Ernst Krenek: Die Nachtigall

  • for coloratura soprano and ensemble
  • Duration: 8’
  • Soloists:
    coloratura soprano
  • Instrumentation details:
    2 fl - str
  • Composer: Ernst Krenek
  • Text author: Karl Kraus

Work introduction

Karl Kraus turned to Aristophanes’ comedy The Birds for his play Wolkenkuckucksheim only a few years after Walter Braunfels had set the same Greek drama to music; the poem set to music in the aria Die Nachtigall originates in that work. Written while working on his twelve-tone opera Karl V, Die Nachtigall has Romantic touches, although it is atonal.

But Krenek also used tonal melodies (some of them approaching quotations) in fashioning a piece of virtuosic, technically extremely demanding music, which he presented to Lucy Siegrist, who commissioned it.

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