Cornelius, Peter


Cornelius, Peter

Der Cid (Vocal score with German libretto)

SKU: 37b Categories: ,


Cornelius, Peter

Der Cid (Vocal score with German libretto)



Opera in 3 Acts

Peter Cornelius, after Guillén de Castro and Victor Aymé Huber
Premiere: Weimar, 21 May 1865

Carl August Peter Cornelius was born into a family of actors in Mainz in 1824, and thus came into contact with the theatre at an early age. He was both poetically and musically gifted, but his father wanted him to follow in the footsteps of his parents. Although he learned to play the violin as a child and took part as first violinist of the Mainz Theater in an operatic tour to London, he began an acting career in Mainz upon completing secondary school. In 1843 he was named court actor of the Duke of Nassau’s theatre and performed in Wiesbaden. Only after the death of his father does the twenty-year-old Cornelius devote renewed energy to music. He moved to Berlin, joining his famous and ennobled uncle, the painter Peter von Cornelius. In his uncle’s hospitable, cosmopolitan home he was able to forget his failures as an actor and broaden his knowledge of literature; at the same time he studied harmony and counterpoint under the highly regarded teacher Siegfried Dehn (1799-1858), whose pupils also included Mikhail Glinka and Anton Rubinstein. Dehn introduced Cornelius to such masters of early music as Lasso and Palestrina, and thus Catholic church music dominated in the first years of Cornelius’s activity as composer. Besides all this he also wrote for the Berlin journals Echo and Modespiegel.

Decisive for the young author and composer, however, was his encounter, arranged by his uncle, with Franz Liszt, whose Weimar Circle he joined in 1852-53. At first he worked as a music critic for the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. Under the influence of zopera, Der Barbier von Bagdad, which was premiered with Liszt as conductor. This work, considered by several scholars to be the best German comic opera after Wagner’s Meistersinger, would become famous only after the death of its composer, for it failed at its premiere due to organized political intrigue. It was never again performed during the composer’s life. As a direct consequence of machinations surrounding the performance, Liszt stepped down as court conductor in Weimar. Shortly thereafter Cornelius resettled in Vienna, where he made the acquaintance of the author Friedrich Hebbel and wrote his second opera, the «lyrical drama» Der Cid, which was premiered, like its ill-fated predecessor, at the Weimar Court Theatre. In contrast to Der Barbier, Der Cid was an overwhelming success, but it is one of the ironies of fate that the former work, having been jeered off stage, became a permanent success, while Der Cid sank into obscurity.
Cornelius had been introduced to Richard Wagner by Franz Liszt in 1852; after a first meeting in Basel, the two developed in Vienna a friendship in which the younger man served the older master in part as a social companion, in part as an assistant. Cornelius, who had meanwhile earned a reputation as an outstanding critic and essayist, also defended Wagner frequently in the press. Yet although he was an ardent admirer of Wagner’s music, he was neither compositionally nor artistically much influenced by Wagner’s great example. Even well into the twentieth century, Der Barbier impressed listeners as «Wagnerian», but the reason for this lies in the subsequent editing of the work (and falsification of its contents) by the conductors Felix Mottl and, later, Hermann Levi. ..


read more > HERE

Score No.






You may also like…

Go to Top