Iudicium - The Great Trial

iudicium-music-sm2

Grounded in tradition, IUDICIUM blurs the dramatic lines between the new and the old, fantasy and reality, and opera’s many successful theatrical styles.

The Composer

Jan Tegtmeyer

“Prokofiev is rumored to have said that if Haydn had lived nowadays he might have composed his first symphony like him. I say that if any of Haydn’s friends lived today, none would dare to put Iudicium to music. …what was I thinking?”

Born in Herford, Germany, Jan has traveled throughout the world and written for multiple orchestras, including Klangvereinigung Wien, Sinfonietta dell’Arte, and Sophia Philharmonic, and performed from China to North America. While traveling through the United States, Jan met Chris and together, immediately realized that there was an opera inside them that needed to be released.

Jan currently lives, teaches, and performs in Vienna, Austria.

Composer's Photo
Composer, Jan Tegtmeyer, playing the Viola by Sebastian Dallinger (Vienna, ca. 1780) at a concert in 2008 at the Castle of Kremsegg, Austria.

Click Here To Listen To A Computer Generated Sample Of Introduction

The Librettist

C. J. Bartels

“I love everything about winter; the crisp air, the frost on the trees, the music, and most importantly, the haunting story that brings it to life. Where The Valley Lies, the story the opera is based upon, is all of this in a single tale… and more.”

A first generation American, Chris has flown helicopters in Korea, Europe, and throughout the Middle East. While in China, he met his wife's parents, and then 12 months later, while in Germany, met their daughter, now a mom to their four wonderful children. Since then he has built a house that he and his family live in, recorded music that didn't sell very well, gone fishing with friends that are still friends, and tried a whole lot of other endeavors that didn't always go as planned. In fact, Iudicium was supposed to be a musical...

Chris works from a studio in NorthEast Minneapolis, MN.

Other stories by C. J. Bartels
"A Letter From Brazil" – a young girl growing up on the plains of North Dakota is moved across America as her father looks for work in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyards during World War II. At the same time, a young boy in Germany turns sixteen and seven weeks later, in 1945, is sent to the Eastern Front as Germany loses ground and the end of the war draws near. Based on a true story of how his parents grew up during the war, met in America during the last three weeks of a visit sponsored by the Marshall Plan, and marry in Brazil at the request of a letter. "The Eyes of Kek" () – a work of mystery and suspense... and maybe even a timely lesson that includes hidden clues to a site deep in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. "Charlie Tetter Peaked," and "Dep-Camp 1099."

Thank you for taking the time to visit!

“A predominantly syllabic libretto by C. J. Bartels, IUDICIUM’s poetic prose and a timeless story of good and evil pairs seamlessly with the stage-centric score written by Jan Tegtmeyer as he takes the two art forms hand-in-hand and presents them as one.”

The Story

A Mysteriously Wonderful Tale

“To my dear friends, I shall admit, this book is meant more for me than you. Unorthodox in tone, to mix and mingle words may seem to be all I have done. If you wish to set it down, I will not be offended.”


From The Author

To my dear friends, I shall admit, this book is meant more for me than you. Unorthodox in tone, to mix and mingle words may seem to be all I have done. If you wish to set it down, I will not be offended. As for the story, no time frame has been allotted, no date given. Noun, verb, and adjective have strayed in appearance, and structure has been left for dead. Further, the reason for its origin is somewhat of a mystery. Inspired by a dream and replayed in the voice of a song is all I can remember. No adventure will you find, except if you try to analyze. No tragedy will exist unless you must reread a line. (And for this I do apologize—for it will happen—but consider yourself warned). A fading memory of an old man is all that is contained, though I must state, I have not spoken with him to check my detail, nor am I truly convinced he ever existed. If you are a child, no Dickens’ ghost will appear, nor character contained with such expertise, but be warned, it is a Christmas Eve like no Seuss, Baldacci, or Hegg. If you are a professor of English, or are looking for any literary value and wish to assign a grade, I tell you now—I have failed. If you are a student of the pen, fear not, for I am certain this hazard is not contagious and will only infect a very few. With these words of warning and holiday cheer, I present you a story both beautiful and common, written as a reminder, and possibly only pleasing to me.

— C. J. Bartels

From The Author

To my dear friends, I shall admit, this book is meant more for me than you. Unorthodox in tone, to mix and mingle words may seem to be all I have done. If you wish to set it down, I will not be offended. As for the story, no time frame has been allotted, no date given. Noun, verb, and adjective have strayed in appearance, and structure has been left for dead. Further, the reason for its origin is somewhat of a mystery. Inspired by a dream and replayed in the voice of a song is all I can remember. No adventure will you find, except if you try to analyze. No tragedy will exist unless you must reread a line. (And for this I do apologize—for it will happen—but consider yourself warned). A fading memory of an old man is all that is contained, though I must state, I have not spoken with him to check my detail, nor am I truly convinced he ever existed. If you are a child, no Dickens’ ghost will appear, nor character contained with such expertise, but be warned, it is a Christmas Eve like no Seuss, Baldacci, or Hegg. If you are a professor of English, or are looking for any literary value and wish to assign a grade, I tell you now—I have failed. If you are a student of the pen, fear not, for I am certain this hazard is not contagious and will only infect a very few. With these words of warning and holiday cheer, I present you a story both beautiful and common, written as a reminder, and possibly only pleasing to me.

— C. J. Bartels

About The Opera

iudicium-music-sm2

Grounded in tradition, Iudicium blurs the dramatic lines between the new and the old, fantasy and reality, and opera’s many successful theatrical styles. A predominantly syllabic libretto by C. J. Bartels, Iudicium’s poetic prose and a timeless story of good and evil pairs seamlessly with the stage-centric score written by Jan Tegtmeyer as he takes the two art forms hand-in-hand and presents them as one.

Written as a two-act opera, Iudicium is based on the book “Where The Valley Lies,” and is sure to please stage aficionados of multiple genres as it turns the audience into the jury, the stage into a dilemma, and the opera house into a heart-pounding experience.

The Carpenter

Where-The-Valley-Lies-Cover-2018-HC

His tools glistened from years of care.
Their edges had crossed his whetstone so many times that they no longer reached the length they had when new, yet their balance remained precise as though time had changed the man as the stone each blade.

Round edged and slant tipped, curled and flat, their palm-rubbed handles had darkened in his grasp and the maker could no longer be seen in the wood. The last chisel disappeared as the cloth was gently tied and the set laid in the box. He looked up.
One final glance at his work had been the tradition. This would be the last time he’d view the singular patterns of leaves and branches and acorns and weaving bark, gathered to compose this work. Each had been painstakingly shaped and carved into the deep-oiled Sapele, every element drawn from a specimen found on the king’s land. No two the same. No pattern created to be carried to another site. Each one held it’s own story, like the eyes of the townspeople and the faces of the staff. Each carried a truth he had not thought to expect nor could have been duplicated by any of the famed artisans recommended by fashion or bid. It was not the parlor that needed his touch. This was clear as the inspiration welled up inside of him and his hands began to turn the wood and chisel. Like a prophet sent to prepare the way, he was the only one who could capture the needs of the king, and he knew it.
The old man turned the whetstone in his hand before he laid it in the corner of the case, next to the chisels, as he had so many times in the past. It’s oiled surface was the reason for longevity in a trade that required an edge sharper than sword, an edge he could feel without looking as it came off the stone. He had an idea from whence this gift had come, but even he didn’t believe in ghosts. He was a carpenter, and what he believed was what he saw and touched and formed in front of his eyes with each press and bend and cut; even so, he had a sense that his prior occupation used the blade in a much different manner.
The moon’s light entered the still room, reflecting off the falling flakes of snow and blowing drifts that had accumulated outside. He stood and studied the illuminated patterns that wrapped the windows and doors, each feathery detail enough to hold one to silence and make him forget his woes. As a whole, the shapes that encased the fireplace and windows and walls and ceiling would surely make a heretic recite biblical verse. He had even found moments when the composition had stolen his thoughts for a time, to return and find his work had continued without him. It was beautiful. It was his masterpiece and the sum of all he had learned. And as expected, tonight, he was finished.
His finger swept the edge of an oak leaf carved three quarters of the way down, along the right side of the last window. Its extensions had secondary sweeps and turns, rounded and contorted, unlike the leaves he had used in a number of other locations that he had discovered, thin and simple in their appendages. He had made note while gathering his patterns that some were pointed while others held the perfection of the iconic shapes he had seen in the works of Friesian clocks and furniture and the detail on fine weaponry, though all came from the same grove and sometimes the same tree. He had found it exhilarating that his work had become so exact that even now, in wood, he could tell each detail’s origin, whether green when plucked or dried and shrunken and picked from the ground. Like a forest left to the winds and squirrels, the composition worked splendidly. The question was, would its message be considered? Without effect, this whimsical score was no more than ornamentation, and that would not do.
The tip of his middle finger, thick-skinned and scarred, slid down another section of leaf and acorn, veering slightly with each curled tip and crooked branch. His hand slid toward the sill until his arm fell to his side, and a satisfaction, gathered from peace and humility, blossomed within him. It was a satisfaction that he knew well.
Considerately, wishing it did not have to come to an end, he raised the last piece of the composition, a tiny whittled basket with a sleeping child nestled within. He brushed the fine wood shavings from its surface and set it in the arms of a small woven doll he had bartered for on his way into town. Its wound composition stood silently in the moonlight. Each strand of the woman’s dress spread and stopped on the table’s top. Around its base a ring of light gave him pause, as though he stared at a lonesome ballerina on a private stage.
His strong hand gripped the wooden handle of his toolbox and lifted it from the floor. With one last transient gaze, he opened the door and stepped out, down the hall, and into the cold.

The snow had begun to accumulate on the cobblestone. Dimly lit lamps outlining the palace road marked a path toward the large gate that had disappeared behind the translucent wall of flakes. He stopped for a moment to pull his collar up around his neck as he peeked into the night. The winds had picked up. He
had finished just in time.

“People of the jury on the court of immaterial, I bring to you a poor devil’s appeal for a very wicked man’s soul. He was in my care…until he died, then taken from me, even after that vial creature did what he did on that cold winter’s night.”

The Opera

“Grounded in tradition, iudicium blurs the dramatic lines between the new and the old, fantasy and reality, and opera’s many successful theatrical styles.”

Two Acts - Ten Scenes: 01:49:43 In Length

Written as a two-act opera, Iudicium is based on the book “Where The Valley Lies,” and is sure to please stage aficionados of multiple genres as it turns the audience into the jury, the stage into a dilemma, and the opera house into a heart-pounding experience.

Click Here To Listen To A Computer Generated Sample Of Introduction

Introduction & Act 1 - Scene 1
Timor, a low-level demon, tries to convince the jury (the audience) that there has been a mistake made with a man’s soul and the verdict should be overturned. As Timor lays out his case, three jurors demand that the transcript of the trial he is referring to be presented in its entirety. Tentatively, Timor agrees and the story begins as Adami, a former king and the owner of the soul, receives word that his son, the heir, has died while crossing an icy pass in the mountains when his horse threw a shoe. Furious, the king demands the person to blame, (the Blacksmith) and in his rage takes it one step further, denouncing God for the death and crushing the symbol of God’s son that rises before him, a crucifix. Shattering it to dust he declares, “You are no more!”

Act 1 - Scene2
At the same time, a carpenter hired to renovate the prince’s parlor as a gift to be presented on return, finishes his work. In the light of the candles, as they flicker from the gold stands and the beautifully carved wood, the carpenter admires his work while the hour of the king’s night-of-mercy approaches. Finishing his review, he carefully places each chisel back in his toolbox and lifts a grass-woven doll from his side and sets it on a table below a window. In its arms, he places a carved wooden basket. With one final glance around the room, he steps from the castle and out into the night. But as the room settles in silence a small child appears from her hiding place behind the door and runs through the room, singing, and dancing, touching the beautifully carved woodwork that wraps her playground. Reaching the table she stops, pauses, and then lifts the beautiful doll and whittled basket in its grip. Looking around to make sure nobody is watching she gives it a gentle hug and runs from the room with the gift in her hands.

Act 1 - Scene3
Back in town, the village gathers at the steps of the cathedral for their yearly stipend meant to carry them through the long winter, a tradition that has continued since any can remember, but it is not to be. Split in two, the old and young move aside as the blacksmith’s daughter is dragged before the king. Her pleading does little to soften his heart and in the end, the king demands a son for a son, ordering her to bring her child to hang in mornings first light. As she is dragged from the cathedral, unexpectedly, the king’s messenger enters to report that the gift commissioned for the prince, and not due to be finished for another month, is complete. However, it is also reported that the carpenter did not follow the king’s approved architectural drawings. The news of the project’s completion piques the Royal's interest and he orders the cathedral doors closed and his carriage brought up so he can see for himself what this carpenter has done.

Intermission

Act 2 - Scene1
The king and his entourage arrive at the prince’s palace. Inside the main door, they find the prince’s daughter playing with a woven doll on the stairs, unaware of what has happened to her father. Her innocence steals the king’s thoughts before he orders the doors to the parlor to be swung open. Once inside, he is struck speechless by the beauty that surrounds him. But as he admires the amazing work, he discovers that within its intricate carving is hidden a message that will come true at first light. And to make matters worse, the last word is missing. Worried for his life, and assuming these are God’s words, he sends for the Bishop.

Act 2 - Scene2
Far from the castle, across the fields and deep in the woods, the blacksmith’s daughter enters her cottage. Beaten and stiff from the cold, she tells her father what has happened. But to her dismay, she discovers that the old blacksmith has injured himself. Forgetting her own pain, she tends to him as a mysterious old woman that the blacksmith invited out of the cold and into their house months earlier rambles on about how they should not worry — all has been taken care of, a gift to them for their kindness.

Act 2 - Scene3
Back at the castle, the bishop enters to find the king somber and broken. In the king’s state of disbelief, he asks the Bishop to tell him the final word. The Bishop sees an opportunity to gain great power throughout the kingdom... for Rome of course. Following the reading of the prophecy, the Bishop tells the king that the last word requires obedience to him and the church or he shall perish in the fires of hell. After considering the terms, King Adami tells the bishop that he finds the answer unacceptable and sends him away. With no other option, he summons the sorcerer of the woods.

Act 2 - Scene4
As the night draws deeper into the winter cold and the moon rises higher, Mary holds her father’s hand and it becomes clear he will not survive the night. She sings goodbye to him and then determines what she must do with her child.

Act 2 - Scene5
In the parlor, Medea, the sorcerer of the woods, slinks along the wall, surrounded by her demon choir. Summoning all her power to convince the king that the final word is of his death and destruction, Adami is captured in a hypnotic trans and at the mercy of the demon witch. Suddenly realizing his mistake, he breaks free, denying the foul creature her desire and accepting his fate — he has done evil and will have to pay.

Act 2 - Finale
Prostrate and without hope, the sun begins to break the horizon through the window on the far side of the parlor as King Adami hears the sweet soft voice of the blacksmith’s daughter. Dressed in a beautiful white gown she enters with the child in a basket, as requested. The king slowly breaks the grip that cold and dismay hold on him and rises to meet the woman.

Telling her that he has made a mistake and now knows his son would never have blamed another for his woes, the king apologizes and then asks for a single favor; to tell him the word none of his other confidant’s were able to speak. She does not, but following the prophecy’s reading she tells him that he has been granted a great gift and he should feel very fortunate for it is all there, within the words. There is no riddle.

The king cannot believe it and ignores her as the door behind the woman suddenly moves. Seeing that it can only mean one thing, that a demon has come for him, he demands that it present itself and states that he is ready to die. But to both of their surprise, it turns out to be the prince’s young daughter. In sadness, she rushes across the floor and into her grandfather’s arms, now aware that her father, the prince, will never return. The King dries her tears and explains away her pain. Comforted, the child stops crying and he tells Mary she is to consider herself a guest in his castle, to eat from his kitchen, and then to return and take her child with her.

Alone with the little girl, the king notices the woven doll and it’s whittled basket in the child’s grip. Transfixed, he asks who gave her such a beautiful gift. Forgetting her pain for the moment, he takes the doll and basket from her as she runs over to the window and the table where the carpenter had set the doll earlier in the night. And as she details the moment the king suddenly realizes that the table sits just past the last word of the prophecy. And in the silence of the morning, light streaming through the window, Adami slowly turns over the wooden basket to find a single word whittled into the bottom...

...and the rest is yours to discover!

The Book

“I have come to learn that one’s eternity is not so absolute. It can begin beyond the land of Hades and below the stoop of Paradise, where the memories of loved ones and the faces of enemies disappear. Here, I am a messenger of judgment, both acquittal, and doom. I am a carpenter. And tonight, a man’s soul rested on my decree…

The Story - Hardcover

The Story - Hardcover

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The Opera - Hardcover

The Opera - Hardcover

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Thank You For Your Consideration.

If you would like to hear more about this opera and story, please let us know using the form or emailing me directly.

-c. j. bartels

c@cjbartels.com


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