• Peter Maxwell Davies: The Medium
  • Duo Harp - Voice
  • Mike Svoboda: Die Bücher der Zeiten
  • Peter Maxwell Davies: Eight Songs for a Mad King & Miss Donnithorne's Maggot

Peter Maxwell Davies's almost hour-long monodrama The Medium is a tour-de-force not only for the singer, but also for the audience. Starting out, as it seems, as a seance, the performance becomes more and more ambiguous. Is the medium an impostor or a madwoman? And whose story does she tell? The Medium is, apart from being a most intelligently plotted composition, a glance into the human abyss.

Anne-May Krüger - The Medium

Stage director/stage setting: Marcelo Cardoso Gama

The premiere took place in October 2010 at Landestheater Tübingen.

"Anne-May Krüger demonstrated all facets of her art and stunned the audience until the very last minute. Marcelo Cardoso Gama‘s staging does without all superfluous theatrical effects and creates madness through verismo. Krüger is acting on a platform no bigger than a conductor‘s stand and still creates enough space within herself to let madness take over little by little, pulling the spectators into her imagined world."

Andreas Kolb, Neue Musikzeitung online, 19.10.2010

You can download the exposé with a description of the concept and further details (pdf).

For the last ten years, Anne-May has worked in the context of the inspiring combination of voice and harp. Two concert programs have emerged from this work: Lieder von zu Hause und unterwegs (Songs from Home and Far Away) with folk songs from Italy, Russia, Germany, England, Wales, etc. by composers like Benjamin Britten, Maurice Ravel, Luciano Berio, Modest Mussorgsky, Johannes Brahms and others. The program L'énigme éternelle features sacred songs and hymns by Henry Purcell, César Franck, Maurice Ravel and Georg Philipp Telemann as well as Mike Svoboda's Da steht geschrieben, written for Anne-May Krüger (voice) and Beate Anton (harp).

Since 2017, Anne-May has been working with Basel-based harpist Vera Schnider. Currently, the duo is preparing the music-theatrical project Wenn ich ich wäre (If I was me), dealing with questions of how our memories are connected to our identities: Are they emerging from them or forming them?

 

Duo Harfe Stimme
Vera Schnider, Anne-May Krüger © Reza Kaviani

with

Svea Schildknecht, Céline Wasmer, Anne-May Krüger - voice
Mike Svoboda - trombone
Michael Kiedaisch - percussion

While still a teenager, Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) wrote the monumental poem Die Bücher der Zeiten, a work related to the Books of Revelation in which mankind's deeds are dramatically enumerated. This work tells of the horrors and wonders of the human race, of the salvation through the spirit, of mankind's achievements and their many rewards. In his composition, Mike Svoboda (*1960) assigns the proclamation of this apocalyptic vision to three female voices, thereby creating a link to mythological figures such as the norns, the visionaries of past, present and future. The composer not only conveys the text's semantic content, but also interprets it on a associative and sounding level. Trombone and percussion contribute to the archaic aspect of both poem and composition.

Recording of the world premiere at Musica Sacra Festival Maastricht/NL (Dutch Radio)

«Not ill, but nervous»

In his extensive oeuvre, British composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (*1934) has dealt with the phenomenon of madness in several of his works. In his famous «Eight Songs for a Mad King» (1969) as well as in «Miss Donnithorne's Maggot» (1974), both classics of the experimental music theater, as well as «The Medium» (1981) he meticulously and elaborately examines the relationship between the individual person and society. 

After their work on «The Medium», mezzo-soprano Anne-May Krüger (Miss Donnithorne) and stage director Marcelo Cardoso Gama as well as Carl Rosman (King George III) presented the Medium's predecessors in a new staging at Gare du Nord Basel/Switzerland in March 2014. This new realisation was also part of a research project on the performance practice of New Music at the Hochschule für Musik Basel. The ensemble zone expérimentale played under the musical direction of Mike Svoboda. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies was present for the final week of rehearsals.

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