Petr Eben's organ cycle faust (1979/80)
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Summary Petr Eben’s large-scale cycle for solo organ Faust (1979/80) is the topic of this article. Faust is a programmatic work that is based on incidental music the composer wrote for a stage production of Goethe’s famous play of the same title in 1976. The discussion shows that Eben’s Faust is not simply a suite or medley drawn from the incidental music, but a work in its own right. Accordingly, it does not follow Goethe’s play in all respects; indeed, it presents an interpretation of the subject matter that goes beyond or even deviates from Goethe’s play. For his work Eben employs the possibilities of the sound Mario Nell is a Senior Lecturer at the Music Department of the Stellenbosch University and Head of Organ Studies and Church Music. He studied at the Universities of Port Elizabeth, Stellenbosch and Cape Town before he continued his studies at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany, and the University of Zürich, Switzerland. In 2015 he completed an integrated PhD (Music) at the University of Stellenbosch with a dissertaion “The Organ Works of Petr Eben (1929-2007): A Hermeneutical Approach”. Winfried Lüdemann is an Emeritus Professor of Musicology at Stellenbosch University and former Chair of the Department of Music. He has published widely on a diverse range of topics, including South African music and a biography of the German composer Hugo Distler (Augsburg, 2002). He has a keen interest in the organ and contemporary organ music, both as scholar and composer. PETR EBEN’S ORGAN CYCLE FAUST (1979/80)1 1 This article is based on a doctoral research project on the organ works of Petr Eben (Nell, 2015). A performance of the organ cycle Faust formed part of the research project, a live recording which can be heard at http://scholar.sun.ac.za/handle/10019.1/98004. 101 world of the organ to the full, even to the extent of incorporating the sound of the barrel organ into several of the movements. This is done in order to expand the expressive means of the music. The incorporation of Gregorian or chorale hymns into several of the movements is another characteristic of the work, adding a special layer of meaning to the music. Of course, the various movements also contain thematic material from the original incidental music. All this thematic material is identified and analysed in the article and possible interpretations are offered. The conclusion is reached that Petr Eben’s Faust represents a significant contribution to the long list of compositions on the Faust subject matter and that it is, at the same time, a unique and singular contribution to the repertoire for organ.