Klassik  Oper
Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg & Christoph Eberle Franz Schubert / Richard Dünser: Der Graf von Gleichen OC 903 CD
2 Copies immediately available. Shipping till 12 December 2019 Price: 26.99 EURO

Detailed information hide

FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 903
Barcode4260034869035
labelOehmsClassics
Release date15/10/2004
salesrank13112
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Dünser, Richard
  • Schubert, Franz

Press infoshide

More releases of this artishide

    You may be interested in these titles toohide

      Description hide

      Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg · Christoph Eberle, conductor Florian Boesch / Cornelia Horak / Letizia Scherrer / Kurt Sternik

      Schubert never ?nished his opera “Der Graf von Gleichen” after a libretto by Eduard Bauernfeld. On the occasion of the Styriarte Graz 1997, Richard Dünser completed the work, which is presented on this CD as a live-recording of the ?rst performance of the concert version from 2003, performed in the Festspielhaus Bregenz.

      Franz Schubert (1797–1828)
      Richard Dünser (*1959)

      DER GRAF VON GLEICHEN

      Opera in 2 acts
      Libretto: Eduard von Bauernfeld
      Spoken text written by Thomas Hoeft

      Florian Boesch (baritone) Graf (Count) / Sultan
      Cornelia Horak (soprano) Suleika
      Letizia Scherrer (soprano) Grafin (Countess) / Fatime
      Kurt Sternik (speaker)


      KornmarktChor Bregenz
      Wolfgang Schwendinger, chorus master
      Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg
      Christoph Eberle, conductor


      Richard Dünser Komponist

      Richard Dünser was born in 1959 in Bregenz, Austria. After completing secondary school and conservatory studies, he began attending the University for Music and Theater in Vienna, where he studied composition with Francis Burt. After receiving his diploma, he began post-graduate studies with Hans-Werner Henze in Cologne and spent a summer at Tanglewood as the recipient of a composition fellowship. His encounters with Leonard Bernstein there were of particular importance to him.

      Dünser has won numerous scholarships, prizes (incl. the BMUK prize of appreciation and sponsorships from the Theodor-Körner Foundation, the city of Vienna, the Republic of Austria and the Vorarlberg provincial government) and commissions (incl. the Bregenz Festival, the styriarte festival of Graz, the Festival Steirischer Herbst, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, the Austrian Ministry of Culture and others).

      His works have been performed throughout the world by renowned artists (incl. Sylvain Cambreling, Christoph Eberle, Ivan Fischer, Peter Keuschnig, Isabelle van Keulen, Alfons Kontarsky, Donald Runnicles, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Heinrich Schiff, Martin Schelling, Alexander Swete, Marcello Viotti, Franz Welser-Möst), ensembles (Ensemble Kontrapunkte, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Plus, Klangforum Wien, die reihe, Artis Quartett Wien, Kreuzberger Streichquartett, etc.) and orchestras (Vienna Symphony, Vienna Concert-Verein, NÖ Tonkünstlerorchester, NDR Symphonieorchester Hannover, Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, etc.). They are also widely documented on CD (mica, KOCH/SCHWANN, Caprice, Sony-Columbia).

      He received international acclaim for his version of the opera fragment Der Graf von Gleichen, based on sketches by Franz Schubert, which had its concertante premiere in 1997 during the styriarte festival in Graz, followed by a large-scale production in the Bregenz opera house at Easter 2003. Dünser’s orchestra work The Waste Land also premiered in the same hall during the 2003 Bregenz Festival, performed by the Vienna Symphony under Jukka-Pekka Saraste.

      In addition to his activities as a composer, the artist teaches at the Mozarteum in Salzburg/Innsbruck, at the regional conservatory in Feldkirch and in Graz, where he has held a position as professor of music theory at the University for Music and the Performing Arts since 1991. Richard Dünser has lived in southern Styria since 1995.

      Christoph Eberle Dirigent

      Christoph Eberle studied at the Vorarlberg regional conservatory and the Vienna Conservatory of Music, completing his studies with honors.

      His successful conducting debut with the Wiener Kammerorchester took place in 1986. International conducting engagements with many orchestras followed, including with the Mozarteum-Orchester Salzburg, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI Torino, Brucknerorchester Linz, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden- Baden, RSO Wien, Wiener Concertverein, Philharmonia Prague, Orchestre National de Belgique, New Zealand Symphony, Florida Philharmonic, Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra Manchester and many others. In 2003 he made his debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London in the Royal Festival Hall.

      He has been invited to appear at renowned festivals such as the Schubertiade Feldkirch, Lockenhaus chamber music festival, Bregenz Festival, Rheingau Festival (Germany) and Bodensee Festival.

      Numerous recordings and CD productions as well as five televised performances for ORF, ZDF and RAI attest to his artistry. In 1995, Christoph Eberle was a finalist at the International Leonard Bernstein Conducting Competition. He has conducted operas in Bregenz, Ulm and St. Gallen as well as at the Semper Opera in Dresden, the Salzburg regional theater and the Vienna Volks- and State Operas. In 2004, he conducted the premiere of John Neumeier’s dance story Wie es euch gefällt/As you like it (Shakespeare/ Mozart) and assisted in concert and CD recordings for Bobby McFerrin and Valery Gergiev and the Vienna Philharmonic.

      Since 1988 he has been the principle conductor of the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg and the Vorarlberg regional theater. From 1997 to 1999 he was the direttore stabile with the Orchestra Haydn Bolzano. He was the principle conductor of the Wiener Kammerorchester from 1999 to 2004. Since fall 2004, Christoph Eberle has been the musical director of the Salzburg regional theater.

      Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg

      The Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg was founded in 1984 by musicians living in Austria’s westernmost province who wanted to establish another professional orchestra in the footsteps of the legendary Vorarlberg RSO, which broke up in 1959. The core of the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg consists of qualified musicians from the region as well as from the neighboring countries of Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany’s Lake Konstanz area. The orchestra works on a project-by-project basis. It comes together for intensive working phases and rehearses up to ten programs per year, performing each of these a number of times. Both public and press laud the exceptional commitment of the primarily young musicians who meet regularly for rehearsals and concerts out of a love of music and a desire to work intensively at the highest artistic level.

      Since 1988, the orchestra’s principle conductor has been Christoph Eberle, a native of Hittisau in the Bregenz Forest. The ensemble also works regularly with other young conductors like Gérard Korsten from South Africa, David Wroe from England, Manfred Honeck from Vorarlberg, Kyrill Petrenko from Russia – now a Vorarlberg resident – and Martin Turnovsky from the Czech Republic. The Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg has also worked with numerous outstanding international soloists including Heinrich Schiff, Thomas Quasthoff, Julian Rachlin, Stefan Vladar, Clemens Hagen, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Thomas Zehetmair, the Ensemble Triology and the Wiener Klaviertrio.

      Due to their six-concert subscription series – the first one in 1994 in Bregenz and Feldkirch; since 2002 in the Bregenz Forest as well (Hittisau and Schwarzenberg) – and appearances in the province’s international festivals (Bregenzer Frühling, Schubertiade and Bregenzer Festspiele) the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg has now become an important cultural institution in Vorarlberg which no music lover would want to do without. Parallel to this development, it is highly evident that the local population identifies with the ensemble to an ever increasing degree.

      Since 1990, one of the orchestra’s main attractions has been its yearly staged operas in cooperation with the Vorarlberg theater. These works are performed at the Bregenz theater or the Theater am Kornmarkt. The joint production in early 2001 of Mozart’s Don Giovanni was internationally acclaimed, lastly due to actor Tobias Moretti, who debuted as an opera director with this work. One year later, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel was also an enormous hit with the public, as was Madame Butterfly in Spring 2003.

      The orchestra has released five CDs, including Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf with speaker Tobias Moretti in 1998. Four CDs were made with the ORF and the Vorarlberg radio broadcasting company. On the occasion of its 15th anniversary, the ensemble recorded Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the Bregenzer Frühling 2000. They also made a live recording with Vorarlberg author Michael Köhlmeier retelling William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in his very personal style to Mendelssohn’s eponymous music. A live recording of another production with Michael Köhlmeier and Beethoven’s Creatures of Prometheus will also be appearing soon.

      The Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg’s repertoire ranges from standard works of the classic and romantic periods up to contemporary music, the latter often commissioned from Vorarlberg composers. Tours have taken the ensemble and its principle conductor Christoph Eberle to Vienna (Grosser Musikvereinssaal, Konzerthaus), Munich (Philharmonie), Dusseldorf (Tonhalle), Madrid (Aditorio Nacional), Bozen (Nuovo Teatro) as well as to Salzburg and Naples.

      Florian Boesch Bariton

      Florian Boesch began his vocal studies with Ruthilde Boesch while he was studying product design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. In 1997 he continued his vocal studies with Robert Holl, with a focus on Lied and Oratory, at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Since 2002 he is vocally trained by Antonio Carangelo.

      He appeared in various opera productions of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna as well as in productions of some freelance opera companies in Vienna. At the Wiener Kammeroper he performed Jan Müller Wieland’s Das Märchen der 672. Nacht and Schubert’s Winterreise, at the Musikverein he made his debut with Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater under the baton of Martin Haselböck and the Wiener Akademie. He was invited at the Festival Bregenz to sing the role of Silvano in Verdi’s Maskenball and he appeared as Polyphem in Händel’s Acis and Galathea at the Wiener Schauspielhaus. Under the baton of Marcello Viotti he sang Silvano in a concert performance at the Münchner Philharmonie and under Claus Peter Flor he could be heard in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Wiener Konzerthaus.

      Florian Boesch performed Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at the Theatre of Klagenfurt where he also made his debut as Papageno/Die Zauberflöte. At the Theater Wuppertal he appeared in the title role of Don Giovanni and at the Bregenz Festival he sang Schaunard and coverd Marcello/La Bohème. In October 2003 he made his debut at the Zurich Opera in the role of Papageno.

      In 2004 he could be heard at the Volksopera in Vienna as Figaro/Le Nozze Di Figaro, Leporello/ Don Giovanni and Papageno. In summer 2004 Florian Boesch makes his debut at the Salzburg Festival as Polizeikommissar in a new production of R. Strauss’s Rosenkavalier under Semyon Bychkov, followed by his debut as Guglielmo/Cosi fan tutte at the theatre of Klagenfurt. During the upcoming seasons he will sing the following parts at the State Opera Stuttgart: Papageno, Figaro and Guglielmo. In September 2002 he gave his outstanding recital-debut at the famous Festival Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg/Austria, followed by recitals at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and at the Styriarte Festival in Graz.

      Furthermore he appeared as Tiridate in Händel’s Radamisto at the Salzburg Pentecost Festival, in Dortmund and Spain, performed Joseph Haydn’s Orlando Paladino under the baton of Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Vienna’s Musikverein, Mozarts c-minor Mass and Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion with Helmuth Rilling and could be heard at the Styriarte Festival in Graz in performances of Beethoven’s Chorphantasie and Handel’s Alexanderfeast under the baton of Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

      During the last season Florian Boesch sang the role of Simon in Schubert’s Lazarus, again with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, in Vienna, Pisa, Bremen und Berlin and Handel’s Messiah under Martin Haselböck in Vienna and Lyon. Further engagements included Mahler’s Lieder aus des Knaben Wunderhorn and Schubert’s E-flat Major Mass in Vienna, C. P. E. Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion in Ljubljana, Handel’s La Resurrezione with the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and orchestrated Schubert-Songs with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Styriarte Festival. Highlights of the 2004/2005 season are concerts with Bach Cantatas at the Haydn-Festival in Eisenstadt under Adam Fischer, Handel’s Radamisto in Vienna and Amsterdam, Wolf’s Michelangelo-Lieder with Berlin Symphony, Winterreise in New York, Die Schöne Müllerin in Tokyo and St. Matthew’s Passion in Milan under Riccardo Chailly.

      Cornelia Horak Sopran

      Cornelia Horak was born in Vienna, singing in various church choirs from the time she was 10 years old. At the age of 12, she began studying recorder at the Vienna city conservatory with E. Kölz, continuing this at Vienna’s University for Music and the Performing Arts with H. M. Kneihs and graduating with a teaching certi.cate in 1989.

      During her school and university studies, she sang in various baroque chamber music formations and vocal ensembles and choirs (Voces Vienna, La Capella, Concentus Vocalis, Singakademie ...).

      Cornelia Horak graduated from the Goetheanistic Conservatory in 1993 with honors after completing her vocal training with Kammersängerin Hilde Rössl-Majdan. In 1992, the soprano won the international singing competition at s’Hertogenbosch. She joined the ensemble of the Landestheater Innsbruck in the 1993/94 season, where she remained until 1999. After this, she was a member of the Volksopera Vienna for one season.

      Since 2000, Cornelia Horak has been a full-time member of the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich. Her many roles include Pamina, Hanna Glawari, Christl, Dolly, Orlofsky, Despina, Marzelline and Kate. The Münchner Merkur newspaper nominated her for the Merkur Theater Prize for her performance of Orlofsky (“…her Orlofsky was the event of the new Fledermaus at Gärtnerplatz…”), and she was titled “Young Artist of the Year” by the reviewer of the Tagesspiegel Berlin in its 2003 “Opernwelt” yearbook.

      Cornelia Horak has performed under such conductors as P. Schreier, B. Weil, A. Fischer, N. Marriner and Ch. Eberle in concerts and recitals at the Salzburg Festspiele, Schubertiade Feldkirch, Styriarte Graz, Haydn Festspiele Eisenstadt, Jazzfest Saalfelden and the Klangbogen Vienna. Critics especially praise her exceptional versatility, breadth of expression and great musicality.

      Kurt Sternik Sprecher

      Kurt Sternik was born in 1943 in Graz, Austria. He completed his schooling there, finally leaving the Academy for Music and Performing Arts with his diploma. He originally wanted to be a singer, but was forced due to his voice to change to acting. He has been active in the Bregenz theater as a director and actor since 1970, and has also been invited to make guest appearances in many other theaters, e. g. as a director in Linz, in France (with appearances in theaters such as Nancy and the Theatre National Populaire Lyon), and at festivals in Schwäbisch Hall, Ettlingen and Spittal/Drau. His opera productions in Bregenz include La Boheme, Rigoletto, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, Tosca, Hänsel und Gretel, Don Pasquale and Madame Butterfly.

      KornmarktChor

      The Kornmarkt Choir was founded in 1990 for the yearly opera productions of the Vorarlberg regional theater. It has performed in fourteen operas, most recently in Madame Butterfly. The choir’s members are primarily trained singers and music teachers. It has a stable base of ca. 20 members. The ensemble has celebrated a number of highly successful performances in recent years, singing such works as G. F. Handel’s Messiah, J. Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem, J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion, L. v. Beethoven’s Symphonie No. 9 und J. Haydn’s Creation with the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, G. Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony in St. Stephan’s Cathedral/ Vienna, B. Martinu°’s Julietta (opera in the Bregenz opera house during the 2002 Bregenz Festspiele), Kurt Weill’s Der Kuhhandel (2004 Bregenz Festspiele, operetta in the Theater am Kornmarkt). During the 2004 season, the choir performed a number of concerts during the Schubertiade (with Genia Kühmeier, Christopher Maltman and Marcus Ullmann), the Bregenz Festspiele, the Bregenzer Frühling and the Bregenz Musik in Herz-Jesu concert series.

      Wolfgang Schwendinger
      Chorus Master


      Wolfgang Schwendinger is the artistic director of the Kornmarkt Choir as well as a music teacher in Bregenz. He has performed with the children’s choir of the Bregenz Music School in such works as Britten’s War Requiem and Berlioz’ Te Deum at the 1994 Salzburg Festspiele, the 1999 Bregenz Festspiele (Greek Passion by War Requiem, dem Te Deum von Berlioz, B. Martinu°) and G. Puccini’s La Bohème on the lakeside stage in 2001/02. He annually conducts a concert of sacred works at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg. Wolfgang Schwendinger has led the Herz-Jesu Bregenz and St. Karl Hohenems church choirs for 10 years. Since summer 2001 he has also led the choir of the Bregenz Festspiele (La Bohème 2001/02, Julietta in the opera house 2002, Der Kuhhandel in the Theater am Kornmarkt, 2004), and has been invited to conduct one of his own programs in the St. Stephan’s Cathedral in 2005.

      Der Graf von Gleichen
      The Work

      The exact origins of the bizarre story of the “Count von Gleichen” have still not been conclusively proven. In any event, it seems that the legend was first recorded by Hessian landgrave Philipp the Benevolent, who introduced it as a “precedent” when he went to Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon with the request to marry a second time. The first name which emerges for this mythical count is ‘Ludwig’. A Count von Gleichen with this name was in the retinue of Emperor Friedrich II in a 13th century crusade to Palestine. In other versions of the legend, however, the count’s first name is Sigismund or Siegfried. In 1786, Johann August Musäus began his fifth volume of German fairy tales with the saga Melechsala oder die Sage vom Grafen Ernst zu Gleichen und seinen zwei Frauen [Melechsala or the legend of Count Ernst zu Gleichen and his two wives]. Musäus embellished his sources richly, with the results becoming the actual basis for Eduard von Bauernfeld’s libretto. The friendship between Schubert and Bauernfeld, which had existed since February 1825, led one month later to Schubert’s request that Bauernfeld send him a text for an opera. About this, the latter commented on in his diary: “He – Schubert – wants a libretto from me, and suggested the Bezaubernde Rose [Enchanting Rose]. As for me – a Graf von Gleichen is going through my head.” Bauernfeld was able to convince Schubert about the Graf and hurriedly began bringing it to paper in May 1826. In July 1826, he was able to hand over the completed text – which he had only worked on for a total of eight days – to Schubert, who immediately started composing, even though censors had forbidden the text the previous October. It is not entirely clear when Schubert began; the only date in Schubert’s handwriting is July 19, 1827. What can be established, however, is that Schubert worked on this text until his death.

      The degree of completion (or in this case: lack of completion) varies. The score contains everything from one-line melodies (imagine if only the melody of Winterreise had come down to us) to melodies with bass, implied intermezzi and written-out ensembles. Most of this material is only sparingly sketched out; sometimes one can no longer follow what Schubert wanted. Some material – even with the most painstaking care – remains illegible and inexplicable. But we do have sketches for 26 numbers in the opera. For the finale, however, there is nothing!

      This opera torso remained untouched for decades, until the “Styriarte” festival commissioned Richard Dünser to finish it on the occasion of the Schubert anniversary year 1997.

      Why did Dünser take on the challenge of “completing” this work in the first place? When first asked to do so, Dünser was highly skeptical. Not, however, after looking at the existing music. The parts Schubert did compose are some of his greatest works – they are among his last pieces – the time of his last symphonies, chamber music works, Lieder, etc.

      Dünser did not – as he himself says – orchestrate the work like Schubert, but as he would have if he had composed this opera for a modern orchestra today. The original is almost never a real short score, i. e. a piano score noting which instruments are meant for which lines; Schubert rarely provided such information. No, Richard Dünser composed a great deal of his own music into this opera.

      He completed all numbers for which Schubert’s sketches exist “as [he] imagines Schubert himself, also changing, shortening or expanding the music – [resulting in] a Schubert heard through the compositional, tonal and listening experiences of the 20th century.”

      Dünser found it the most difficult to write the finale, because Schubert did not write a single note of it himself. Should he imitate Schubert, or compose his own music ‘pure’?

      Torn between these extremes, Dünser found both to be impossible, unconvincing or simply unsuitable, and thus decided on a sort of “unfinished” synthesis comprised of various fragments. Schubert’s world continues to sound on, but in the course of the intensifying and ever stranger plot, this world is confronted by the “strange”, the “contemporary” – which superimposes itself on the “old” and shows it in a completely different light. A fragmentary quote from Winterreise helps to structure the end of the opera. Schubert himself borrowed music from this song cycle for the opera (2nd act duet between the count and countess) and literally quoted Nebensonnen, but he interwove and extended these quotes with new material.

      The Plot

      Act I
      While on a crusade, Count Ernst von Gleichen and his squire Kurt are imprisoned by the Sultan of Cairo. The count keeps his identity secret, but is made palace gardener due to his skill. He there makes the acquaintanceship of the beautiful princess Suleika, who is to celebrate her 15th birthday. As a birthday present, the count has cultured and cared for a rare purple rose. The count gives her the flower, but before Suleika can confess her love to him, the sultan appears with three Indian princes, bidding Suleika to choose one as a husband. Suleika is deeply upset because she realizes that she can only love the count. She asks her father to wait another day and requests that he release the Christian slaves from bondage. The sultan agrees to this and orders that the slaves leave Cairo by ship that very night. After the count finds out the joyous news, he comes into the garden, where Suleika is expectantly waiting for him. As he begins to bid her farewell, she asks him if he is betraying their love, because the gift of a purple rose is considered a confession of love in the Orient. Although the count tells Suleika about his wife and son, Suleika tells him of her plan to flee with her servant Fatime and the Christian slaves. When Suleika then tells the count she wishes to convert to Christianity, his resistance is gone. All board the ship together, which sails off to the happy cries of the liberated.

      Act II
      Meanwhile, back at the castle, the countess watches as the harvesters bring home bales of grain. Despite her husband’s seven-year absence, she has not given up hope that he will return. Her love to him is unbroken. Even if he should never come back, her love will never die, and she would keep her pain alive. From the distance come sounds of a choir of pilgrims who have joined the count’s party. He recognizes his castle but hesitates to reenter it. Finally, he knocks on the door and requests that the countess to be brought to him under the pretense of bringing her news about her husband. The countess comes, and Count Ernst reveals himself and has his son brought down as well. The happy tidings of his return spread through the castle. Suleika – now renamed Angelika – as well as Kurt and Fatime have also now arrived and are received by the countess. Suleika goes to rest, and the count tells the countess a secret (which the audience doesn’t find out until the end of the opera!) and asks her if she would be willing to share his love for Suleika. Although the countess promises this, both decide that the countess alone must speak to Suleika. While the countess unobtrusively observes the sleeping Suleika, the latter wakes and begins to pray. The countess comes to her and asks her if she truly loves the count. When Suleika immediately confirms this, the countess wants to display her affection for her, but out of shame, Suleika cannot respond. The count enters, and both try to calm down the agitated atmosphere. In the great hall, the count gathers his friends and now airs the secret: that the pope has allowed him to take on Suleika as a second wife because she has converted. Suleika and all others rejoice, and the wedding is held in the castle chapel.

      Johannes Steinwender
      Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler


      Richard Dünser
      Der Graf von Gleichen – A working report

      “Pain sharpens the understanding and strengthens the soul – in contrast, joy seldom distresses one, pampering or making one frivolous instead. From the depths of my heart, I hate that prejudice which makes so many wretched beings say that only that which they do is the best, and that everything else is nothing. It is true that one beautiful thing should inspire humans and carry them through life. But a shimmer of this inspiration should light up everything else.“

      Franz Schubert in a diary entry from March 23, 1824.


      He vacillated between joy and pain, between extremes, in both his life and work.

      His life seemed unbalanced, his art as well; not “classic“, but defamed by Goethe as “sick”.

      And his Winterreise: its bruskness, its occasional brutality make it “modern”. Icy nature as the source of metaphors and symbols: “Romantic” parallels to Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Gescheiterter Hoffnung [lost hope], whose title is actually Das Eismeer [the polar sea]. The painting Die gescheiterte Hoffnung has been lost; its twin work was wrongfully attributed with this title.

      Lost, missing, fragments, ruins…

      The mysterious attraction of the unfinished…

      Schubert left us with a number of unfinished works, not only the Symphony in B minor, D 759 which is so often played today, 200 years after Schubert’s birth, but also the powerful torso of an opera: Der Graf von Gleichen (D 918), based on the libretto by Eduard von Bauernfeld.

      Schubert worked on this opera during the last two years of his life. The degree of completion (or in this case: lack of completion) varies. The score contains everything from one-line melodies (imagine if only the melody of Winterreise had come down to us) to melodies with bass, implied intermezzi and written-out ensembles. Most of this material is only sparingly sketched out; sometimes one can no longer follow what Schubert wanted. Some material – even with the most painstaking care – remains illegible and inexplicable. But we do have sketches for 26 numbers in the opera. For the finale, however, there is nothing!

      And as we all know, the finale of a piece of music, especially one combining music and drama, is the essential part of the work. All conflicts must be worked out, the knot untied (or cut through); the composer must clearly take a position.

      The fact that there was no conclusion to this work – in addition to the early stage of the sketches – must be one of the reasons why this monumental fragment lay so long in a drawer of the Vienna city and regional library gathering dust. A facsimile of the manuscript – highly difficult to read in some spots – was first published in 1988.

      Why did I take on the challenge of “completing” this work in the first place?

      At first, I was highly skeptical. Not, however, after looking at the existing music. The parts Schubert did compose are some of his greatest works – they are among his last pieces – the time of his last symphonies, chamber music works, Lieder, etc.

      I wanted to make this incredible music heard again, but consciously. As I hear it, as I imagine it, as my imaginary image of Schubert, as a biography with some fictitious and subjective material – quasi composed by myself.

      I did not orchestrate the work like Schubert, but as he would have if he had composed this opera for a modern orchestra today. The original is almost never a real short score, i. e. a piano score noting which instruments are meant for which lines; Schubert rarely provided such information. No, I composed a great deal of my own music into this opera.

      Orchestrating in a truly “Schubertian” manner could of course only be done with original instruments, which doesn’t interest me. Not out of prejudice or intolerance, but because the primary interest of those who play old instruments is on playing actual “early” music.

      I completed all numbers for which Schubert wrote sketches as I imagine “my” Schubert, also changing, shortening or expanding the music – a Schubert heard through the compositional, tonal and listening experiences of the 20th century.

      The most difficult part to write was the finale, because Schubert did not write a single note of it himself. Should I try to

      imitate Schubert? Should I compose “purely” my own music?

      Torn between these extremes, I found both to be impossible, unconvincing or simply unsuitable, and thus decided on a sort of “unfinished” synthesis comprised of various fragments. Schubert’s world continues to sound on, but in the course of the intensifying and ever stranger plot, this world is confronted by the “strange”, the “contemporary” – which superimposes itself on the “old” and shows it in a completely different light. A fragmentary quote from Winterreise helps to structure the end of the opera. Schubert himself borrowed music from this song cycle for the opera (2nd act duet between the count and countess) and literally quoted Nebensonnen, but he interwove and extended these quotes with new material. Wilhelm Müller’s enigmatic text:

      “I saw three suns in the heavens, I looked at them long and steadily; and they stood there so stolidly, as though they never wanted to turn away from me.

      Oh, you are not my suns! Look others in the face! Yes, recently I had three, now the best two are down.

      If only the third would follow! In the dark I will feel better.”

      was a key to my understanding of the opera. At the point where Suleika comes more and more into the sphere of the count and countess, as the future “third in the alliance”, the Nebensonnen – secondary suns, as it were – are quoted. A vision near the edge of madness. A number of suns stand in the heavens, the viewer is mulling over this vision; associations, reminiscences come to mind and increasingly stir him up. “Oh, you are not my suns! Look others in the face! Yes, recently I had three, now the best two are down. If only the third would follow! In the dark I will feel better.”

      Schubert uses this allusion to relegate the opera’s completely unexpected solution of bigamy into the realm of mad visions, a utopia, “unfinished”…

      Is it only chance that he made no more sketches at the end? Or are there secondary wives where there are secondary suns?

      Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler

      Tracklist hide

      hideCD 1
      • Akt 1
        • 1.Introduktion06:10
        • 2.Sprecher01:11
        • 3.Rezitativ und Cavatine Graf.06:27
        • 4.Sprecher00:59
        • 5.Arie Suleika07:01
        • 6.Duett Suleika – Graf02:53
        • 7.Marsch01:58
        • 8.Sprecher00:39
        • 9.Rezitativ Graf und Rezitativ und Arie Sultan02:44
        • 10.Sprecher01:08
        • 11.Rezitativ und Arie Suleika05:34
        • 12.Sprecher00:16
        • 13.Erstes Finale16:18
      • Total:53:18
      moreCD 2
      • Akt 2
        • 1.Chor der Schnitter03:45
        • 2.Sprecher00:41
        • 3.Arie der Gräfin03:06
        • 4.Sprecher00:12
        • 5.Chor der Kreuzfahrer02:00
        • 6.Sprecher00:21
        • 7.Rezitativ und Arie Graf04:07
        • 8.Sprecher00:30
        • 9.Rezitativ und Duett Gräfin – Graf und Rezitativ und Chor05:31
        • 10.Sprecher00:18
        • 11.Marsch der Kreuzfahrer02:04
        • 12.Sprecher01:51
        • 13.Rezitativ Gräfin – Graf und Arie Gräfin05:27
        • 14.Duett Gräfin – Graf02:29
        • 15.Sprecher00:15
        • 16.Arie Suleika01:50
        • 17.Rezitativ und Duett Suleika – Gräfin04:36
        • 18.Sprecher00:35
        • 19.Terzett Suleika – Gräfin – Graf01:56
        • 20.Sprecher00:19
        • 21.Zweites Finale10:28
      • Total:52:21