Enoch Arden - Monodrama

Alfred Tennyson - Richard Strauss - Alfred Hitchcock

The monodrama to me is the last piece in a long history of oral poetry and storytelling, that was still very much alive in the early 20th century. Great actors did it and it found it's way onto the concert stage with composers like Schubert, Loewe, Schumann, Liszt and Richard Strauss. Eventually this art form was replaced by the new medium of film.

Enoch Arden is a long narrative by Alfred Tennyson, set in a little village on the Cornish Coast, describing the relationship of three children growing up together and running into trouble in adult life. Richard Strauss composed music that sometimes is more an entr'acte, sometimes it's with rythmically precise narration. Unfortunately he composed music just for about a fifth of the whole piece. Alfred Hitchcock made "The Manxman", his last silent movie on the same subject, in 1929.

I've had some runs of this progam over the years with different pianists. For the German version I did a new translation, because I thought the 19th century one was totally inadequate to show off the freshness and beauty of Tennyson's language. Now I'm working on a new format to incorporate the Hitchcock movie. With Arik Strauss I have a wonderful pianist who is able to improvise and fill all the spots that Richard Strauss has left out.