Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann
Six monologues from Jedermann (medium voice and piano or orchestra)

Year of composition

1943-1944

Duration

17'

Scored for

for medium voice and piano (1943-1944)
Version for baritone or alto and orchestra: 2 3 2 2 - 2 2 3 0 - timp. - perc. - harp - piano - strings (1949)

Ist als zu End das Freudenmahl
Ach Gott, wie graust mir vor dem Tod
Ist als wenn eins gerufen hätt
So wollt ich ganz zernichtet sein
Ja! ich glaub: solches hat er vollbracht
O ewiger Gott! o göttliches Gesicht!

Publication information

Version with piano (UE12105); version with orchestra (UE12105)

Text(s)

Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929)

Commentary

SIX MONOLOGUES FROM EVERYMAN (1943-1944)

The Six Monologues from Everyman were composed in 1943 at the request of the baritone Max Christmann who wanted a cycle of songs for voice and piano. My plan was to follow this with an opera on the Everyman text which would include these monologues. For various reasons I gave up this idea but later, in 1949, I orchestrated the piano part of the cycle. Here in short are the subjects of the monologues; Everyman, the rich young man, in many respects avaricious, was met by Death at a banquet. All his relatives, friends and his mistress refused to accompany him on that great journey and they deserted him.

He is alone in a big, empty room and knows that he is condemned although the blood flowing in his veins is still warm. He orders the bells to ring the alarm and commands his servants to follow him carrying his large chest full of treasure.
He expresses his terror of death. But the realization that his wealth has always got him out of trouble reassures him. Then suddenly he remembers the vision of heaven’s messenger and throws himself onto his treasure beseeching it to accompany him to his new abode.
A faint voice calls him saying: his acts of charity have been too miserable to earn his salvation. Everyman believes it is his mother’s voice. He is filled with immense compassion and prays to Heaven that the old woman will be spared the knowledge of his fate.
He is filled with deep despair; but it is not just fear of death. He is seized by remorse; he wanted to start a new life, but it is too late. “You cannot live twice here.”
He affirms his faith: Christ died to redeem us. But his sins are so great that God cannot possibly give him grace.
The last monologue is a prayer. He has understood that his faith and repentance have earned him forgiveness and he gives himself up to divine grace.

These six monologues therefore represent a kind of short summary of the entire play, including the operatic aspect. Of course it misses all dramatic justification and logic of the psychological and spiritual evolution of Everyman’s spirit since death summoned him. All that remains are a few characteristics moments, some awareness that made me want to try to express this in my own way through the medium of music.

In: Record sleeve Jecklin-Disco 563

Premiere

World premiere version for baritone and piano: Gstaad, 5 August 1944. Max Christmann, baritone. Frank Martin, piano
World premiere version for baritone and orchestra: Venice, 9 September 1949. Elsa Cavelti, alto; Rafael Kubelík, conductor

Recordings (selective list)

  • Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Frank Martin, conductor
    DG 429 858-2 ℗ 1963 (FMS109)
    Brilliant Classics 9206 ℗ 1990 + © 2010 (FMS 208)

  • ‘Frank Martin interprète Frank Martin’
    Heinz Rehfuss, baritone
    Frank Martin, piano
    Jecklin-Disco JD 563-2 ℗ + © 1989 (FMS032)

  • José van Dam, bariton
    Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon
    Kent Nagano, conductor
    EMI 50999 2 64344 2 1 ℗ + © 2009
    (recorded 31.X-3.XI.1990, Auditorium Maurice Ravel, Lyon) (FMS011)

  • Thomas Oliemans, baritone
    Stavanger Symphony Orchestra
    Steven Sloane, conductor
    MDG 901 1614-6 ℗ + © 2010 (FMS046)

  • David Wilson-Johnson, baritone
    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Matthias Bamert, conductor
    CHANDOS CHAN 9411 ℗ + © 1995 (FMS117)

  • Theo Adam, baritone
    Dresdner Philharmonie
    Herbert Kegel, conductor
    Berlin Classics 0091682BC ℗ 1989 + © 1996 (FMS050)

  • ‘Mélodies du XXe siècle’
    Pierre-Yves Pruvot, baritone
    Charles Bouisset, piano
    Lien-Création / MAVEL . MAV98-CD03 ℗ 1998 (FMS087)

  • Martin Egel, baritone
    Münchner Bachsolisten
    Pierre-Dominique Ponnelle, conductor
    FSM FCD 97 213 EB ℗ 1986 + © 1991 (FMS095)

  • ‘The Age of Gold’
    Peter Pears, tenor
    Benjamin Britten, piano
    Live recording 09-01-1948 BBC
    Pavilion Records - Pearl GEM 0227 ℗ 2005 (FMS134)

  • Christian Gerhaher, baritone
    Gerold Huber, piano
    ARTE NOVA 74321 92771 2 © + ℗ 2002 (FMS153)

  • André Schuen, baritone
    Daniel Heide, piano
    Avi-Service for music, Cologne/Germany ℗ + © 2015

  • José van Dam, baritone
    Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon
    Kent Nagano, conductor
    Virgin Classics VC 07777 59236 2 9 ℗ + © 1992 (FMS207)

  • Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
    ORF-Symphonieorchester
    Hans Zender, conductor
    ORFEO C 336931 B ℗ + © 1993 (FMS163)

  • Gilles Cachemaille, baryton
    Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
    Armin Jordan, conductor
    ERATO 2292-45649-2 ℗ 1991 (FMS165)

  • Michel Brodard, baritone
    Stadtorchester Winterthur
    Konstantin Keiser, conductor
    SCWI ℗ 1997 (FMS172)

  • Volker Arendts, baritone
    Miroslav Kroupa, piano
    CANTATE C 58013 ℗ + © 2000 (FMS180)

  • Theo Adam, baritone
    Rudolf Dunckel, piano
    Ars Vivendi 2100115 ℗ 1989 (FMS193)

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