Berlin Counterpoint offers:


Have you heard of Till Eulenspiegel? He is rebellious fellow who pranked everyone, not differentiating between the rich and the poor or the smart and the dumb. Who doesn’t want to be like him, at least a little bit: to play a trick on someone you don’t like, make a silly face and run away quickly before getting caught? Or trump old-fashioned philosophers with clever questions and quick-witted comments while leaving them in chaos?

Till Eulenspiegel’s stories have offered material for countless plays, films, comics – and Richard Strauss has all this in his piece “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks.” In a flurry of fabulous virtuosity, he places Till in a marketplace smashing pots while the market women scream. Till also gives a terrifically confusing speech in front of the Faculty of Philosophy of Prague, causing the professors and the philistines to argue, allowing him to easily escape, untarnished.

Now we want to set Till Eulenspiegel to music ourselves. Chaos in the marketplace and confusion in the lecture hall, this can be done without Richard Strauss, right?

In a 60 minute concert-workshop, we’ll tell you why Richard Strauss loves Till Eulenspiegel so much. He is Till Eulenspiegel himself! And the Philistines? They are academics who do not want to let go of the old romantic school of Richard Wagner. Till Eulenspiegel was always smart. In the end it cost him his head, but he freed us from the stodgy academics and the metaphorical cage of romance music. Today we play music that is modern, free and wild, funny and weird, and this is all thanks to Richard Strauss’s foolhardy first outing with his friend Till Eulenspiegel.

Till is everywhere. He lives in me, in you, in everyone.


Richard Strauss, Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

Richard Wagner, Tristan and Isolde (Prelude)

examples from works by Ludwig Thuille, György Ligeti, and more

Duration: approximately 60 minutes