Der Turm zu Babel (1869)
Spiritual opera in one act
Libretto by Julius Rodenberg (G)
T,Bar,B, 4 children's voices; mixed chorus, children's chorus; 2.picc.2.2.2-18.104.22.168-timp.perc-harp-organ-strings.
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
|FOUR ANGELS||children's voices|
|Nimrod's retinue, People, Hosts of Angels, Spirits of Hell|
Time and Place
Babylon, in Biblical times
The overseer calls the people to work, so that the building of the grand tower can be completed the same day. Nimrod, the king, comes to inspect the site. When he declares his wish to become equal to Jehovah and to snatch all heavenly secrets by taking his seat on the tower, the young shepherd Abram emerges from his suite and calls the King a sinner. He is thrown into an oven, but steps out again without being harmed. Continuing to accuse Nimrod, Abram is condemned to be thrown from the tower, but suddenly the building collapses beneath thunder and lightning. The whole city is destroyed, and the people find that they are speaking in different tongues. Abram explains that God wants his people to disperse, and a rainbow appears to symbolise their enduring unity and their contract with Jehovah. Nimrod recognises his error, repents and praises God. Among the choirs of angels and men are mingled voices from hell, for Satan's power will last as long as human life.