Liederspiel (Ger.: ‘song-play’)
- Peter Branscombe
A kind of dramatic entertainment developed in Germany in the early 19th century in which songs are introduced into a play. It differs from the older Singspiel principally in its inclusion of songs that as lyric poems already enjoyed some currency; the melodies (normally with simple instrumentation) were new, though some of the songs from such works later came to be regarded as folksongs. Ensembles and choruses were not at first admitted, and the music had an almost entirely lyrical rather than a dramatic character. Despite statements to the contrary, the Liederspiel differs generically from the French vaudeville and the British ballad opera, in both of which the melodies were normally familiar airs specially provided with new words, whereas normally in the Liederspiel the words were pre-existing and the melodies new.
The first Liederspiel was Lieb' und Treue, by J.F. Reichardt, staged at the Berlin Royal Opera House on 31 March 1800...