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In his Geschichte des Oratoriums (History of the Oratorio), published in 1887, Franz Böhme wrote the following words: “Joachim Raff with his ‚Offenbarung‘ (1882) was probably the last oratorio composer of importance who still used the Händel=Mendelssohn oratorio form, and in this, his last great creation, he combined rare intimacy and depth with an outstanding spirited structure and brilliant instrumentation to a moving effect.”1 Thus he does not only place the composer in the musical-historical succession of George Friedrich Handel and Felix Mendelssohn, but also virtually sets Raff’s work apart from that of other well-known composers such as Franz Liszt. Especially the distinction from Franz Liszt is remarkable, to whom Raff was very close for a long time and with whom he had worked for many years in Weimar. After all, it was Liszt through whom Raff came into contact with sacred music time and again, especially in the form of masses and oratorios.

In the second half of the 1850s, Franz Liszt composed the first parts of his Christus, and in 1859 he made the first public appearance with these. Compared to other oratorios, the text of Christus is written in Latin, as in a mass. …


Opera in one act

Marie Joseph Alexandre Déodat, Baron de Sévérac, was born in the village of Saint-Félix-Lauragais, not far from Toulouse. He was one of five children born to Aglaé and Gilbert de Sévérac, and he would receive his early training in the rudiments of music from his father – who was also a talented painter. On graduating in 1890 from the Dominican-run College at Sorèze where he had studied the piano, the organ and the oboe, he enrolled, on his father’s insistence, at Toulouse University to pursue a law degree. Three years later his father relented, and Déodat entered the conservatory in that city. As his musical vocation became ever more apparent he moved to the newly founded Schola Cantorum in Paris in 1896, where he was taught composition by d’Indy and Magnard, and organ by Guilmant. He remained at the Schola until 1907, and made close friendships there with Albeniz, Roussel and Canteloube. Outside his academic environs he met and befriended other composers – Dukas, Schmitt, Fauré and Ravel – together with leading poets, painters, sculptors and critics of the day, many of whom frequented the salon hosted by the Princesse de Polignac. However Sévérac did not find life in the capital conducive, and once his studies were completed he moved back south …

Vocal Score is also available > HERE


(Spring. A Song of Struggle and Life‘ for orchestra, Op. 8)

I Winterwelt, ihre Sehnsucht, ihre Not.(Wintry World, its Longing, its Misery) p. 3
II Ein Frühlingstraum. (A Dream of Spring) p. 33
III Erwachen und kämpfen. (Awakening and Struggling) p. 47
IV Der Sieger. (The Winner) p. 85 – Frühlingsland. (Land of Spring) p. 101
V Frühlings- und Werdenächte. (Nights of Spring and Sprouting) p. 123
VI Der Sonne entgegen! (Toward the Sun!) p. 145

Paul Scheinpflug from Saxony was one of those composers whose fame rose meteorically at the beginning of the 20th century. Even before he was 30 years old, he was recognized as a truly significant master, but s it happened with many of his artist colleagues, his composing career was shattered by the First World War, and as a result, it was above all the excellent conductor Scheinpflug who was widely respected and who largely overshadowed his compositional work.

Scheinpflug’s lifetime coincides almost completely with that of Maurice Ravel: born four months after Ravel, he died eight and a half months before the great Frenchman, and as with the latter, we should not be primarily interested here in the question of how advanced, how progressive Scheinpflug’s material is, but rather how he understands to serve a subtle development based on the tradition. …