Publication details

Reflections of the Contemporary Schizophrenia in Josef Berg’s Two Versions of Johanes doktor Faust

Authors

FLAŠAR Martin

Year of publication 2019
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description Czech music has a lengthy tradition of the Faustian theme settings extending back to the 19th century. Two important attempts to handle this topic were made by the composer, writer and poet Josef Berg (1927-1971). Berg’s position in the post-war music resembled in many ways the story of Doctor Faustus. It was marked by a necessity of choice between official existence provided by Czechoslovak Composers Union (as an extension of communist regime) and the life in isolated opposition. After starting his career as an optimistic supporter of communist ideas, he shifted to a critical mode supported by irony, imitation, deformation and parody. At the turn of the 1960s Berg worked on two different versions of the Faustus theme. The first one was conceived as a grand opera inspired by the poetics of folk puppet-theatre, the second one was created as a chamber opera for three persons and a small ensemble.