Walter Braunfels: The Birds

Walter Braunfels The Birds
The Birds

Walter Braunfels: The Birds

Opus:
op. 30
Year of composition:
1913-1919
Subtitle:
Ein lyrisch-phantastisches Spiel in 2 Aufzügen
Composer:
Walter Braunfels
Text source:
after Aristophanes
Text adapter:
Walter Braunfels
Writer of pre-existing text:
Aristophanes
Roles:
Hoffegut und Ratefreund, Bürger einer großen Stadt, tenor and high bass Stimme des Zeus, baritone Prometheus, baritone Wiedhopf, einstens ein Mensch, nun König der Vögel, baritone Nachtigall, high soprano Zaunschlüpfer, soprano Adler, bass Rabe, bass Flam
Choir:
SATB
Instrumentation:
3 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 1 - timp, perc(2), hp(2), cel, str; flute behind the scene
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
3rd flute
oboe
cor anglais
1st clarinet in A
2nd clarinet in A
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
1st horn in E
2nd horn in E
3rd horn in E
4th horn in E
1st trumpet in Bb
2nd trumpet in Bb
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
tuba
timpani
percussion(2)
celesta
1st harp
2nd harp
violin I
violin II
viola
violoncello
contrabass
flute cont.aind the scene
Scenery:
2
Duration:
120’
More Less

Audiosamples

The Birds
00:00
The Birds
00:00

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

Premiered by Bruno Walter in 1920 (the year when the Phantastische Erscheinungen also received its first performance), The Birds may well be the composer’s chef-d’oeuvre; it is certainly the work that has had more performances than any other of his compositions after World War II, with productions fairly regularly since its first post-war performance in Berlin in 1994. Klaus Geitel described the experience in Die Welt: “Saturated with a closely-woven richness of inspiration … a magnificent piece of music”. Seventy years previously, Alfred Einstein enthused after the premiere: “I do not believe such a complete work of art has ever before been performed on the German operatic stage. There is an imperative at work here which calls for comparison with the Mastersingers and Pfitzner’s Palestrina.”

“The key to Braunfels’ treatment of the subject lies in the depiction of three levels of reality: the world of men, the world of the birds (or that of the imagination) and the world of the gods. Whereas in Aristophanes the men succeed in their rebellion against their gods, Braunfels here lends a more ‘Christian’ character to Zeus, father of the gods and has him punish man for his arrogance. After the city of the birds has been destroyed by the forces of heaven, the birds pay homage in a pious hymn to the power and greatness of the gods. The humans have to return home in humiliation.” (Frithjof Haas)

From our online shop

Special prints

The Birds

Walter Braunfels: The Birds

full score
, 120’
Instr.: 3 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 1 - timp, perc(2), hp(2), cel, str; flute behind the scene

World première

Location:
München
Date:
30.11.1920
Conductor:
Bruno Walter

Other works

Sign up for our newsletter!

You will regularly receive information about new scores with free downloads, current prize games and news about our composers.