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IMPROMPTU, Berlin 1989.11.11.

Concert by Ditta Rohmann

OSA Archivum has a history of experimenting with the genre of reproduction. So far we have reproduced an exhibition (the Hungarian Pavilion in Auschwitz built in the workers’ movement vein), a radio broadcast (the program broadcast by Kossuth Radio in the early morning of November 1956) as well as the recording of a show trial (Imre Nagy and his associates). This time, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, we will reproduce a classical music concert.

On November 11, 1989, two days after the Wall and the border guard system, cutting the city into two, had been dismantled under pressure from East German citizens, Mstislav Rostropovich, one of the greatest cellists in the history of music, gave an impromptu concert for Berliners. Having heard the news on television that Berlin had ceased to be two cities, the artist flew to Berlin and the next day, without any previous publicity, played Bach’s cello suites at the Wall.With a concert by cellist Ditta Rohmann and films from its collection, OSA Archivum wishes to commemorate this unique (musical-)historical event. Based on contemporary footage and memoirs, we will reproduce the impromptu concert given by Mstislav Rostropovich (see program). Besides this, selected footage made by American news crews and Western German independent filmmakers will show the construction, the maintenance and the tearing down of the wall.

program 2009-11-11 : 7 PM
J. S. Bach: suite in D minor
J. S. Bach: suite in G major, Sarabande
J. S. Bach: suite in C major

impromptu‘… for me the Berlin wall represented more than itself, it was a symbol. This wall divided my life into two, divided the globe into two. It cut it into two. Until 1974 I lived on one side of the wall, and then on the other. While I always hoped that I would have the chance to live long enough to see it come down, I had little faith in it. Galina and I always thought that communism would last a century longer. And then, in autumn 1989, I got a call in my Paris home, from a friend of mine who urged me to switch on the television. At first I didn’t understand what all those people were doing there drinking Champagne, what they were celebrating, what was going on. Then I realized it was the Berlin wall and I started to weep. The tears were running down my cheeks. Next morning I called all my friends: I decided I had to hurry there and play there, right at the wall. Not for the people but for Almighty God, who had made it possible that the wall, which was a gash in my heart, should fall. This is why it was so important for me. I wanted to thank God that I could witness this miracle. My two lives, the oldone and the present one, have become one again. The fall of the Berlin wall changed my personal fate.”
László J. Győry, Interview with Mstislav Rostropovich. Budapest, 2000.

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