Paul von Klenau – Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke
(b. Copenhagen, 11 February 1883 – d. Copenhagen, 31 August 1946)
for baritone, choir and orchestra
Rainer Maria Rilke‘s Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke is one of the most often musicalised texts of the 20th century. When the 24-year-old poet put Die Weise to paper in the autumn of 1899 – in his own words, „in one night, by the way, a glorious autumn night“ – he probably had no idea that he had just completed his most successful work. Rilke had been inspired to his text by an extract from a file that the chief state archive registrar Meister from Dresden had prepared on 19 July 1870 and which was found in the estate of his uncle Jaroslav. The deceased had tried to provide evidence of the relationship between the Rilkes and the Carinthian noble family Rülke, which was doubted by research. This historical document is printed before the Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke as a quotation, and with its „pressed dryness“, according to Rilke, it forms a stark contrast to the verbal ecstasy, which arises in particular from an artistic interweaving of poetry and prose.
The powerful portrayal of the fictional experiences of a young nobleman in the fourth Austrian War against the Turks first appeared in the magazine Die Arbeit and was subsequently published by Axel Juncker in a limited edition without any significant response. Only after its publication as Volume 1 of the bibliophile „Insel“ book series did Die Weise von Liebe und Tod attain overwhelming popularity, especially during the First World War, and to the present day has inspired more than 15 composers to set it to music in a wide variety of genres. Based on Rilke‘s early work, cantatas, song cycles, ballads, operas and symphonic poems were created. …
Read full preface > HERE