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The World According to Kafka

A Musical-Literary Collage

Bohemian Hall (map)
321 E 73rd Street
New York, NY 10021
United States
Allgemein: Free
Consulate General of the Czech Republic
Elysium Between Two Continents Logo
Lahr & von Leitis Academy & Archive

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Franz Kafka’s death, live at Bohemian National Hall (321 East 73rd Street New York, NY 10021).

Concept and Introduction: Michael Lahr von Leïtis With Peter Kendall Clark (Recitation) Jeannie Im (Soprano) Dan Franklin Smith (Piano)

Dystopian, bleak, hopeless – those words come to mind when thinking of Franz Kafka’s (1883 – 1924) writings. Fear, failure and futile struggle are Kafka’s dominant themes. As a master of the absurd, he depicts the most fantastic events with crystal clarity and sobriety and takes the reader to the limits of human thought. The great upheavals of the 20th century are expressed in Kafka’s work in an almost visionary way. His name became synonymous with modern existence: today we call a situation that defies the interpretations of politics, psychology, and sociology “Kafkaesque.” But within this menacing, frightening universe there are slim traces of light, tiny hints of an ultimate hope despite all the nihilism and gloom.

Part dramatic reading, part concert, The World According to Kafka looks for these promising and encouraging signs in Kafka’s works. Baritone Peter Kendall Clark will narrate Franz Kafka’s texts. Soprano Jeannie Im will present some of Kafka’s favourite melodies by Friedrich Silcher and Carl Loewe, as well as songs by Czech composers Max Brod, and Adolf Schreiber, and twelve-tone-settings of Kafka’s prose by Stefan Heucke. Elysium’s Music Director Dan Franklin Smith complements the musical selections with piano solo pieces by Antonin Dvořák, Joseph Bohuslav Foerster, Pavel Haas, Leos Janácek, Bohuslav Martinu, Viteslav Novák, Erwin Schulhoff, Bedřich Smetana, Josef Suk and Viktor Ullmann. In his introduction, Michael Lahr von Leitis will talk about Kafka’s Jewish roots and references to the Jewish tradition in Kafka’s writings.

The event is organised by Elysium - Between Two Continents, The Lahr von Leïtis Academy & Archive and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York and co-sponsored by the Leo Baeck Institute.