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Kats-Chernin, Elena: Lebewohl (2017-18) 22'
for piano and orchestra


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This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere

Concert Hall, QPAC, Brisbane
Tamara-Anna Cislowska, piano / Queensland Symphony Orchestra / Alondra de la Parra

Repertoire Note


Though in midst of life we be,
Snares of death surround us
Save us, Lord, from sinking
In the deep and bitter flood.
- Martin Luther

In the year 1720 something happened that changed the life of JS Bach forever. On returning from a trip to Karlsbad, he discovered that his wife of 12 years, Maria Barbara, had not only died during his absence but had been buried as well; all unbeknownst to him and during his absence. He was now a sole parent to their four remaining children. Lebewohl explores the circumstances, ramifications and regrets that shake his soul and faith to the core, leading to the eventual pouring of his heart into what would become his unrecognised elegy for his first love: the Chaconne. With words adapted from Martin Luther, JS Bach and other writings of the day, Elena Kats-Chernin delivers her third piano concerto as a series of contemplations on one of her primary inspirations and honours the ‘forgotten’ wife of the Baroque master.

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