Orchester

(bap. Bonn, 17. December 1770 – d. Vienna, 26. March 1827)

Cantata for soli, choir and orchestra

Preface
Today, there is hardly any other work by Ludwig van Beethoven that is as large in scale and was acclaimed at its premiere, and yet at the same time is hardly ever performed today as the festive cantata Der glorreiche Augenblick op. 136 (The glorious moment). One reason for this can be found in the patriotic text, which was composed for the Congress of Vienna and whose topicality in terms of daily politics was perceived early on as an obstacle to the cantata finding its way into the concert hall. Even several changes to the text, such as by Friedrich Rochlitz in 1837, who rewrote the cantata into a hymn of praise to music entitled Preis der Tonkunst (Praise of the musical Art), or Hermann Scherchen in 1955, who replaced nationalism with a universal message of peace, failed to establish the piece in the repertoire. In addition to the text, Beethoven’s music was also repeatedly the target of criticism when it came to the question of why this work, which lasts about 40 minutes, is not heard more often. It was claimed that in writing the cantata, Beethoven had produced a striking, banal and superficial occasional composition that clearly lagged behind his more popular works. Nevertheless, it seems appropriate to take a closer look at the cantata due to the occasion, the monumentality of the composition and the great success at its premiere …


(b. Munich, June 11, 1864 – d. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 8 September, 1949)

Richard Strauss is considered a master of great symphonic works, with his tone poems and the large orchestras used in them, culminating in the “Alpine Symphony” with more than 120 musicians required. He also cultivated an opulent sound in his operas, just think of his “Salome” and “Elektra”! Thus he was a successor in a line of composers from Berlioz to Liszt and Wagner.

But this is only one side of his oeuvre. After the great success of his opera “Der Rosenkavalier”, his work slowly took on an orientation towards classical and baroque models. The impetus for this came from his close collaboration with Hugo von Hofmannsthal. In this context, the opera “Ariadne auf Naxos” must be mentioned above all, which was the second collaboration between the two artists. Here a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk was created in which theatre, music and dance form a unity, and for which the theatre at the court of Louis XIV served as a model here. The performance of the “Ariadne” opera was to be combined with a performance of Molière’s comedy “Der Bürger als Edelmann”, which was to be performed directly after the opera. Hugo von Hoffmannsthal shortened and translated the original for this purpose. The comedy tells of the futile attempts of an uneducated nouveau riche to rise to the upper echelons of society with the help of his fortune.


Oper

(b. Livorno, 7. December 1863 – d. Rome, 2. August 1945)

French libretto by Paul Collin
Italian translation by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti

Premiere: Salle Garnier, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 16 March 1905
Cast: Geraldine Farrar (Amica); Charles Rousselière (Giorgio); Maurice Renaud (Rinaldo);
Paola Rainaldi (Magdelone); Henri-Alexandre Lequien (Maître Camoine)
Pierre Mascagni (Conductor)

Italian premiere: Teatro Costanzi, Rome, 13 May 1905
Cast: Amelia Karola (Amica); Pietro Schiavazzi (Giorgio); Riccardo Stracciari (Rinaldo);
Italia Bonetti (Maddalena); Leo Eral (Padron Camoine)
Pietro Mascagni (Conductor)

Characters
Amica, an orphan, niece of Camoine (soprano); Giorgio, a farm worker (tenor);
Rinaldo, a shepherd and Giorgio’s brother (baritone); Maître/Padron Camoine, farm owner (bass);
Magdelone/Maddalena, housekeeper, betrothed to Camoine (mezzo-soprano).
Chorus: Farm workers, shepherds, harvesters, children.
Setting: Piedmont Alps, 1900

Musikdrama

(27. March 1854 in Sinaai – 28. October 1912 in Brüssel)

After the enormous international success of his oratorio Franciscus (Flemish Music Collection, vol. 521) Edgar Tinel wanted to write a new musical hagiography. After the universally known Francis of Assisi, this time he chose the local Flemish St Godelieve van Gistel (c. 1050-1070). The story goes that the noble Godelieve was married off to Bertolf, son of the lord of Gistel Castle, who treated her badly from the very first day and eventually cast her out. But even in these miserable circumstances, Godelieve continued to care for the poor and the outcasts. Finally, she was murdered by two of Bertolf’s servants. After her death, she was honoured and worshipped by the locals, and after a miracle attributed to her, she was canonised in 1084. She became the object of popular devotion and in the second half of the 19th century numerous romanticised biographies about Godelieve were published.
Tinel, a devout believer, also adored the popular saint, as demonstrated by this letter of 6 September 1888 to his spiritual mentor Constance Teichmann: ‘Do you know the life of St Godelieve? Tears well up in my eyes when I think of this sweet saint. I had started to say her name in my morning prayer, but I had to give up. It was taking too much from my heart, it was making me burst, it was taking over my whole being.’…

Vocal Score also available > HERE

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