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Music
Musical adaptions (chronological)
Naturally enough, the question whether Wölfli´s music can be played is asked again and again. The answer is yes, with some difficulty.


Parts of the musical manuscripts of 1913 were analyzed in 1976 by Kjell Keller and Peter Streif and were performed. These are dances - as Wölfli indicates - waltzes, mazurkas, and polkas similar in their melody to folk music. How Wölfli acquired his knowledge of music and its signs and terms is not clear. He heard singing in the village church. Perhaps he himself sang along. There he could see song books from the eighteenth century with six-line staffs (explaining, perhaps, his continuous use of six lines in his musical notations). At festivities he heard dance music, and on military occasions he heard the marches he loved so well. More important than the concrete evaluation of his music notations is Wölfli´s concept of viewing and designing his whole oeuvre as a big musical composition. The basic element underlying his compositions and his whole oeuvre is rhythm. Rhythm pervades not only his music but his poems and prose, and there is also a distinctive rhythmic flow in his handwriting.


Musical Adaptations

Adolf Wölfli. Gelesen und vertont [Adolf Wölfli: Recited and set to music). Sound recording. Selection and adaption of the texts by Jürgen Glaesemer and Elka Spoerri, ed. Bernische Kunstgesellschaft and Adolf Wölfli Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Bern, 1978.

Norgard, Per. Wie ein Kind [Like a Child]. Choral Work. Wilhelm Hansen edition, no. 4363. Copenhagen, 1980.

Wölfli Szenen [Wölfli Scenes]). Works by Georg Haas, Gösta Neuwirth, Anton Prestele and Wolfgang Rihm. Performed at the "steirischer herbst ´81," Graz, Austria, 1 November 1981.

Neuwirth, Gösta. Eine wahre Geschichte. Tragifarce in drei Bildern mit einem Prolog. Composition. 1981

Rihm, Wolfgang. Wölfli-Liederbuch [Wölfli Songbook]. Composition for voice based on texts by Adolf Wölfli, for baritone, piano, and drums. Universal Edition (no.17435). Vienna, 1981. Recorded by Richard Salter, Bernhard Wambach, Franz Lang, and Martin Rosenthal (Schuber emp 82001/4); version for baritone and orchestra in "Zeitgenössische Musik in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" (10:1970-1980; Harmonia Mundi DMR 1028-30); on CD: Wolfgang Rihm, "Lieder," Ensemble 13, Richard Salter, Bernhard Wampach, cpo (classic production osnabrück 999 049-2) 1992.

Norgard, Per. Det guddommelige Tivoli [The divine fair]). Opera for six singers, six dancers, and eight muscicians (cello, synthesizer and percussion), commissioned by Jllands Operagesellschaft, Arhus, Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Copenhagen, 1982, premier 5 January 1983; performed at the Stadttheater St. Gall, Switzerland, October 1995, and at the Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, March 1996.

Grünauer, Ingomar. Die Schöpfungsgeschichte des Adolf Wölfli [The creation story of Adolf Wölfli]. Chamber opera, libretto based on texts by Adolf Wölfli, directed by Erich Holliger, Theaterwerkstatt Kleine Bühne, Basel, 20 March 1982; Theater Dortmund, directed by Sabine Schweitzer, spring 1992.

Lachartre, Nicole. Un dragon tombé de cheval [A dragon thrown from a horse]. Composition for piano and voice, based on texts by Adolf Wölfli; piano and recitation by Jean Pierre Dupuy, Centro para la difusion de la musica contemporanea, Escuela Superior de Canto, Madrid, 2 December 1985.
Parts of the musical manuscripts of 1913 were analyzed in 1976 by Kjell Keller and Peter Streif and were performed. These are dances - as Wölfli indicates - waltzes, mazurkas, and polkas similar in their melody to folk music. How Wölfli acquired his knowledge of music and its signs and terms is not clear. He heard singing in the village church. Perhaps he himself sang along. There he could see song books from the eighteenth century with six-line staffs (explaining, perhaps, his continuous use of six lines in his musical notations). At festivities he heard dance music, and on military occasions he heard the marches he loved so well. More important than the concrete evaluation of his music notations is Wölfli´s concept of viewing and designing his whole oeuvre as a big musical composition. The basic element underlying his compositions and his whole oeuvre is rhythm. Rhythm pervades not only his music but his poems and prose, and there is also a distinctive rhythmic flow in his handwriting.


Musical Adaptations

Adolf Wölfli. Gelesen und vertont [Adolf Wölfli: Recited and set to music). Sound recording. Selection and adaption of the texts by Jürgen Glaesemer and Elka Spoerri, ed. Bernische Kunstgesellschaft and Adolf Wölfli Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Bern, 1978.

Norgard, Per. Wie ein Kind [Like a Child]. Choral Work. Wilhelm Hansen edition, no. 4363. Copenhagen, 1980.

Wölfli Szenen [Wölfli Scenes]). Works by Georg Haas, Gösta Neuwirth, Anton Prestele and Wolfgang Rihm. Performed at the "steirischer herbst ´81," Graz, Austria, 1 November 1981.

Neuwirth, Gösta. Eine wahre Geschichte. Tragifarce in drei Bildern mit einem Prolog. Composition. 1981

Rihm, Wolfgang. Wölfli-Liederbuch [Wölfli Songbook]. Composition for voice based on texts by Adolf Wölfli, for baritone, piano, and drums. Universal Edition (no.17435). Vienna, 1981. Recorded by Richard Salter, Bernhard Wambach, Franz Lang, and Martin Rosenthal (Schuber emp 82001/4); version for baritone and orchestra in "Zeitgenössische Musik in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" (10:1970-1980; Harmonia Mundi DMR 1028-30); on CD: Wolfgang Rihm, "Lieder," Ensemble 13, Richard Salter, Bernhard Wampach, cpo (classic production osnabrück 999 049-2) 1992.

Norgard, Per. Det guddommelige Tivoli [The divine fair]). Opera for six singers, six dancers, and eight muscicians (cello, synthesizer and percussion), commissioned by Jllands Operagesellschaft, Arhus, Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Copenhagen, 1982, premier 5 January 1983; performed at the Stadttheater St. Gall, Switzerland, October 1995, and at the Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, March 1996.

Grünauer, Ingomar. Die Schöpfungsgeschichte des Adolf Wölfli [The creation story of Adolf Wölfli]. Chamber opera, libretto based on texts by Adolf Wölfli, directed by Erich Holliger, Theaterwerkstatt Kleine Bühne, Basel, 20 March 1982; Theater Dortmund, directed by Sabine Schweitzer, spring 1992.

Lachartre, Nicole. Un dragon tombé de cheval [A dragon thrown from a horse]. Composition for piano and voice, based on texts by Adolf Wölfli; piano and recitation by Jean Pierre Dupuy, Centro para la difusion de la musica contemporanea, Escuela Superior de Canto, Madrid, 2 December 1985.

Irman, Regina. Ein vatter=ländischer Lieder-Bogen [A fatherland songbook). Composition for mezzo-soprano and piano, based on texts by Adolf Wölfli, commissioned by the Städtische Musikpodium Zurich, Edition mirko/Martin Wehrli, 1985-1986. Recorded by Verena Barbara Gohl and Corina Gieré on "Zürcher Liederbuch 1986," CD Jecklin JS 270/1-2 (1989).

Irman, Regina. Ein Trauermarsch [A funeral march]. Composition for three percussions and voice, Edition mirko/Martin Wehrli, Zurich, 1987.

Riley, Terry. Music for the Great-Travelling-Avantt-Gaarde. Performed by Terry Riley and George Brooks, Goldie Paley Gallery, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, 21 October 1988.

Reffert, Hans, „Total Normal - Musik für Adolf Wölfli“, Buch und Musik von Hans Reffert, Mannheim 1988. Published as LP (LC 8852) and book (ISBN 3-926857-00-5) (Bauchladen-Verlag Mannheim; Face-Music Neulussheim)

Bernd P. Köhler und Hans Reffert, "AdolfWölfliProjekt2 – Staubdämonen und Sonnenkinder," Heidelberg, 19.09.2001

Irman, Regina. Tabellen [Registers]. Composition for three voices and three percussions, Edition mirko/Martin Wehrli, Zurich, 1991.

Johansson, Mats, Isildurs Bane: The Voyage--A Trip to Elsewhere. Performed by the Zorn Trio, Harplinge, Sweden, 1992. Recorded by Frederik Emilson, Mats Johansson, Bo N Roth, Kjell Severinsson, the Zorn Trio (Joachim Gustavsson, Lars Hägglund, Peter Schönig), the Halmstad Ensemble, and others, on Svenska Unikum/Isildur Records HB SUCD00192 (Double CD).

Riley, Terry. The Saint Adolf Ring. Opera. Libretto based on texts by Adolf Wölfli; stage design and costumes by Sally Davis, Karen Ezekiel, John Deaderick; videofilm and slide show by Frank Ragsdale; performed by Terry Riley, Sally Davis, John Deaderick, and Christoph Gaugler, Theatersaal des Freien Gymnasiums, Bern, 9-10 April 1994.

Ronchetti, Lucia. Musikfässli [Small music barrel]. Composition for voice, flute, percussion, piano, tape, and live electronics, performed at the Aquario Romano, Rome, 14 November 1994.

Ronchetti, Lucia. Zohrn [Rage]. Commissioned by Radio France, series Présence, Festival de création musicale, performed at Maison de Radio France, Paris, 11 February 1995.

Rafael, Reina. Von der Wiege bis zum Graab [From the cradle to the grave]. Opera. Libretto by Marcos Cogan, directed by Petra Weimer, performed on the occasion of the exhibition Adolf Wölfli, 1864-1930 in Zwolle, Netherlands, 17 February 1995.

Adolf Wölfli--"Allgebrah--Du bist Musik" [Algebra--you are music]. Composition performed by Hans Burgener, Margrit Rieben, Ursula Hoffmann, Coco Jucker, Daniel Ludwig, Altes Schlachthaus, Bern, 17-19 August 1995; Museum of Fine Arts, Bern, 15-16 March 1997.

Le dernier continent. Composition by Kjell Keller, based on music and texts by Adolf Wölfli, performed on the occasion of the exhibition Le dernier continent in the Schweizerische Landesbibliothek, Bern, 27 February 1997.

Aperghis, Georges, „Petrrohl für Vokalsolistenensemble”, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Wiener Konzerthaus, November 20, 2001 (in collaboration with Wien Modern and «Kopfwelten.ADOLF WÖLFLI»)

Berger, Wolfram und Jon Sass, “«0 Grad 0/000: Entbrantt von Liebes, =Flammen»”, Kasino am Schwarzenbergplatz, Wien, 18./22.11.2001 (in collaboration with Wien Modern and «Kopfwelten.ADOLF WÖLFLI»)

Essl, Karlheinz, “ALLgebrah, Narrenturm (Altes Allgemeines Krankenhaus Wien), 29. / 30.10. 2001, Michaela Grill (visuals) (in collaboration with Wien Modern and «Kopfwelten.ADOLF WÖLFLI»)

Gál, Bernhard, «Hinaus:: In den, Wald.» Klanginstallation, Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg/Wien, 25. 10. – 9. 12. 2001 (in collaboration with Wien Modern and «Kopfwelten.ADOLF WÖLFLI») CD availible on www.klanggalerie.com / www.bernhardgal.com

LUX*FLUX (Jack Hauser, David Ender, Inge Kaindlstorfer, Annette Pfefferkorn), “«vögelifrei». Eine Wölfli-Performance”, Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg/Wien, Oktober 31, 2001 (in collaboration with Wien Modern and «Kopfwelten.ADOLF WÖLFLI»)

Winkler, Gerhard E., “Excursion (Wölfli-Voyages)” für Schlagzeug solo und interaktives Environment (2001), Gerhard E. Winkler, Computer; Lukas Schiske, Schlagzeug, Wiener Konzerthaus, November 2, 2001 (in collaboration with Wien Modern and «Kopfwelten.ADOLF WÖLFLI»)

Haas, Georg Friedrich: “Adolf Wölfli. Kurzoper für Bariton und Ensemble” (1981), repeated at Wien Modern, wölfli.trabanntt, Wiener Konzerthaus, November 3, 2001 (Ensemble On Line Vienna; Georg Nigl; Pure, Computer; Simeon Pironkoff jun., Dirigent)

Neuwirth, Gösta, “Eine wahre Geschichte. Tragifarce in drei Bildern mit einem Prolog”, für Bariton, Sänger, Computer und Ensemble (1981) UA der Neufassung, aufgeführt im Rahmen von Wien Modern, wölfli.trabanntt, Wiener Konzerthaus, 3. November 2001 (Ensemble On Line Vienna; Georg Nigl; Pure, Computer; Simeon Pironkoff jun., Dirigent)

Ronchetti, Lucia, „Geographisches Heft“ (2001), Musikverein Wien, November 19, 2001 (in collaboration with Wien Modern and «Kopfwelten.ADOLF WÖLFLI»)

Ostrowski, Matthew, Stephie Büttrich, Chris Nelson, Benton-C Bainbridge, “999 x (1095)”, a Video-Performance at Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg/Wien, November 21, 2001 (in collaboration with Wien Modern and «Kopfwelten.ADOLF WÖLFLI»)

Dölf Steinmann, "Trauermarsch und Himmelsleiter". Ein Projekt über Adolf Wölfli für Musiker und Schauspieler, 19./20./22. Mai 2005, Theater La Fourmi, Luzern.

Aperghis, Georges, „Wölfli-Kantata“, 2005, pour six voix solistes et choeur mixte, sur des textes d´Adolf Wölfli. 22 Juli 2006, Festival Eclats, Stuttgart / 22 Sept. 2006, Palais des Fêtes, Strasbourg

de Jaer, Baudouin, "7 sonates Wölfli", compositions pour violon seul, 2010.
Création 2 avril 2010, Recyclart, Bruxelles lors d'une soirée Wölfli. Oeuvres partiellement présentes sur le CD Musik Oblik, 2010, Sub Rosa, coproduction par le art & marges musée, Bruxelles à l'occasion de l'exposition Musik Oblik 12/3 - 27/6/2010. "La clé Wölfli", la présence de Marches cachées dans les mélodies de la musique d'Adolf Wölfli. Conférence le 28 mai 2010 au art & marges musée.