Paul Dessau © DEFA-Stiftung
A lively portrait of prominent (East) German composer and conductor Paul Dessau (1984-1979).
We experience Dessau during rehearsals of his orchestral work entitled Bach Variations (1962-63) and teaching composition to schoolchildren—and he shows full engagement in both settings. In the film, Dessau describes himself as a communist and compares the complicated creative processes involved in making art and in making socialism.
He shares his views on the importance of music education in schools: that understanding the process of composing will make someone a critical listener of music. He also argues that music should include “moments of tensions,” which “are necessary and serve a purpose […] in a time that’s not exactly soft. Art can’t be lazy. It’s demanding. It makes us think. And thinking is famously uncomfortable.”