Cornelius, Peter / Baussnern


Cornelius, Peter / Baussnern

Gunlöd (with German libretto / supplemented and orchestred by Waldemar von Baussnern)

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Peter Cornelius – Gunlöd

supplemented and orchestrated Waldemar Edler von Baußnern (1866 – 1931) Gunlöd


(born Mainz, December 24th, 1824 – died Mainz, October 26th, 1874)


Preface „There is something sad about the fact that all these rich works by such a profound and original artist as Cornelius are so little known,“1 noted the musicologist Hermann Kretzschmar about Peter Cornelius, the versatile writer, translator, arranger and composer who himself called himself a poet composer. From 1869 to 1874 he created his third music–theatrical work in piano sketches, the three–act opera „Gunlöd“, which had to remain incomplete due to his untimely death. Waldemar Edler von Baußnern, also written Bausznern, added to and orchestrated the work in its present form in 1906.

The now little–known author Peter Cornelius, as the son of the actor couple Carl (1793–1843) and Friederike Cornelius, née Schwadtke (1789–1867), also initially took up the acting profession and played in Mainz and Wiesbaden (1843), but since he had received piano, violin and later singing lessons from the theater choirist Scharrer as a child, joined an opera tour through England as a violinist in 1841 at the same time. The renouncement of the acting profession was „not without the comforting aim of being a dramatic author, to remain in close contact with the stage as a composer of ‘comic operas’.“2

From 1845 to 1849, Cornelius took composition lessons from Siegfried W. Dehn in Berlin, with whom the famous Russian composers Michail Glinka and Anton Rubinstein had learned. From 1853 to 1858 he lived in Weimar as a translator, secretary and writer in order to get to know the works of Richard Wagner and to get Franz Liszt’s opinion on his compositions.3 How his poetic vein awakened in him during the Weimar period, he describes: „Far, far from Weimar I find a friendly place of retreat in a small town on a small river – a tributary, just as I live apart. In the most beautiful circles, in which I was very kindly received, there is a young lady who plays the piano so beautifully and also sings very nicely. I wanted to show her a politeness later, from the country, and probably put myself on display as well. Then I wrote her six little music letters. Each song had to fit on one side of a letterhead paper. The poet in me was born … in great labor; music always has been a fearful affair; but then came the lucky child who had the best of both and who laughed into the world with free artistic manners. That was the poet–musician. My Opus 1 was born.“4 These were the „six little songs“ (1853). In 1859 he went to Vienna in order to achieve his main goal, the „sensible and mild limitation and consolidation of what Wagner had achieved in his best time.“5 In 1865 he followed Richard Wagner to Munich, where he became a teacher of rhetoric and harmony at the music college and where King Ludwig granted an „honorary salary“ of 1000, later 1800 guilders. But he also wrote for the “Neue Zeitschrift für Musik” about the New German School (neudeutsche Schule) and music reviews for the Berlin magazines “Echo” and “Modespiegel”. His estate is now in the Peter Cornelius Archive in Mainz. …


Read full preface / Komplettes Vorwort lesen > HERE

Score Data


Opera Explorer




210 x 297 mm





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