Gathering Starflowers for 2 Pianos (13:30)

Cover of Gathering Starflowers

From Gathering Starflowers

This powerful musical drama has as its backdrop the mercurial, enigmatic and, until 1989, political boiling cauldron — Berlin.

Gathering Starflowers distills, in the form of a symphonic poem for two pianos, elements of Günter Grass’ 1967 novel – Local Anaesthetic - itself a powerful satirical polemic on the futility and wastefulness of war. In his novel, Grass has 2 of his characters, who lived through the 1939-1945 war as teenagers, continually relive it and relive major battles of the campaign in the East to overcome the Red Army and win Russia for the German Reich. Futility incarnated!

Hardy, the anti-hero of the novel, is a teacher of German history. He despises the recent past which speaks of Germany’s unbelievable folly in waging total war in Europe between 1938 and 1945 resulting, inevitably, in total defeat at the hands of the Allies. He suffers tremendously from dental problems and frequently visits his dentist who, to Hardy’s frustration, also happens to be something of a philosopher whose answers to Hardy’s impenetrable questions are always infuriatingly right while he dispenses pain-killer Arantil which Hardy calls ‘the safety island’.

Hardy has a really big problem, too. One of his students, Flip (Phillip), is incensed about the Vietnam war. So is Flip’s girlfriend, Veronika. Together they are planning a demo which no one will forget. They plan to burn Flip’s dog, Max (a Dachshund puppy) outside Kempinski’s, the famous Berlin cafe on the Ku’damm (Kurfürstendamm), the most popular street in Berlin.

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