Overview

Hans Pfitzner

(1869—1949)


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(b Moscow, 1869; d Salzburg, 1949).

Ger. composer and conductor. Taught pf. Coblenz Cons. 1892–3. Cond. Mainz mus. th. 1894–6. Taught comp. and cond. Stern Cons., Berlin, 1897–1907. First cond. Theater des Westens, Berlin, 1903–6. Municipal mus. dir. and dir. of Cons., Strasbourg, 1908–18, becoming mus. dir. Strasbourg Opera 1910–16. Taught in Berlin 1920–9. Prof. of comp., Munich Acad. 1929–34. Influenced by Wagner and Schopenhauer. Well‐known as writer on mus. and determined critic of modern tendencies. Mahler cond. two of his operas in Vienna, but his chief success was with Palestrina (Munich 1917) which has remained in the repertory in Ger. and has won many admirers beyond its frontiers. The Nazis upheld his mus. as in the best Ger. tradition and contrasted it with the ‘degeneracy’ of Strauss. After the 1939–45 war he was found in penury in a Munich home for the aged by the president of the Vienna PO who took him to Vienna where he was supported by the orch. His mus. is romantic in a Wagner‐Strauss idiom; his songs in particular are beautiful. Prin. works:

operas:

Der arme Heinrich

(1891–3);

Die Rose vom Liebesgarten

(1897–1900);

Das Christelflein

(comp. as incid. mus. 1906, converted into opera 1917);

Palestrina

(1911–15);

Das Herz

(1931).

orch.:

Scherzo

(1888);

Kleine Symphonie

(1939);

Fantasie

(1947); pf. conc. (1922); vn. conc. (1923); vc. conc. No.1 (1935), No.2 (1944); sym. in C♯ minor (adapted from 2nd str. qt.) (1932); sym. in C (1940).

incidental music:

Das Fest auf Solhaug

(Ibsen) (1889–90);

Das Käthchen von Heilbronn

(Kleist) (1905);

Das Christelflein

(Stach) (1906, reworked as opera 1917).

choral:

Der Blumen Rache

, ballad for alto, women's ch., and orch. (1888);

Columbus

, 8‐part unacc. ch. (1905);

Rundgesang zum Neujahrsfest

, bass, ch., and pf. (1901);

Von deutscher Seele

, cantata for 4 soloists, ch., and orch. (1921, rev. 1937);

Das dunkle Reich

(1929).

chamber music:

str. qt. No.1 (1902–3), No.2 (1925), No.3 (1942); pf. trio (1896); pf. quintet (1908); vc. sonata (1890); pf. sextet (1945).

Over 90 Lieder with pf. acc. and songs with orch.

Subjects: Music.


Reference entries

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