Walter Braunfels: Prinzessin Brambilla

Walter Braunfels Prinzessin Brambilla
Prinzessin Brambilla

Walter Braunfels: Prinzessin Brambilla

Opus:
op. 12b
Year of composition:
1906-1908
Subtitle:
Fantasiestück in 1 Prolog und 5 Bildern
Version:
revised version 1929/1930
Composer:
Walter Braunfels
Librettist:
Walter Braunfels
Writer of pre-existing text:
E. T. A. Hoffmann
Roles:
Der Fürst Bastaniello di Pistoja, baritone Claudio (ein Schauspieler), tenor Giazinta (eine junge Näherin), soprano Barbara, alto Pantalone (in Diensten von Bastaniello), baritone Gascon (ein Edelmann), tenor Brutz und Buffel (Zechkumpanen Claudios), bass
Choir:
SATB
Instrumentation:
3 3 4 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(2), hp, cel, mand, guit, str - stage music: tpt, pno, glock(2), t-t
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
3rd flute (+picc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe
cor anglais
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in Bb
clarinet in D
bass clarinet in Bb
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
contrabassoon
1st horn in F in E, Es
2nd horn in F in E, Es
3rd horn in F in E, Es
4th horn in F in E, Es
1st trumpet in C
2nd trumpet in C
3rd trumpet in C
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
tuba
timpani
percussion(2)
harp
celesta
mandolin
guitar
violin I
violin II
viola
violoncello
contrabass
stage music: trumpet in C
piano
1st glockenspiel
2nd glockenspiel
tam-tam
Scenery:
5
Duration:
120’
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Prinzessin Brambilla
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Work introduction

Braunfels’ youthful opera, Prinzessin Brambilla, composed when he was in his mid-twenties (revised two decades later), is based on a novella by E. T. A. Hoffmann and is set by the composer in 18th century Rome during Carnival time. Basically it is a love story derived from the tradition of commedia dell’arte but complicated by the festivities with masks concealing identities. The noted musicologist Alfred Einstein described the work after attending a performance of the revised version as “a timeless, an untimely opera”.

Of his later 1931 version Walter Braunfels wrote: Here, for the first time, an attempt was made to escape the compelling power of Richard Wagner's overwhelming genius, via a grotesque thumbing of the nose at all that was tragic or pathetic. But the truly youthful thing about it was that I wasn't even really conscious of my internal resistance to Wagner, whom I loved with a passion - I thought I was offering just an occasional parody of Richard Strauss …. in one fell swoop, the pathetic scenes were decimated and replaced by short pieces necessary for the development, the orchestra was reduced to one fourth its size, and the score was completely re-written, although it did retain its original spirit. What remained were the over-confident and grotesque moments of the original work - but shortened, so that Princess Brambilla, in operatic form as well, had become what E.T.A. Hoffmann called his novella: a Capriccio.

World première

Location:
Stuttgart
Date:
25.03.1909
Conductor:
Max von Schillings

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