2nd Symphony Concert

Johann Sebastian Bach "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort", BWV 60
Bernd Alois Zimmermann "Ich wandte mich und sah an alles Unrecht, das geschah unter der Sonne"
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 9, WAB 109

Photo: Anna Meuer
If God does exist, why does he allow so much injustice in the world? This question permeates most of the work of Bernd Alois Zimmermann, who wrestled throughout his life with questions of guilt after the Holocaust. His gripping "Ecclesiastical Action" entitled "I turned around and saw all the injustice that was committed under the sun" is an expression of Zimmermann's despair over the eternally recurring human suffering and the Catholic Church's abuse of power. Texts from Kohelet and Dostoevsky's novel "The Brothers Karamazov" are interwoven here. The work culminates in the simultaneous clash of all elements: speech and song, Biblical texts and Dostoevsky. At the end, Zimmermann quotes from the final chorale of Bach's cantata "O eternity, you word of thunder"; "It is enough! Lord, if it please Thee, my Jesus, come!". Yet Zimmermann omits the consoling continuation "Sweet comfort, my Jesus comes!". On 10 August 1970, Zimmermann committed suicide at his home in Königsdorf near Cologne, only five days after completing the score.

Anton Bruckner's 9th Symphony, dedicated "to the beloved God", is also a final work. Bruckner left the last movement incomplete at the time of his death in 1896. And yet the symphony almost seems complete with the deeply moving Adagio of the 3rd movement. It is a farewell hymn, like a transition into another world.