Jörg Herchet (*1943) abraum
Composition for the music theater 1995/96 duration: abendfüllend Text: Jörg Milbradt
solos: 13 soloists – 3Sp – fem ch – 188.8.131.52 – 184.108.40.206. – perc(7) – hp – pno.cel.acc – str / stage music: rec.guit
Duration: full evening
Text by Jörg Milbradt after subjects of Gerhart Hauptmann's "Und Pippa tanzt(And Pippa Dances)
Place and time: A village in the Lausitz, a fall evening 1987
World premiere: Leipzig, March 7, 1997
Characters: Stefan, a Stranger interested in art (baritone) - A Chilean (tenor) - Anna, his Daughter (soprano) - Dr. Reiniger, Personnel Officer (baritone) - Gustav Schwalm, Company Veteran (bass) - Innkeeper (alto) - The Old Man (tenor) - His 4 Daughters (2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, alto) - The Black Queen (alto) - 3 Workers (speaking parts) - The Portrait (womens chorus) - Ambulance Man, Casualty, Policemen, Workers (silent parts)
In a pub, the innkeeper is discussing the imminent clearing of the village with the workers, since the brown-coal mines are to be expanded. They are joined by a Chilean who arouses the workers anger because he has obtained a coveted housing allocation. The company veteran Gustav Schwalm also strolls in, along with Dr. Reiniger, who is on his way to Berlin. Finally, Stefan also joins the gathering on his search for the village churchs wooden statue of the Madonna. He begins to play a sorrowful melody on his flute, which attracts Anna - and they both fall in love. A fight ensues, but the old man helps Stefan and Anna escape. The second part begins with the clearing away following the fight. Stefan and Anna join in. Gustav cannot control his desire for Anna but is knocked down by the old man. Reiniger lurches onto the scene after being involved in a traffic accident. Having succumbed to the belief in progress, he orders the earth to be ripped up. Out of the earth emerge the old mans daughters dressed in Sorb costumes. From further below emerges the Black Queen and the wooden Madonna. Reiniger is swallowed up by the machines along with all the workers. Stefan, who has since forgotten Anna, loses his eyesight upon gazing at the statue, and the old man then becomes his guide.
In "ABRAUM", Herchet sets out to discover a new domain of musical theater. Its point of departure is pure stage setting out of which develops spoken theater, melodrama, operatic elements and oratorical images. Ultimately the action on stage freezes and turns to pure orchestral music. There is also a separate concert version of the closing section.
After the success of the stage premiere of Herchets Nachtwache in 1993, the Leipzig Opera presented in 1997 the result of its second project with the composer: an unusual piece which departs from pure scenery and develops to the point of scenic paralysis through the means of the stage play and melodrama, and the use of operatic elements and oratorical images. The final result: pure orchestral music.
Herchet, Jörg: zur arbeit an der musiktheaterkomposition ABRAUM, in: Jahrbuch der Hochschule für Musik Dresden, 1997
Sramek, Christoph: Eine eigene Welt. Gespräch mit Jörg Herchet über sein Werk "Abraum", in: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 1/1997, S. 48-50
Herchet, Jörg: zur arbeit an „ABRAUM. komposition für das musiktheater“, in: „im lichtstrom versunken nun sonnenhaft“. Dokumente zum Schaffen des Dresdner Komponisten Jörg Herchet, hrsg. von Christoph Sramek, Altenburg: Kamprad 2013, S. 56–61