Beat Furrer: Narcissus

Beat Furrer Narcissus
Narcissus

Beat Furrer: Narcissus

Year of composition:
1992/1994
Composer:
Beat Furrer
Original language:
Latin
Translator:
Beat Furrer
Writer of pre-existing text:
Ovidius
Instrumentation details:
2·0·2·sax.·1 - 2·2·2·1 - perc.(3) - hp., pno. - str.: 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vc., 2 cb.
Duration:
80’
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Audiosamples

Narcissus
00:00

Work introduction

Narcissus is a full-scale opera – but with very few words. Beat Fuller chose a couple of lines from Ovid’s story in the Metamorphoses of Narcissus and Echo, organising them in six consecutive scenes into a tentative play on the question of “What is real?” – or better, “Who is who?” The prophecy of blind soothsayer Tiresias resounds like a tacit mantra: Narcissus will only be granted a long life if he remains a stranger to himself – and the story of his life has a cruel end.

Two groups of musicians are gathered in the orchestra pit: instrumentalists and a small vocal ensemble. The score calls for one female singer and two actors onstage, while audiotape feeds reflect, question and anticipate the live musical events.

Narcissus is also the result of a novel kind of cooperation. Furrer dispenses entirely with intimations and parameters for what occurs onstage. His score initiates or discloses dramatic situations without specifying how they are to resolve. Gerald Thomas wrote his piece to the finished, independent libretto – a promptbook with large and small, comical and tragical stories.

Thus can theatre be made, so to speak from back to front – beginning with an idea, an image of an appropriate form, a composer writes his music. The actual libretto came after the score, responding to its sounds. Like a scenario written in advance, the text serves as a basis for the promptbook, which then united onstage with the composer’s primal idea.

Holm Keller

Special prints

Narcissus

Beat Furrer: Narcissus

score
, 80’

World première

Location:
Graz
Date:
01.10.1994
Orchestra:
Klangforum Wien
Conductor:
Beat Furrer

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