Hans Stadlmair (*1929) – an bavarian composer and an former conducter of the „Münchner Kammerorchester”- has written a 75-minute songcycle on lyrics by Rainer Maria Rilke´s „Marienleben”. This composition is one of the greatest monuments of contemporary music originally wirtten for chromatic Hackbrett. It´s extensive length, but also it´s engaging musical and technical requirements for both singer and hackbrett-player make “Mirjam” a unique part of Hackbrett repertoire.
The idea of accompanying the singer with an Austrian dulcimer, instead of a piano, reveals new possibilities both in sound and composition. Hans Stadlmair fell in love with the Hackbrett’s light, overtone-rich, and still piano-similar sound of this instrument, which offered him effective means for his pieces. He based his compositions on a counterpoint structure between singer and Hackbrett, which makes both hierarchically equal.