Composition Commission issued to Bernhard Lang – Der Reigen
Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele, Germany
In 2014 Bernhard Lang will be at the focus of the festival Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele. Supported by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation his composition “Der Reigen” (English title: Hands Around) – a music theater piece based on a work by Arthur Schnitzler – will open the festival. This is no lightweight comedy of seductions but more an intimate portrait of the capitalist circulation of goods within the medium of that most private realm of civil society: the sexual sphere. “Your best book, you dirty rat,” said Hugo von Hofmannsthal in praise of his colleague’s daring sequence of scenes. The ten dialogs in the work contained – also quite literally – ten acts of coitus suggested only by dashes. The play triggered probably the greatest theater scandal of the 20th century and led in 1921 to the infamous Reigen Trial. Disgusted by the pseudo-moralistic and bigoted attacks on his person Schnitzler ordered that the comedy not appear again on the stage until fifty years after his death. The Viennese dramatist guessed that the play “would be dug up after a few hundred years and would shed a strange light on part of our culture.” Neither the Austrian composer Bernhard Lang nor his librettist Michael Sturminger, nor indeed director and opera manager Georges Delnon, planned to wait that long: in April of this year Lang’s version of “Der Reigen” will be premiered by members of the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart and the SWR Big Band under the baton of Rolf Gupta at Rokokotheater Schwetzingen.
April 23–27, 2014
Rokokotheater Schwetzingen, Germany