Composers and their stage works 


Henrik Ibsen (written. 1865, prod. 1885).

Titanic five-act drama, the publication of which established Ibsen's Scandinavian reputation.

Brand, a fiercely dedicated young minister whose maxim is "all or nothing," meets three representative types who, he feels, infect the world: a peasant (the faint of heart), the painter Einar and his betrothed Agnes (the light of heart), and the gypsy girl Gerd (the wild of heart). Brand's singular courage and exalted vision are communicated to Agnes, who leaves Einar and goes off with him. Later, the son born to them dies when Brand refuses to leave his mountain parish for a milder climate. Forced by Brand to give up the last mementos of the child, Agnes also dies.

Brand's inflexibility is further demonstrated by his refusal to grant his dying mother absolution unless she renounces every bit of her wealth. He afterward uses his entire inheritance to build a more spacious church, but when the moment comes to open its doors, he decides that the building is yet another form of idolatry. He exhorts his congregation to follow him up into the barren mountains to be closer to God.

Though they set off enthusiastically, the hardships of the journey prove too much for them. When Brand declares that in exchange for the wealth of mammon all they can expect is a crown of thorns, they turn on him and stone him. Deserted, Brand finds release in tears just before being buried under an avalanche released by the crazed gypsy Gerd. In answer to his anguished cry to God for greater under-standing of his life, an enigmatic voice announces that "He is the God of love."