in the translation of
The burghers of stolid Hamlin are so devoid of any higher urges that even their dreams have become prudent. No one ever asks why, things are homely that way. Then an all-engulfing plague of rats threatens to wipe out this sedateness.They call on a contender (trying for a sly deal out of habit) and ’a piper, dressed in green’ comes to help. But his power proves deeply unsettling, and it knows no master. Now the angriest celebration of music ever written unravels.
Based on a German folk tale, this tour de force of a ‘lyrical satire’ rings true no less today, loudly. Stark and uncompromising themes from the private to the political bring alive what one can lose so easily, thus giving up so much. The English translation by Angela Livingstone masters giving us this maverick opus in its whole gamut. Literate East and West agree on this revealing the genuine Tsvetaeva in English.
Angela is our guest in Pushkin House on the evening.