The Magical Theatre
A Double-Concerto for Violoncello, Piano and String-Orchestra
10 violins (no division in violin 1 und 2), 4 violas, 3 violoncellos, 1 double bass.
ca. 30 minutes
We can imagine the two soloists as two people, who act on an imaginary stage. The piano – whose sound differs from the string-orchestra – is a desperate, lonely person who crumbled away from himself and the world. With reference to Hermann Hesse’s novel, I would like to call him a “Steppenwolf”. The violoncello whose sound is very close to the string-orchestra, is an Indian sage (its music is strongly influenced by Indian music) who runs a “magical theatre” (another idea from Hesse’s novel) – a theatre in the theatre as it were – and who leads the Steppenwolf back into life. The orchestra is thus assigned to the sage and his theatre, and it supports the violoncello.
The piece develops as follows:
|The Steppenwolf is psychologically totally crumbled.|
|Interplay by the orchestra – minute alterations circle around a single tone. The consciousness focuses on a microstructure as it were, and creates distance to the scene like in the Buddhist mindfulness meditation.|
|The monologue of despair of the Steppenwolf; woven into it are motives (bars 32, 34 – 35, and 37 – 38), which later create the theme of the changed Steppenwolf.|
|The theatre’s portal, and the Steppenwolf’s astonishment.|
|The Indian sage in meditation.|
|The sage prepares the first scene.|
|First scene: A theme by Schubert, the speech of death
from the song „Death and the Maiden“:|
„Gib deine Hand, du schön und zart Gebild!
Bin Freund, und komme nicht, zu strafen.
Sei guten Muts! Ich bin nicht wild,
sollst sanft in meinen Armen schlafen!“
(Give your hand, oh beautiful and tender creation!
I am friend, and I do not come to punish.
Be of good cheer! I am not wild,
You should tenderly sleep in my arms!)
|The sage prepares the second scene.|
|Second scene and at the same time first variation on Schubert’s theme: Carnival and Masks.|
|The sage prepares the third scene.|
|Third scene and second variation: love.|
|The sage prepares the fourth scene.|
|Fourth scene and third variation: the inner demons.|
|At first the demons catch the Steppenwolf’s attention. He can access their world immediately.|
|Looking back at the theatre.|
|The path into life, first part: The Steppenwolf lives in the world of the carnival and tries on the masks accompanied by the sage – development of the motives of the first variation.|
|The path into life, second part: The Steppenwolf meets love – development of the motives of the second variation.|
|The path into life, third part: The Steppenwolf meets his inner demons – development of the motives of the third variation.|
|Point of death – a ritual: giving up and letting go of the current self-image, a kind of death-experience.|
|Liberation of the divine essence of the former Steppenwolf, transformation and rebirth. The piano picks up the hidden motives from the monologue of despair and creates a theme out of them, which circumscribes an overtone sound.|
Composed 2008/09 at the suggestion of the pianist Andreas Frölich.
Publisher: Benjamin – Boosey & Hawkes, Berlin, Germany.