Reference Entry

Kleist, (Bernd) Heinrich (Wilhelm) von

Peter Branscombe

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780192825742
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.15130
Kleist, (Bernd) Heinrich (Wilhelm) von

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(b Frankfurt an der Oder, Oct 18, 1777; d Wannsee, nr Potsdam, Nov 21, 1811). German writer. He was the great-nephew of the poet Ewald Christian von Kleist. Orphaned at an early age, he joined the army in 1792 but resigned in 1799. He travelled extensively, pausing at Dresden and Paris (1801), Berne, Königsberg (1805–6), Dresden (1807–9) and Berlin, near where he committed suicide with his incurably ill mistress.

Kleist played the flute and clarinet and, though untutored, attempted composition; yet music plays a rather small part in his literary works (one of his less successful stories is Die heilige Cäcilie, oder Die Gewalt der Musik). Many of his plays and stories have been used as the basis for musical compositions, with no diminishment of interest in the 20th century. Among these works are Draeseke’s incidental music for Die Hermannsschlacht, Marschner's and Wolf’s incidental music to ...

Reference Entry.  379 words. 

Subjects: Music of the Classical Period

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