Universal Edition - Alexander Zemlinsky – Der Zwerg

Alexander Zemlinsky


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Alexander Zemlinsky
Der Zwerg

Work Details

Opus: op. 17
Year of composition: 1920-1921
Subtitle: Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in 1 Akt, Text von Georg C. Klaren, frei nach Oscar Wildes "Geburtstag der Infantin"
Composer: Alexander Zemlinsky
Edited by: Antony Beaumont
Text Source: "Geburtstag der Infantin" von Oscar Wilde
Librettist: Georg Klaren
Original Language: Deutsch
Parts: Donna Clara, soprano
Ghita, soprano
Don Estoban, high bass
Der Zwerg, tenor
3 Zofen, 2 sopranos and 1 alto
Die Gespielinnen der Infantin, sopranos and altos
Kammerleute und Diener (stumme Rollen)
Choir: SA
Instrumentation: 3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(4), hp, cel, mand, guit, str; stage music: 2 cl(C), bsn, 2 hn(F), 3 tpt(C), tamb, mand, vln.I(4), vln.II(3), vla(2), vc(2), cb(1)
Instrumentation details: 1st flute; 2nd flute (+picc); 3rd flute (+picc); 1st oboe; 2nd oboe; 3rd oboe (+c.a); 1st clarinet in A (+cl(Bb)); 2nd clarinet in A (+cl(Bb); cl(Eb)); 3rd clarinet in A (+cl(Bb); bass cl(Bb)); 1st bassoon; 2nd bassoon; 3rd bassoon (+cbsn); 1st horn in F; 2nd horn in F; 3rd horn in F; 4th horn in F; 1st trumpet in C; 2nd trumpet in C; 3rd trumpet in C; 1st trombone; 2nd trombone; 3rd trombone; bass tuba; timpani; percussion(4); harp; celesta; mandolin; guitar; violin I; violin II; viola; violoncello; contrabass; stage music: clarinet in C(2); bassoon; 1st horn in F; 2nd horn in F; 1st trumpet in C; 2nd trumpet in C; 3rd trumpet in C; tambourine; mandolin; violin I(4); violin II(3); viola(2); violoncello(2); contrabass(1)
Scenery: 1
Duration: 90′
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Audio Excerpt

Der Zwerg, op. 17

World Première

Location: Stadttheater Köln / Germany
Date: 28.05.1922

Work Introduction

On 3 May 1921, Alexander Zemlinsky received the following telegram: “have read your opera the dwarf with great enjoyment cologne is prepared to accept sole rights for world premiere would you be prepared to entrust your work to us Klemperer.” Der Zwerg received its world première one year later, on 28 May 1922 in Cologne under Otto Klemperer. During this era of change, audiences displayed a growing enthusiasm for ‘Zeitoper’ (opera of the times), neoclassicism and New Objectivity. Apparently exaggerated, late-romantic music like Der Zwerg began to lose popularity. Following a series of performances, the work vanished from the stage for half a century and only made a triumphant return to concert programmes in 1981, along with A Florentine Tragedy. Friends and acquaintances did not necessarily share Zemlinsky’s enthusiasm for this “drama of the ugly man”, primarily because Georg C. Klaren, the librettist, had depicted the title role – if perhaps inadvertently – as the composer’s Doppelgänger. By identifying himself with a figure so closely modelled on his own physical traits, it was feared that Zemlinsky would expose himself to public ridicule.

5 Ensembles that have played this work: