD. The communist propaganda machine attributed it to the German occupiers. Katyn has always fascinated Germans because of the shroud of lies that made them victims, victims of lies. But the film does not spare the German offenders. One of the first scenes is the arrest of professors from Krakow who have gathered for the beginning of the semester. It's a clash between the primitive evil spirit of the SS and hooligans in jackboots on the one hand and representatives of the spirit condemned as 'Slavic subhuman' on the other."


Die Zeit 27.09.2007

Ingo Metzmacher opens his first season as new Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with a series of concerts that explore the "German soul": Kurt Weill, Schumann, Liszt, Eisler, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Henze. The series starts with the cantata "Von deutscher Seele" (of German souls) by Hans Pfitzner, who had close ties to important figures in the Third Reich. Metzmacher comments: "I want to give this music a chance. Perhaps that's only possible because it wouldn't occur to anyone to say I was politically on the right. The cantata tells of German souls, in fact it's a song cycle, only written for four singers, large choir and orchestra. I know of no other composition like it. We know that while accompanying song evenings, Pfitzner would improvise transitions from one song to the next. Here he wrote them out."


Frankfurter Rundschau 27.09.2007

"This is the orchestra of the future," declares Pierre Boulez about the Ensemble Modern Orchestra, with which he is currently rehearsing Mathias Pintscher's "Towards Osiris". "Rather than being a sharply contoured group, it's a pool of musicians, a network. Everyone plays in other ensembles as well, concentrating on baroque, romantic or contemporary music. If you were to get them together for a big Mahler project, for example, they'd create something entirely fresh. I find individualisation in orchestra musicians extremely important. The sort of specialisation one sees everywhere nowadays should be avoided, because it always means stripping music of part of its history."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 27.09.2007

Unlike Volker Breidecker in yesterday's Süddeutsche Zeitung (here), Henning Ritter finds Hans Magnus Enzensberger's description of his role in the 1968 movement as "participatory observer" entirely fitting. "You could effortlessly point here and there to rebellious passages in Enzensberger's writings of the 60s and 70s. But no one who was there can question that he was an outsider in those impassioned times, that activists looked looked at him askance and that he didn't really belong. What primarily set him apart from the left was his alertness regarding his own words. He never let himself go, and in those days that was unpardonable. But that's not to say that now, after his comments distancing himself from his leftist past, he should be cast as a renegade of the student movement."


Die Tageszeitung 27.09.2007

According to a recent study, an alarming proportion of German youth of Turkish origin are homophobic. Admitting this is not a slur against Islam, according to Jan Feddersen. "Anyone who denies such facts is willingly blind to the circumstances in which homosexuals live in Muslim communities. The argument that one mustn't say anything against Islam is based on the assumption that, in matters of anti-homosexuality, Christianity too has its skeletons in the closet. True enough, one would like to say. But the kind of hatred against homosexuals that is to be found in Berlin's Neukölln and Wedding districts, in Hamburg's Billstadt or in Köln-Mülheim are seldom to be found in traditional German (and Christian) milieus."

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