Andreas Willscher (b. 1955) — Rübezahls Tanz auf der Schneekoppe (1998) for organ
The title “Rübezahls Tanz auf der Schneekoppe” refers to the folkloric character of Rübezahl, the spirit of the Krkonoše Mountains (a mountain range between historical Bohemia and Silesia.) Stories of Rübezahl are frequent in German, Polish, and Czech folklore. The “Schneekoppe” is the highest mountain the range, and this piece imagines a mountain dance (“tanz”) by Rübezahl.
German composer and organist Andreas Willscher (b. 1955) studied composition, theory, and organ in his native Hamburg. In 1971 he was appointed organist of the St. Francis Church in Hamburg and in 2000 at the church of St. Joseph-Wandsbek. In addition, he has been keyboardist for several jazz and rock ensembles. Willscher has received many awards and commissions for his compositions, which range widely in form: from symphonic music and oratorios to cabaret and rock scores. His organ works are very diverse, ranging from large-scale post-tonal pieces to some that blend elements of the traditional repertoire with contemporary jazz and pop influences. In addition to his own composition and performing activities, Willscher has published a number of literary and scientific articles in journals and encyclopedias and has been very active in collecting and preserving lost and forgotten music from earlier eras. In 2015, in honor of his 60th birthday and life’s work as a musician, he was awarded the Johann Wenzel Stamitz Prize from the Arts Guild of Esslingen.