After their first successful collaboration in Florence in 2012 with the project called “Technobohemians” Ksenia Kogan and John Malkovich decided to create a new non-excising before crossover. “Report on the Blind” is the world premiere of a newly interpreted version featuring a literary twist.
Piano Concerto by late 20th century Russian composer Alfred Schnittke performed by piano soloist Ksenia Kogan and string orchestra is combined with the text from the chapter Report on the Blind of the contemporary Argentinian writer Ernesto Sabato’s novel On Heroes and Tombs narrated by John Malkovich.
Ernesto Sabato is bringing a realistic allegory of all times tragedy through the paranoiac idea of the character Fernando Vidal that THE BLIND RULE THE WORLD. The character expresses his reflections on God’s existence and the power of the Blind Sect. The music responds to those ideas by avant-garde interpretation of Schnittke’s Concerto full of dissonant harmonies and sharp expressions. As Alfred Schnittke was living at the most severe times of KGB control in his country, the general paranoiac idea of Sabato’s novel “the blind rule the world” is strongly bonded between music and text through a fear of the unknown, inescapable fear of the prosecution and control. "Ksenia and I had gone through many ideas, and she particularly liked the Schnittke piano concerto, which struck me in many ways as paranoiac and which I like very much, and made me think of the Sabato book On Heroes and Tombs," Malkovich said during a preparation to a World premiere of this project in Seoul, South Korea. Ksenia Kogan and John Malkovich worked carefully through the musical and literary text selecting word by word those moments of collaboration between piano, voice and the orchestra. “Listening to Schnittke Concerto I felt this music has a rare potential for a dialogue between piano and narrating voice and it made me think that its expression would perfectly suit the Malkovich style,” Kogan said. The text complements the music and produces a dialogue where the voice is a part of the music; it plays a role of a musical instrument rather than a narration.
Ksenia Kogan was educated in artistically open-minded athmosphere. Her family was always surrounded by great musicians and conductors, painters and photographers, dancers and choreographers, actors and movie directors. They were not only classically oriented people, but had jazz and contemporary artists among others in their friendship. As a result Ksenia herself became a very versatile and enthusiastic person in trying new ways of art expression. She belives there should be no limit in artist's imagination and creation, and the one who has this capacity and creative energy should generously share it with the audience, especially in today's life when time is running so fast and people really need the truth. She belives the only truth is coming from the art - through the freedom of being yourself while creating.
Report on the
Nazi Literature in the Americas
It is a duo project of Ksenia Kogan and John Malkovich, where John narrates a text from Roberto Bolaño’s book „Nazi Literature in the Americas” on the music of Argentinian composers Astor Piazzolla and Alberto Ginastera performed by Ksenia at the piano.
A tour de force of black humor, Roberto Bolano's Nazi Literature in the Americas presents itself as an encyclopedia of extremely right-wing writers.
Composed of short biographies of imaginary pan-American authors (the nations with the most representatives are Argentina, with eight, and the USA, with seven), Nazi Literature describes, in fourteen thematic sections, the writers' lives, politics, and literary works. It includes bibliographies, cross-references, and an epilogue ("For Monsters"). Although the writers are invented, they are all carefully and credibly situated in real literary worlds: his characters rebuff Ginsberg's advances in Greenwich Village, encounter Paz in Mexico City, and quarrel with Lezama Lima in Cuba. The tone of the entries is brisk and pseudo-academic, but with delicately balanced irony and pathos. Bolano does not simply use his fascist writers for target practice: he manages to sketch character portraits that are often pathetically funny, sometimes surprisingly moving, and, on occasion, authentically chilling.
Remarkably inventive and humorous, and offering keen insights into the workings of an extraordinarily fecund literary imagination, Nazi Literature in the Americas is the book that made Bolano famous in the Spanish-speaking world.