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GoetheInstitute

07/07/2005

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.

The German papers are full of jokes about Britain's Olympic triumph, but in view of today's explosions in London, these jokes belong to yesterday's news. The latest updates are available here.



Spiegel Online, 07.07.2005


It's a catastrophe that the Olympic Games are going to London, writes Matthias Matussek, indulging in a bit of tongue-in-cheek Brit-bashing: "What's to stop Britain from attacking Schleswig-Holstein? Not that I give two hoots about Schleswig-Holstein, but there's a principle at stake here. This Olympic decision sends out the wrong signal. It's the additional bottle of schnapps for the alky who should be drying out. It whips up the nerves of a nation that's enraptured in itself, instead of calming it down with therapeutic discussion sessions. It was simply the other cities' turn. Even Leipzig's. Because they've all been the losers for so long. And now all the excitement goes to the rich kid again, the child no one can stand. Once more it goes to the one who's got everything: economic growth, Pink Floyd, Rachel Weisz. By now it's clear to everyone that this little rock in the North Sea that just 30 years ago looked as if it would be sold to a scrap dealer from New Jersey again sees itself as the empire and the centre of the world."


Die Zeit, 07.07.2005


Hanno Rauterberg was permitted to visit Mr and Mrs Ströher, a reclusive couple who will soon possess the "most important collection of German art". Until recently Sylvia Ströher's family owned the Wella cosmetics empire, which it sold off for 6.5 billion euros. The Ströhers are in the final stages of purchasing the 700 works of the Grothe collection which they will add to the 800 artworks they already own. "'We're archly conservative', says Ulrich Ströher. Their collection has no videos, no installations and nothing new or unseen. 'Almost none of the artists is under 40. And it all comes home to us here first.' To make sure nothing unsuitable shows up, they have a strict policy against spontaneous purchases. 'We give ourselves at least 48 hours to think things over.'"


Der Tagesspiegel, 07.07.2005

The German Film Prize will be awarded in Berlin tomorrow. The Tagesspiegel features a discussion round with film directors Volker Schlöndorff, Dani Levy and Hans Weingartner, about radical humour and revolution in film. Schlöndorff comments: "People would rather see boredom abolished than injustice. But that's more difficult. I never believed I could abolish injustice with my films. But I like seeing films that are about something. And that's the kind of fodder I try to make as well. If possible wrapped in chocolate, as Billy Wilder says. So the people don't notice."


Die Tageszeitung, 07.07.2005

Philipp Dudek was at the second tone change of the longest piece of music in the world. Composer John Cage's organ piece "Organ2/ASLSP" has been playing day and night since September 5, 2001 in the church of St. Buchardi in Halberstadt. And the concert will last for another 634 years. '"As slow as possible" was Cage's tempo indication. At the premiere in 1987, the concert lasted just 29 minutes. Not nearly slow enough for the initiators of the Halberstadt experiment. They counted backwards from the year 2000 to to the inauguration of the famous Blockwerk organ in the city's cathedral 639 years before. For the initiators of the John Cage Organ Foundation, 'As slow as possible' means as long as the organ can play." Yesterday the g sharp and b pipes were removed. "A few minutes after the tone change the first listeners dared to start talking. 'More contemporary somehow, lighter', one man said earnestly. The woman next to him grinned. The tone is in fact lower. An e major chord now sounds through the old church." And will continue until January 5, 2006.


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 07.07.2005

Helmut Böttiger explains that contemporary German literature is so "well-behaved, neat and monotonous", because the people responsible, among them Judith Hermann, Maike Wetzel and Franziska Gerstenberg "have a good solid training" but are "low on experience". But, Böttiger writes, the responsibility also lies elsewhere. "The worst harm was done by the long-dead US author Raymond Carver" and his "demure, no-frills style". Moreover, "everyone knows that if you don't think about becoming a writer until you turn thirty, you've missed the boat. Its decks are crammed with all kinds of boy groups and young women."


Die Welt, 07.07.2005

As the Stuttgart "Theater der Welt" festival draws to a close, Stefan Kister congratulates the festival director Marie Zimmermann on making flaneurs of the Swabian nine-to-fivers, and an enthusiastic audience of penny pinchers. "Marie Zimmermann, the woman who has so nicely got under the skin of the no-nonsense Swabians for a few weeks, is never without cigarette and a stylish hat and loves swings: 'The best part of swinging up and down is the moment just before you reach the zenith – when you're going forwards you can control it, but when you go backwards it always takes you by surprise.'"


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 07.07.2005

Kurt Malisch is thrilled that two dozen live recordings from the Zurich Opera have been released on DVD. The opera's general director, Alexander Pereira, explained in an interview what the new releases mean for his establishment: "What I find positive about this development is that the big media firms can no longer dictate what they record, and with whom, just because they've financed it from A to Z. In today's art market they have to ally themselves with productions, and this means the concert house, and not the music business, has the say."

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