Strange Stories Told Musically

Grotesque music from Berlin and Leningrad in the 1930s is planned for the traditional semester end concerts of the University of Bremen orchestra and choir. They will take place on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 and Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at “Haus am Walde” and in the Gutsscheune Stuhr in Varrel.

About the program “Between Chaos and Commerce”

The university choir will be singing excerpts from Mischa Spolianskys revue “Rufen Sie Herrn Plim”, which was composed in 1932. The strange story deals with Mr Plim, who receives all complaints in a Berlin store and takes the blame for everything. In the 1920s and 1930s, Spoliansky was only of the most important composers for German cabaret in Berlin, alongside Friedrich Hallaender. Amongst other things, he composed for the Comedian Harmonists and Marlene Dietrich.

Going in a New Direction

It was not only in Berlin but also in Leningrad that art went in a new direction in the 1930s. After the university choir, the Blech-Lights ensemble will perform. All band members are or were part of the university orchestra. They will be playing “The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda”, which was written by the Leningrad composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Shostakovich originally penned the piece between 1933 and 1935 as music for a cartoon film. The music deals with critique of the church and authority in general. The film was never finished and was then even destroyed. However, parts of Shostakovich’s music remained intact and were made into a suite. In 2017, Bernd Feuchtner wrote about the remaining parts of the music: “It is some of the most delightful music that Shostakovich has ever written.”

Soulful Tangos for a Large Orchestra

The university orchestra will perform Shostakovich’s suite “The Bolt” in the second half of the concert. Shostakovich was only 24 years of age when he composed the music for the eponymous ballet in Leningrad in the years 1930/31. The ballet is set in a factory in which the villain stops the machine using a bolt and thus sabotages the work of the good people. The involved characters are characterized with humor and sarcasm in one song each. The fourth movement is particularly impressive: A highly complex sequence of soulful tangos for a large orchestra. The concert will end with a hit from the classical music charts: Shostakovich’s famous Waltz No. 2 from his “Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 2” from the year 1938. The University Musical Director Dr. Susanne Gläß will lead both concerts.

Dates and Tickets:

Tuesday, July 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Garden of the Haus am Walde, Kuhgrabenweg 2 (should there be unfavorable weather, the concert will take place in the GW1 lecture hall of the university on Universitätsallee, opposite the Universum, free entry, donations welcome

Wednesday, July 3, 2019, 8 p.m., Gutsscheune Stuhe in Varrel, tickets 12 euros, concessional tickets 8 euros. Advanced sale at Nordwest Ticket and in Stuhr town hall (phone: +49 421 5695-500).

Further information:


Dr. Susanne Gläß
University Musical Director
Phone: +49 421 218-60109



Two musicians with bassoons
Orchestra members at the semester end concert in the garden of the Haus am Walde.