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nach Fragmenten aus der "Niobe" des Aischylos
von Elisabet Woska und Wilfried Hiller
Edition: Performance material

Product Details


Wilfried Hiller had always been fascinated by the figure of the ancient earth mother Niobe whose children were killed by the scorching arrows of the sun god. It was Carl Orff who attracted his attention to an essay by Wolfgang Schadewaldt analysing a Niobe fragment discovered in Oxyrhynchos in Egypt in 1932.
Hiller placed this fragment at the centre of his Niobe. The work displays the anguish of Niobe at the graves of her fourteen children and her haughty insurgency to the god who has precipitated this misfortune. A further seven Niobe fragments provide the remainder of the text material. The fragmentation of the texts is borne out by the music. For example, fragmented letters are transformed into the lamentation of Niobe: snatches of words whose meaning could not be reconstructed have been transmuted into her stammering desperation and individual letters have been formed into unarticulated wails of lamentation during her transformation into stone. In places where the original text has survived, as in the eight verses of the Tantalos scene, the music is silent; at the culmination of the work when the texts become progressively fragmented however, the entire orchestra enters.
To underpin the universal theme of this story, Hiller incorporated elements of Tibetan and Egyptian lamentations, fragments from the Gregorian requiem and modes which are believed to have been sung at the wedding of Niobe and Amphion. At the end of the work – which sounds like music from a different world – we hear a quotation from the final aria of ‘Niobe’ by Agostino Steffani which suddenly breaks off. Niobe has turned into stone.

Orchestral Cast

Picc. · Fl. · Altfl. - 3 Trp. in C - 3 P. S. (2 Beck. · Tamt. · 2 Schlagbretter · 6 Holzbl. · gr. Tr. · 4 Eingeborenentr. [Felltr.] · 3 Gongs · Ketten · Gralsgl. · Äolsharfe · Steinspiel) (5 Spieler) - 2 Klav. · Org. - Str. (2 Vl. · Va. · Vc., solistisch oder chorisch) -
Schlaginstrumente, die von den Sängern auf der Bühne gespielt werden: Sistrum · jav. Buckelgongs · Wasambarassel · chin. Rasseltr. (jeder Chorsänger sollte 2 Instrumente bedienen, d.h. mindestens 28 Rasseltrommeln verschiedener Tonhöhen)


I Fragment 1
II Fragment 2
III Fragment 3
IV Klagegesang 1
V Fruchtbarkeitstanz
VI Fragment 4
VII Fragment 5
VIII Klagegesang 2
IX Fragment 6
X Epitaph


Niobe · Schauspielerin - Niobe · Tänzerin - Amphion · Tenor - Tantalos · Schauspieler - 1 Bariton - 3 Sprecher - Männerchor (mind. 14 Sänger) - ad lib.: Bewegungschor, Tanzgruppe -
Die Partien von Sprecher I, Sprecher III und Bariton können von einem guten Sänger-Schauspieler allein bewältigt werden. Die Partie von Sprecher II soll auf Band aufgenommen und über Lautsprecher eingespielt werden.

More Information

nach Fragmenten aus der "Niobe" des Aischylos
von Elisabet Woska und Wilfried Hiller
für Sänger, Schauspieler, Tänzer und Instrumentalisten
Ancient Greek
Performance material
Schott Music
Year of composition:
55 ′
World Premiere:
March 23, 1978 (D)
Bayerisches Fernsehen
Elisabet Woska, Niobe; Sigfrit Steiner, Tantalos; Wolfgang Layer, Amphion; Spyros Sakkas, Chorführer · Conductor: Jaroslav Opela · Münchener Rundfunkorchester · Männerchor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Original staging: Peter Windgassen · Costumes: Livia Piso · Set desing: Livia Piso (world première (TV))

April 1, 1979 · München (D)
Elisabeth Woska, Sprecherin · Conductor: Helmut Imig · Kammerorchester Helmut Imig

(concert) (concert performance [excerpts: Klagegesang, Monolog and Epitaph])

Technical Details

Product number:
LS 2213-01


Set Ascending Direction
  • Niobe
    Conductor: Helmut Imig
    Orchestra: Kammerorchester Helmut Imig
    April 1, 1979 | München (Germany) , Cuvilliés-Theater — World Premiere (konzertante Aufführung [Ausschnitte: Klagegesang, Monolog und Epitaph])
  • Niobe
    Conductor: Jaroslav Opela
    Orchestra: Münchener Rundfunkorchester
    March 23, 1978 | (Germany) , Bayerisches Fernsehen — World Premiere (Uraufführung (Fernsehen))
  • Set Ascending Direction


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