Donghoon Shin's Of Rats and Men premieres in Berlin

Donghoon Shin's Of Rats and Men premieres in Berlin

On 8 December, Of Rats and Men – the new work by ricordilab laureate Donghoon Shin – will have its world premiere in Berlin. The piece is performed by the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker under Peter Eötvös. In 2019, alongside other young professional composers and conductors, Donghoon Shin has been selected to participate in a mentoring program established by the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation. Within the period of one year, the selected mentees have the chance to expand their portfolios and work with various notable figures of the international music scene. Two short stories served Shin as inspiration for creating Of Rats and Men – Franz Kafka's “Josefine, die Sängerin oder Das Volk der Mäuse” ("Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk") and Roberto Bolanõ's “Police Rat”.

Of Rats and Men (2019)

for chamber orchestra – –
Duration: 11'
WP: 08.12.2019, Berlin 

Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker
Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker

Composer's note

"The first movement, 'The Singer', inspired by the short story of Kafka, begins with an oboe solo melody which represents Josefine's (the singer) song. The melody continues throughout the movement although it’s endlessly threatened by the orchestra tuttis [...] which have much wilder characters with darker pitches than the melody line. Bolanõ's 'Police Rat' gave me the inspiration to write the second movement. Interestingly, the short story is a kind of metafiction based on Kafka’s 'Josefine'. Pepe, the protagonist in Bolanõ’s story is a police rat and nephew of Josefine. It's a story that reflects fear and violence in our world. Just as the oboe solo plays a leading role in the first movement, the second movement 'The Cop and Killers', begins with a bassoon melody representing Pepe the cop. While the low register melody continues, many different musical fragments are superimposed on it and they affect each other."
–Donghoon Shin


Photo: Marco Loumiet, Peter Adamek