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As far back as I can remember, I have always been fascinated with fairy tales: with their archetypal characters and set phrases like'Once upon a time...'and'...they all lived happily ever after'. Fairy tales were however also a source of unrest for me as a seismograph of mankinds underlying primal fears and desires. So as a performer and composer I have always felt that Robert Schumann's Märchenerzählungen [Fairy Tales] (scored for the same instrumentation as my own composition) was a disjointed, complex contemporary work - despite the innocence and naivety of its initial appearance. I therefore do not intend my own Es war einmal (Once upon a time...)to be a mere sentimental, nostalgic flight into the distant past, but as a naive and fantastical alternative concept to our genuine world with all its upheavals. Jörg Widmann
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