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Photo: Ute Schendel
Basel 2008 (FP), Marcus Bothe, dir.

Oehring, Helmut

Gunten (2008)

Duration: 70 minutes
Instrumental DiaryTheatre based on Robert Walser's novel 'Jakob von Gunten', for octet, live electronics and three actors

Conception & text adaptation: Stefanie Wördemann (G)

Scoring
3actors; bfl.bcl(=dbcl)-tpt(=Flugel hn)-perc(1):marimba/vib/glass harp/rattle/rainmaker/BD/SD/3cym/clash.cym/Chin.cym/ant.cym/gong/Chin.opera gong/Jap.howl gong/cowbell/tam-t/anvil/2tom-t/4bongos/steel bl/metal plate/paper bag/friction dr-prep pft(=sampler)-vla(=vln).vlc.db; live electronics.
Abbreviations (PDF).


Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.



World Premiere
10/16/2008
GARE DU NORD Bahnhof für Neue Musik, Basel
Marcus Bothe, director
Conductor: Jürg Henneberger
Company: Silvester von Hösslin / ChrisTine Urspruch / Georg Martin Bode / Ensemble Phoenix

Roles

JAKOB VON GUNTENactor / speaker with yodelling talent
Miss LISAactress / speaker with dance talent
Mr. BENJAMENTAactor / speaker
Jakob's brother JOHANNpiano (also sampler keyboard) / speaker
Jakob's college brothers:
KRAUSdouble bass / speaker
HEINRICHbass flute / speaker
SCHACHTviola/violin / speaker
SCHILINSKItrumpet (also Flugel horn) / speaker
HANSpercussion / speaker
PETERbass clarinet (also double bass clarinet) / speaker (female)
FUCHScello / speaker


Synopsis
The work is exclusively based on text excerpts from the novel. The eleven short scenes, interrupted by three ‘Dream Audio Plays’, follow this basic framework: Jakob von Gunten, the son of ‘good family’, is admitted to the Benjamenta Institute, an educational home for servants where the pupils learn ‘little, but thoroughly’. Jakob describes his comrades, their views and plans for the future. Within the strange atmosphere of the house, murky and barely articulated desires and moods unfold. While Jakob is drawn towards his fellow pupil, Kraus, he dreams of Miss Lisa, the director’s sister, with whom he has secret conversations. Benjamenta himself is impressed with Jakob. Finally, things take a turn for the worse in the home: Lisa dies and Benjamenta dismisses all of the pupils except for Jakob, who he asks to join him on his journey into the world. After pondering the idea for a while, he agrees.


Moods
Poetic


Subjects
Literary





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