Die Bernauerin – Ein bairisches Stück (1947)

»And thus a larder stocked with rich language which was previously only accessible to a few is now open to all Bavarians and fellow German citizens...« (J. Andreas Schmeller ›Bavarian Dictionary‹)[1]

IIn February of 1942, Richard Strauss had attracted  Orff’s attention in correspondence to »old Bavarian and Carinthian folk poetry«. The initial inspiration for a plot originated from the allocation of the title role of Friedrich Hebbel’s tragedy ›Agnes Bernauer‹ (1852) to Orff’s daughter Godela. Orff developed plans to create a »Bavarian play: a festival for Munich«. Here he utilised the old Bavarian language for the first time which he compiled as a dramatic-musical medium with the aid of Johannes Andreas Schmeller’s ›Bavarian Dictionary‹ (1832-37).

›Die Bernauerin‹ is an individual model of typical Orffian music theatre in which the dramatic principle is the seamless alternation of language and music. The text is neither composed in an operatic style nor accompanied by music in the background: any apparent association with opera, incidental music or even melodrama is therefore false.[2]



»In ›Die Bernauerin‹, the unity of music and language is displayed in a new manner, i.e. not merely simultaneously, but also successively. This permits the spoken word to be freed from the music and in turn the music be feed from the spoken word by creating the meaning and sound of these words through its own intrinsic medium.«[3]



[1] CO-Dok VI,9; [2] Werner Thomas in: Pipers Enzyklopädie des Musiktheaters, Band 4, München 1991, S.581 ff.; [3] CO-Dok VI,19
Abb.: 1 OZM; 2 Weizsäcker; 3 Rudolf Betz
Audio: Kurt Eichhorn Orf C 255 912

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