Oberammergau passion play music – The magnificent music for the Passion Play was composed by Rochus Dedler who was born in Oberammergau in 1779. His musical education took place in Munich and Rottenbuch after which he returned home to Oberammergau where he worked as a composer, a church musician and a teacher up until his death in 1822.
It is not known just how much of his musical score for the play was taken from earlier performances of the play but it is very likely that his music was influenced by Mozart as well as Joseph and Michael Haydn. It is said that some of his music has been similar to the expressiveness and romance of Schubert’s or Weber.
Two hours of this wonderful music is performed by an orchestra of 60 musicians and a choir which elaborates the strongly emotional impact of the Passion Play. Over the past 200 years there have been a number of adaptations of Dedler’s music but today is still based on the original score.
The present day Musical Director is Markus Zwink who was born in the village in 1956 and whose family go back to the 18th century in Oberammergau. He studied music in Salzburg and Munich and has been head of music in Oberammergau since 1984. He has adapted and re-arranged the music and has composed some New Music that accompanies some of the new tableaux vivants from the Old Testament that were used in the 2010 performance.