Till thou comest there: Leading Thoughts and Music for the Shepherds’ Play from Oberufer
Oberufer is a small district of what is now the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava. Like the cycles of English Mystery Plays from York, Coventry, Wakefield and Chester, Oberufer has given its name to a similar genre. But with a difference: the Oberufer plays originate in the folk and not, as do the great medieval pageants, at the church altar.
With a fine feeling for language and literature, it was Karl Julius Schröer who recognised the exceptional value of the plays. As a student at the Vienna Polytechnic where Schröer lectured on German literature, Rudolf Steiner’s attention was drawn to this unique folk heritage and to the deep significance of the contents of the plays. Through him they found their way into the Waldorf movement, where they have become a vibrant tradition in the celebration of the Christmas festival.
Apart from the original chant-like music sung over the centuries by the locals in Oberufer, the twentieth century saw several settings of the songs, for voice and piano accompaniment, which form an integral part of the plays. The setting presented here was composed specifically for the acclaimed English translation from the German dialect text by A.C. Harwood.
In this volume, Brien Masters combines his disciplines of education and music. His leading thoughts, which relate to each song, reveal facets of the ‘mystery’ in the dramas, which are reflected in the composition. The songs, written forty years ago, have stood the test of time, being performed regularly at Michael Hall Rudolf Steiner School in Sussex, England, as well as finding their way into places as diverse as Lincoln Cathedral and the suburbs of Johannesburg.
About the Author
Brien Masters, Ph.D., was qualified as both a state and a Waldorf teacher and taught everything from music to math to map reading. He taught around the world and acted as a consultant to government ministries. He wrote numerous articles and several publications for use in schools. His doctoral thesis is a critical appraisal of Waldorf praxis in the light of Rudolf Steiner’s original educational ideas. Brien Masters was director of the London Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar, as well as a seminar in Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands. He died in October 2013.
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