Game of the Antichrist

Robert Moran

Innova 251


Game of the Antichrist 

The Children’s Chorus of Gemeinde Vaterstetten, Conductor: Beatrice Menz-Hermann 

Vocal Ensemble Chrismos, Conductor: Alexander Hermann 


1               Prologue    1:59

2               Scene 1: The Babylonian King and Followers Arrive        1:53

3               The Rabbi and Followers Appear Before the Pope            1:56

4               The Pope (Emperor) and Christians Arrive           1:31

5               Children’s Chorus 1: Salve Domine         2:39

6               Scene 2: A Violent Religious and Political Argument        4:24

7               The Angel of God Appears           2:13

8               The Angel Vanishes          :25

9               Scene 3: Appearance of the Antichrist       2:55

10            Christians and Babylonians greet the Antichrist as Savior 2:54

11            Scene 4: The Antichrist Summons a Musician      3:03

12            The World is Frozen         1:42

13            Sanguine Patrie     3:42

14            Children’s Chorus 2: Stampede    1:40

15            Scene 5: Enoch and Elias  3:52

16            Finale: Banishment of the Antichrist         2:00


17        Within a Day   22:07

Thingamajigs Performance Group






The Children’s Chorus of Gemeinde Vaterstetten, Conductor: Beatrice Menz-Hermann 

Vocal Ensemble Chrismos, Conductor: Alexander Hermann 


Text: Unknown, Cloister Tegernsee, Bavaria. ca. 1150

Idea and Realization: Alexander Hermann, Robert Moran 

Music: Robert Moran

Director: Jarkko Lehmus 

Project Management: Alexander Hermann

Choreography: Jarkko Lehmus and Bettina Hermann

Puppets: Fabian Vogl

Lighting Design: Georg Veit




Soprano (two Antichrist followers - Ketzerei and the Heuchelei):  Talia Or

mezzo soprano (Heuchelei: danced role)

Counter-tenor (Angel): Stefan Görgner


Oboe, English Horn: Dirk-Michael Kirsch

Alp horn: Mathias Kamleiter

Bar piano: Misha Ognianer

Organ: Andreas Götz


The Heathen and his Babylonian Followers

Harp: Sarah Cocco


The Synagogue and Jerusalem

Guitar: Stefan Görgner

Recorders: Pia Grandl, Tatjana Flickinger

Synthesizer: Beatrice Menz-Hermann


The Church and its Devotees

Trumpets: Manuel Eberle, Andreas Unterreiner

Horn: Andreas Fuchs

Trombone: Roman Sladek

Bass Trombone: Mathias Kamleiter

Tuba: Jutta Kress

Percussion: Leander Kaiser


Notes on the recreation of “Das Spiel vom Antichrist”

Robert Moran


Who knows how this project began!  Maybe it was “over a beer” in Munich a few years ago with old friend and great choral conductor, Alexander Hermann. “Let’s find an ancient mystery play, such as Everyman and present a re-creation of such a work here in Bavaria”. Alex mentioned this possible future project to his chorus, Chrismos. One member, Rebekka Rehbach, a ‘specialist’ on such ancient theatrical/religious texts, presented Alex with “Ludus de Antichristo”. I must admit: both Alex and I were thrilled over this possibility. The text was in Latin with a German translation. According to authorities, this early mystery play, from ca. 1160 and from the Quirinus Monastery at Tegernsee (Bavaria), is one of the few religious works to be presented within the church and not, as was the tradition, on the steps of the structure. This original play is the most ambitious mediaeval Latin drama, but despite its excellence it appears to have been forgotten almost as soon as it was written.   

The “game” or the “play” deals with a subject that was of supreme importance to mediaeval authors and artists: The End of the World.

The “Spiel”, commissioned by Ensemble Chrismos, is basically simple, but the original Latin text takes any performance to way over four hours duration. Alex and I cut this down to about 45 minutes. The “new, streamlined” scenario is basically:


The three major characters (represented by gigantic puppets) are 1) The Kaiser/Emperor (in this case, we made him into the Pope, 2) The Rabbi, 3) The King of Babylon. The Kaiser thus represents Christendom (The Catholic Church); the Rabbi, Representative of the Jews and the Babylonian King, enjoying a pantheon of gods and goddesses.

The Babylonian “party folks” (SATB chorus) were given an accompaniment of a harp. The Jews (high male voices) have a small accompaniment which includes two recorders. The Pope (SATB chorus) is backed with a brass ensemble and organ. 


From my notes on the ordering of the scenes and from the score:


Prologue: Total darkness... soft chromatic organ ‘clusters’. The Pope summons two world leaders to his court, via an alp horn.  I wrote this note to myself: “The alp horn summons the gathering of the religious leaders; only two pitches; the sound should suggest “a daemonic creature within the Earth”... An invisible chorus is heard with “Templum domini....”

Scene 1: The Babylonian King and followers arrive with “Deorum immortali....” accompanied by harp.

The Rabbi and followers appear before the Pope. They (tenors and basses) are accompanied by two recorders, guitar and synthesizer. “Nostra salus in te....” with the solo alp horn concluding this scene.  

The Pope (Emperor) and Christians arrive with “Hoc est fides...” accompanied by organ, brass ensemble and timpani!

Choral: Salve Domine, proclamation of the youth chorus! with harp and organ

The court is assembled for a religious discussion.

Scene 2:  Between the three groups, a violent religious and political argument takes place. At its climax the Angel of God (male soprano dressed in white, from a back balcony) appears in an attempt to calm the crowds. Unaccompanied.

Scene 3:  The Antichrist enters, accompanied by his ‘voice’ (soprano) and an English horn, plus a female follower. An added accompaniment includes glass harmonica and organ. The various ensembles are enchanted by the sound (chorus, then four solo tenors, two solo sopranos, with organ).

The Antichrist summons a musician (jazz pianist and his instrument, pulled across the entire performing space by men in black robes).  To resolve any disagreements between the various groups, the Antichrist offers a party for all, one which quickly ‘gets out of control’. Notes: wild dancing, orgiastic amusements!

At this point in the re-writing of the ‘libretto’, we had to reduce, re-write and clarify the concluding materials. The three major ‘powerhouse’ characters now realize that the control of the ‘folk’ is not possible without some drastic ‘reinforcements’. “Sound-interruptions” with the brass ensemble, alp horn, organ and harp.

The sound of the piano vanishes... and in its place: glass harmonica and harp as once again we hear the voice of the Angel from the back balcony!  “Sanguine patrie...” followed by an organ improvisation.

The second appearance of the chorus of young people. Angrily they ‘shout’ their text, “Ecco homo qui non posuit....” at the audience. Brass accompaniment!

Two new characters, prophets Enoch and Elias, appear, warning the Rabbi and followers not to listen to or follow the Antichrist or in fact the Kaiser/Pope, who orders the Rabbi to be killed. The Antichrist, at this moment speaks via four bass voices, is outraged over the statement of Enoch and Elias. The only salvation arrives with a children’s chorus, praising God. The Antichrist vanishes as the young voices sing a triumphant, “Laudem dicite, Deo nostro



A work created in collaboration with Robert Moran and the Thingamajigs Performance Group



Dylan Bolles, flutes

Suki O'Kane, electronics and percussion

Edward Schocker, piri and glass


Recorded by Micheal Zelner

Recorded in Lisser Hall at Mills College on May 3rd, 2014


As the sun slowly rises over the highest Tibetan peaks, the gods and goddesses are awakened for the daily worship by the monks; in order to complete the ‘blessing’ they must all make for that ‘electron-leap’ from the known universe to an unknown, invisible space. Once the leap is made, the avenues for sublime blessings are possible. As evening approaches, the deities return to their heavenly abode.


The premiere of “Within a day...” was given in San Francisco on January 17, 2014 at the Center for New Music. The Event incorporated the use of bamboo flutes, water-glasses, Japanese flute, live electronics and cymbals. Edward Schocker, in discussing the collaboration, suggested to me that “think of us as dancers and you as the choreographer”. I mentioned to Edward of my interest in various Tibetan Buddhist groups who awakened the gods and goddesses through their chants and musical instruments for worship. Prior to this performance plan, I had come across the following information which I, in turn, sent to the three Thingamajig performers, Suki, Edward and Dylan:


Neutrons may be traveling from our universe into parallel worlds and back again, according to a new theory that explains a rather odd phenomenon.

Experiments at ultra-low temperatures carried out in France have revealed a phenomenon known as neutron loss, whereby neutrons appear to vanish for short periods.

Having re-analyzed the experimental data and have come up with a possible explanation, the scientists have shown that the loss rate of very slow free neutrons appears to depend on the direction and strength of the magnetic field applied; an anomaly that can't be explained by known physics.

What could explain this finding, though, is a hypothetical parallel world consisting of 'mirror particles'. Each neutron would have the ability to transition into its invisible mirror twin and back, oscillating from one parallel universe to the other.

The scientists say that the neutron-mirror-neutron oscillation could take place within just a few seconds, consistent with the experimental results.

The Thingamajigs Performance Group emerged from the long-term collaborations between individual artists that now make up its ensemble members. Using unusual musical instruments, TPG combines traditional Eastern sensibilities with modern American technologies and performance practices. Creating pieces in a group collaborative process that sometimes incorporate voice and multimedia elements, this ensemble of musicians expands and contracts within each performance situation.

The Thingamajigs Performance Group's unique process of creating work is closer to that of theater companies or dance troupes rather than standard music ensembles. Instead of commissioning one composer to write music for which the ensemble will play, TPG creates each of it original works in a collaborative manner with each ensemble member and/or collaborating partner having equal creative input in guiding the work to fruition. The core ensemble members have been working together for over 10 years and have devised this unique system of creation through a deep musical and philosophical understanding that comes with years of working and developing together.


Also by Robert Moran on innova:

Cabinet of Curiosities (792)

Mantra (714)

Open Veins (627)

Trinity Requiem (244)


Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Philip Blackburn, director, design

Chris Campbell, manager

Steve McPherson, publicist