Schering Stiftung

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Compositions on Goethe’s Faust

Première from the Archive of the Sing-Akademie

Compositions on Goethe’s Faust

Première from the Archive of the Sing-Akademie

Inspired by the then director of the Berlin Sing-Akademie, Carl Friedrich Zelter, Anton Heinrich von Radziwill’s work is the first setting of music to Goethe’s Faust, created in close communication with Goethe himself. The masterpiece is one of the most frequently performed Faust pieces of the 19th century. Goethe himself called the evening-length oratorio, whose protagonists not only sing, but also speak and act, a “brilliant composition, which happily sweeps us along.”

Last season, the Schering Stiftung supported the production of Faust at the Deutsche Theater under the direction of Michael Thalheimer. Therefore, we are glad that the work of Radziwill makes possible an examination of the Faust epic on a different, musical, level, while making accessible to the public another work from the archive of the Sing-Akademie.

The Berlin Sing-Akademie, founded by Carl Christian Friedrich Fasch in 1791, was not only an outstanding institution of choral music until the early 20th century, but also an important intellectual and cultural center in Berlin, whose influence radiated throughout Germany. Its members included Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Meyerbeer and many other composers. Goethe, Schadow, Hegel, Wilhelm von Humboldt and other prominent figures were closely associated with the Sing-Akademie. The archive of the Berlin Sing-Akademie—taken to Kiev after the Second World War—was returned to Berlin in 1999.

Performing artists:

Zelter Ensemble of the Berlin Sing-Akademie
Faust: Thomas Dewals—Tenor
Mephisto: Thomas Mohr—Baritone
Gretchen: Fionnuala McCarthy—Soprano
Marte: Annette Kuhn—Alto
Braunschweig State Orchestra

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