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Work of the Week – Anno Schreier: Der Anfang

Do you wish for a new beginning next year? Then we have a piece for you that will make your new year’s resolution a success: Der Anfang by Anno Schreier. The 10-minute work for choir and orchestra will be premiered at Theater Aachen’s New Year’s Concert at the Eurogress on 1 January 2022 as a prologue to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The Aachen Opera Choir and the Aachen Symphonic Choir will sing alongside the Aachen Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christopher Ward.

+++ Unfortunately, the world premiere had to be postponed due to coronavirus. +++

Der Anfang by Anno Schreier – Beethoven’s “Star Chord” and Electronic Dance Music

The text Schreier uses is based on the Indian scriptural collection, Rigveda and was translated into German by Karl Friedrich Geldner. He found musical inspiration for the piece both in Beethoven and in the electronic dance music of the 1990s. Schreier explains this unusual combination by claiming that he likes to create connections between things that, at first glance, have nothing to do with each other. However, both the meditative electronic music by bands like “The Orb” or “Orbital” as well as the texts in Beethoven’s work and the Rigveda have a connection to astronomy.

[In the last movement of the 9th Symphony], Beethoven addresses … the question of whether there really is a Creator who dwells “above the stars”, culminating in an extremely bold “star chord”. For my piece, I chose a text from the ancient Indian collection Rigveda, which also deals with the question of the Creator. In contrast to Schiller’s almost demanding sentence “Above the stars he must dwell”, the Rigveda text concludes rather doubtfully with the assumption that the Creator (if he exists) may not even know exactly how the world came into being. Anno Schreier

Der Anfang was co-commissioned by the Theatre and Symphony Orchestra Aachen to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Aachen Symphony Choir. During the 2021/22 season, Schreier is a guest of the Symphony Orchestra Aachen as “Composer in Focus”. In addition to Der Anfang, his works On A Long Strand, Im Wettstreit, Dance Machine and Nils Holgerssons wunderbare Reise will also be performed. The New Year’s Concert will be repeated on 2 January.

We wish you a Happy New Year and a successful “new beginning” in 2022!



photo: NASA / Stefan Seip