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(Ger.: ‘opera of the times’)

Term for a type of opera current in Germany especially during the 1920s and 30s, dealing with issues ‘of the times’, usually socio-political ones. It is applied to such works as Krenek’s Jonny spielt auf (first performed in 1927), which deals with the claims of pleasure-seeking as opposed to intellectual pursuits, Hindemith’s ...


(Ger.: ‘gypsy dance’)

A dance imitating ‘Gypsy’ [Roma-Sinti-Traveller] music. Several examples survive among colourful popular pieces by German composers, including Hans Neusidler’s ‘Der Zeuner tantz’ (Ein newes Lautenbüchlein, 1540) and Wolff Heckel’s ‘Der Züner tantz’ (Lautten Buch, 2/1562); both of these have an appended triple-time after-dance (‘Hupff auff’ or ‘Proportz’). Neusidler’s dance is characterized by a florid, improvisatory melody to be played in high positions on the top string of the lute, accompanied by a simple bass line played on the unstopped lower three courses, suggesting an imitation of the fiddle and bagpipe combination typical of Hungarian Gypsy dance music (...


Michael Tilmouth

(Ger.: ‘interlude’)

An interlude or intermezzo. The term has been applied to musical interludes that serve simply to entertain between the acts of operatic works of the 19th and 20th centuries, although ‘entr’acte’ or ‘Entrakt’ has often been preferred even in German-speaking countries. It has also been used of those interludes that contribute to the essential dramatic structure of the whole, e.g. the Zwischenspiel between Acts 1 and 2 of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron; ‘Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt’ is described as a Zwischenspiel in some editions of Götterdämmerung, though it is doubtful whether Wagner himself so described it.

In writings about music the word is commonly used of the episodes in a fugue or rondo, the orchestral tuttis of a concerto, the purely instrumental interludes in a song accompaniment, organ interludes between the stanzas of a congregational hymn or the passages between statements of the chorale tune in a chorale prelude and, rather loosely, of the ...