œnm . œsterreichisches ensemble fuer neue musik

“Aelita – Queen of Mars”

Sunday, 23. October 2022, 17:00

Musikverein, Gläserner Saal
Musikvereinsplatz 1, 1010 Wien


"Aelita - Der Flug zum Mars"
Stummfilm von Jakow Protasanow (UdSSR 1924), live begleitet mit der 2010 komponierten Musik von Dmitri Kourliandski (* 1975)


œnm . œsterreichisches ensemble fuer neue musik


Oswald Sallaberger.
Film poster for screenings in Germany, 1920s

In 1924, “Aelita – Queen of Mars”, one of the earliest science fiction films, was completed in post-revolutionary Russia. The film is many things at once: it imagines a fantastic world on another planet, while at the same time realistically reflecting the difficult years immediately after the October Revolution, marked by bitter hardship. It tells a love story just as it mirrors the political struggles of the time in the utopian story. The film contains documentary elements, but also imagines a dream world with great cinematic effort. On the one hand, it is ideologically colored, but it also contains biting criticism of prevailing conditions. It is precisely in its complexity and contradictions that “Aelita” is one of the most fascinating documents of early Soviet film.
In 2010, Dmitri Kourliandski composed a new score for the film that harkens back to the tradition of Russian Futurism as it was in vogue in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, before Stalin imposed his restrictive cultural policies. He wraps the film in a delicate aura of often noisy sounds that correspond with the images to a greater or lesser extent and often enough in the sense of ironic refraction.

The performance is part of the thematic focus “Music in Transition” at Wiener Musikverein, which turns its attention to Russian and Soviet music of the first half of the 20th century and asks what paths various artists took in the face of the challenges of this half-century riven by crisis-ridden upheavals.


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