Time & Location
Sep 20, 2023, 6:30 PM
New York - House of the Redeemer, 7 E 95th St, New York, NY 10128, USA
About The Event
Welcome back to NYResonance! We begin our season with an enigmatic and somewhat puzzling story of a great Austrian poet, Rainer Maria Rilke,
" Beyond Love…On the Other Side of Air."Rainer Maria Rilke confided some of his most intimate thoughts to a woman whom he had never met. Magda von Hattingberg, a Viennese concert pianist, sent him an admiring letter in 1914. For three months after that the poet, who was separated from his wife, poured out his anguish and yearnings to her. He renamed her "Benvenuta" - the Welcome One. After 26 days of letters exchanged almost daily, a meeting - proposed by the young woman and consented to by Rilke who was in a feverish state of half anticipation and half dread - took place in a Berlin hotel. Then the letters ceased. The couple’s sojourn together lasted only a few months and …we don’t what happened. Rilke refers to his letters to Benvenuta as “the testament of my whole past and future existence.” Yet, years later, when Magda (Benvenuta) wrote her memoir and disclosed the swift breakdown of their relationship, she downplayed all the intimate “juicy” details of their love affair, and left a lot to our surmise and imagination. She referred to her rendezvous with Rilke as "friendship- love.“ I wonder whether if she were to publish her memoirs today, she would be shouting from a rooftop: "I had an affair with the great Rilke.” Times have changes, I guess…Yet, what is interesting in Rilke’s love story is NOT in its scandalous allure. This enigmatic affair raises many questions for me: What is love? Does it exist only while it is unattainable? Does it have to last? Can it last? Is its duration significant? Why can something short and fleeting impact your entire life while something long and tangible sometimes leaves minimal recollections?
In this concert we mix letters and solo piano works by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Chopin . But Rilke himself has somewhat estranged relationship with music and sometimes even tended to avoid it. Magda, an accomplished pianist, played for him and resurrected his connection with music, so we will try to unfold this dynamic between them . In addition I will use the work of another great artist, Ingmar Bergman! Both Rilke and Bergman are the perfect examples of the art to explain the unexplainable... What else can we hope to achieve this evening ?Well…
We have two wonderful surprises for you!!!! First of all , we are super fortunate to have a “real’ wizard, a fantastic actor, Ronald Gutman!! who is joining us on this project to breathe life into Rilke’s genius.
And ..Don’t be shocked, but there is another (Benvenuta -related) surprise awaiting for you!
This project had been brewing in my mind for a long time, so I’m thrilled we have a chance for this labor of love to finally give birth... As always, we invite you to share your thoughts and conclusions. Please bring your own intimate story to the salon: you don’t need to tell it; simply share your vibrations and we’ll all feel it. Better yet, dig up that ring, that old hanky, a dusty book with a love note in it. Bring it to the salon and let’s dive into Rilke’s world together!