Straesser, Joep

Joep Straesser was born in Amsterdam on March 11, 1934. He died on September 22, 2004 in Loenersloot. Joep Straesser studied musicology from 1953 to 1955 at the University of Amsterdam.

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Tableaux vivants : Symphonic scenes from the opera "Über Erich M.", for orchestra, 1987-88 / Joep Straesser

Publisher: Amsterdam: Donemus, cop. 1988
Publisher's number: 03571
Genre: Orchestra
Subgenre: Orchestra
Scoring: 3333 4331 timp 2perc pf str
Remarks: In opdracht van het Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst. - Opgedragen aan David Porcelijn. - Tijdsduur: 26'-27'
Duration: 27'00"
Year of composition: 1988
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Poco adagio
Moderato-Allegro energico-Coda
Program note (English): "Tableaux vivants" is based on music from the tragi-comic "Singspiel Über Erich M" (1985-'86). This composition can be divided into two levels. One level deals with the life and death of the German-Jewish poet, writer and anarchist Erich Mühsam (1878-1934) and can be regarded as a cantata. The text consists of a Dutch text written by the composer and a number of German poems from the anthology 'Brennende Erde' by Mühsam. The cantata consists of Prologue, Entr'acte and Epilogue. The musical leading part is played by the choir with an important role for the narrator. The other level is a short opera in two acts based on a satire of Mühsam in which he criticize German bourgeoisie. The characters are: an aunt from whom a legacy is expected, her nephew who cannot wait to inherit, the aunt's lover and the narrator linking the two levels (cantata and opera). Mühsam's satiric plot was transformed into a libretto by Stanny Verster, the composer's wife. The whole piece has a strong
symphonic atmosphere mainly due to the use of a number of musical motives which are either connected with the characters figuring in the opera or with Mühsam's person (cantata), or which for sheer musical reasons roam about the composition. The symphonic character of the Singspiel made it possible to write a four-part composition just for orchestra.
Part one is based on the Prologue, the second part on the first act of the opera, the third mainly on the second part of the opera and the fourth on music from the Epilogue and all the music from the opera referring to the energetic nephew. The tempo indications of the parts are as follows: I Maestoso, II Allegro-largo-allegro, III Poco adagio, IV Moderato-allegro energico-coda. The musical basis of the composition is formed by the so-called "Mühsam-motif" consisting of a descending minor second plus augmented fourth, together forming a perfect fifth. The work opens with this motif, which is immediately succeeded by its ascending inversion. All other motives figuring in the piece are derived from this double motif. - JOEP STRAESSER

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