»El Cimarrón«, »the layabout«. Or »the runaway«, as the Cuban slaves who managed to escape their masters were called. One of these was Esteban Montejo, whose memoirs were recorded and published by Miguel Barnet. They tell of the barbarities of slavery, of an unbreakable will, as well as a deep empathy for African culture and spirituality. Searching for new forms of expression within a politicised music, Hans Werner Henze came across the story of this former slave at the end of the 1960s, and decided to set it to music. In Havana in the winter of 1969/70 he composed »El Cimarrón«, a »Recital« for vocalist, flautist, guitarist and percussionist. With a libretto by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, the work’s fifteen scenes illustrate the flight of the slave with abrasive, provocative sounds, as well as his alignment with the revolution, and finally his disillusionment with the new system, in particular a »false« freedom. Cowbells, struck shells, the clatter of chains, whistles and a megaphone all serve to create a naturalistic aural backdrop.
Recital for four musicians by Hans Werner Henze.
Guest appearance of the »El cimarrón Ensemble«
Premiere 29 Sep 2012
Staging: Michael Kerstan