A fable out of the spirit of the comic
Srnka’s “Jakub Flügelbunt” for Dresden
Music for children doesn’t have to be fussy or sentimental. In his piece Jakub Flügelbunt, which will be performed for the first time 15 december in Dresden Miroslav Srnka puts the emphasis on twists brevity and tempo. Even the orchestra gets involved in the events.
A quarrel in the bird family: The young Jakub wants to learn to fly. His father helps, but his mother is totally against it (“please – no – please – no – Very well then. – Under no circumstances!!! …”). When he sets off alone to fly in the wind against his parents’ wishes, he breaks his wing. Through the wise owl, Jakub learns that you can also achieve things with other strengths. He experiences the friendship and help of other animals, wins in a race and finally discovers that Magdalena, who sings so beautifully, also likes him ...
Jakub Flügelbunt ... und Magdalena Rotenband oder: Wie tief ein Vogel singen kann [[Jakub Flügelbunt ... and Magdalena Rotenband. Or: How low a bird can sing] is a fairy tale for three singers and orchestra, commissioned by the Semperoper Dresden. Miroslav Srnka has composed a piece which is both an entertaining story and a fable. The cast is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and has the potential for great tragedy, as found in the heroes of comics. Srnka, who also wrote the libretto , tells the tale, which contains some major psychoanalytical themes, without any sense of melodrama, with a concise, laconic language and an unsentimental style. The brevity and tempo of the tale are the key to understanding the story and its musical setting. The situations and figures – various musical characters such as the chattering squirrel, the ponderous hedgehog or the singing Magdalena – are conveyed through the speed: and finally the entire orchestra is drawn into the action. “Out of all those who are on the stage, a community develops. The orchestral musicians are firstly observers, then part of the story. It is important that many elements can be narrated in the music: the wind, the racing, the flight, the theme of singing. What interests children is energy, impulses. And so, I’ve chose a musical form which functions through its brevity, which is always eventful.” Srnka achieves this in effective scene changes through colours, instrumentation, cuts, and with three singers who change between various roles. The main character Jakub undergoes a special transformation. He is sung by a counter-tenor who has another voice by the end. From the small bird’s voice, a deep baritone develops ...
Jakub Flügelbunt … und Magdalena Rotenband oder: Wie tief ein Vogel singen kann for three singers and orchestra
First performance: 15.12.2011 Dresden (Semperoper), Staatskapelle Dresden, Conductor: Tomáš Hanus, stage design: Arne Walther
(further performances on 18, 22 and 26.12.2011)