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2021/09/02

Mikis Theodorakis 1925–2021

Ode to freedom: on the death of the composer Mikis Theodorakis

The Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis has died in Athens on 02.09.2021 at the age of 96.

Born in Greece in 1925, Mikis Theodorakis resolutely devoted his life to fighting for freedom and justice, searching for valid and comprehensible forms of musical expression and pursuing the significance of art. This long journey ended in Athens on Thursday morning of 2 September in Athens.

Theodorakis tells of his beginnings as follows: “My career as a composer began in the early 1940s when no suitable environment actually existed for my career choice: no orchestra, no symphonic concerts, no music conservatoires, not even a grand piano. When I saw a film showing a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, I told my teachers at school the next day that I would now concern myself exclusively with music from this point onwards – and that is just what I did.” This astonishing early certainty was to develop into a compositional output that encompassed over a hundred larger-scale works including symphonies, ballet music, chamber music, theatre music and opera. While Theodorakis conducted a large proportion of his works’ premieres himself, prominent conductors such as Thomas Beecham, Charles Dutoit und Zubin Mehta were also great champions of his compositions. Yet the true core of his oeuvre is an amazing series of more than a thousand songs of enduring popularity. In the years to come an entire nation, perhaps the whole world, shall continue to sing his melodies.

Before Theodorakis became established in genre of the contemporary song, he studied the techniques and artistry of classical music with Olivier Messiaen in Paris. Supporters and admirers of the young composer included Dmitri Shostakovich, Hanns Eisler, Benjamin Britten and Darius Milhaud, who predicted a brilliant career for the tall and lively man constantly overflowing with musical ideas. Theodorakis’ impressive output of symphonic and chamber music ceased however upon his return to Athens in 1960, where he would not compose another purely instrumental work for more than 20 years. He instead turned his attention to song cycles, oratorios and film music, through which his political and social beliefs could be voiced. The works Theodorakis produced in this period were not only of uninhibited and innovative artistic merit, but also intended to be rooted in the identity of the people, with a message to communicate. Soon artists such as Agnes Baltsa, the Beatles, Dalida, Maria Farantouri, Mary Hopkin, Maria del Mar Bonet, Marino Marini, Milva, Georges Moustaki, Nana Mouskouri, Edith Piaf, Herman van Veen and many more adopted his songs into their own repertoires, and spread his messages across the world.

Theodorakis first turned to the field of opera later in his career as he approached the age of sixty, yet subsequently produced new works in an established rhythm of every four years. All five of his operas offer new interpretations of classical Greek mythology in which Theodorakis combines European musical tradition with his intrinsic melody-writing and the characteristic Greek idiom.

Theodorakis occupies a unique position in the musical and intellectual history of our time. His worldwide popularity, the great variety of his artistic creativity, and his political career have established him as one of the most significant figures in contemporary history. Throughout his life he selflessly stood up for international human rights, despite being interned in prison camps while Greece was under military dictatorship, and later exiled. He was a humanist out of profound conviction who never retreated into his art, but repeatedly involved himself in politics and always took a stand, above all in the most problematic of times. In 2018, Theodorakis was honoured for his timeless music and dedication to human rights with the award of an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Salzburg.

The lasting legacy of Mikis Theodorakis in Greece and beyond is found not only his struggle for freedom, even in the face of personal torture and exile, it is in his flawless coupling of art with the voice of the people. What could be a more pertinent example than his perhaps most famous composition: the dance melody for Michael Cacoyannis’ legendary film Zorba the Greek, which has become an unofficial Greek national anthem. The significance of this melody for the people of Greece echoes the power of Verdi’s Va pensiero, and the melody that first inspired Theodorakis to become a composer, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

 

2020/07/06

Nikolai Kapustin 1937–2020

Jazz as a process of maturity

Obituary for the pianist and composer Nikolai Kapustin

The composer and pianist Nikolai Kapustin died on 02 July 2020 in Moscow at the age of 82.

Nikolai Girshevitch Kapustin was born on 22 November 1937 in Nikitovka, a suburb of Horlivka in the Ukraine. His mother introduced him to the piano while he was still a child and he created his first compositions at the age of 13, ultimately producing his first piano sonata. In 1952, Kapustin travelled to Moscow accompanied by Piotr Vinnichenko, his then piano teacher, to take the entrance examination for the Academic Music College. He studied piano in the class of Aurelian Rubach. In 1956, he passed the entrance examination for the Moscow Conservatory where he studied piano with Alexander Goldenweiser and received his diploma in 1961. Kapustin never studied composition as a specific subject, instead preferring to develop his abilities through self-tuition.

Kapustin first experienced jazz during his studies at the Music College and immediately recognised its natural mode of expression. He founded a jazz quintet while still at the Moscow Conservatory and became a member of the big band. After his final examinations, he joined the big band conducted by Oleg Lundstrem, a pupil of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. He composed works for this ensemble including his First Piano Concerto op. 2 in which he was able to place his own instrument at the heart of the composition. In 1972, he left the band to join the orchestra “Blue Screen”. After the dissolution of the ensemble in 1977, he was offered a position in the State Symphonic Film Orchestra under the direction of the conductors Georgy Garanyan, Yuri Serebryakov and Konstantin Krimetz. During this period, he composed his Second Piano Concerto op. 16 whose success offered him the opportunity to become a member of the Union of Soviet Composers.

Deep inside, everything was seething

From the 1980s onwards, Kapustin primarily dedicated himself to composition, but still played the piano, chiefly in performances of his own works for radio and television broadcasts. His music at this time was characterised by elements of jazz linked with classical forms such as the sonata and the suite.  The most striking features of his music were its seething nature, virtuosity and its almost physical attraction. The Suite in the Old Style op. 28 dating from 1977 is typical for his style with its interspersed jazz improvisations within a Baroque structure modelled on Bach partitas. Kapustin explained the apparent paradox of through-composed jazz present in his compositional output in his customary calm and modest outward manner:

I was never a jazz musician. I have never attempted to be a genuine jazz pianist, but have to slip into this role for the benefit of my compositions. I am not interested in improvisation – and what would a jazz musician be without improvisation? Any improvisation on my part has naturally been notated and has improved during the process which has allowed it to mature.

His compositional output includes numerous works for piano including a series of 20 piano sonatas and six piano concertos. This is augmented by concertos for solo instruments such as the cello and saxophone, compositions for big band, string and wind orchestras and chamber music for a broad spectrum of instrumental combinations.

From secret tip to worldwide phenomenon

Prior to the year 2000, Kapustin’s music had remained a secret tip among jazz musicians within the former Soviet Union, but since the beginning of the new millennium, his works have become known throughout the world via internet and become exceedingly popular among younger pianists due to their cross-genre character. The much accoladed CDs issued by Steven Osborne (2000) and Marc-André Hamelin (2004) featuring Kapustin’s works have also contributed to the composer’s international reputation. Today, his compositions find increasing popularity in the recitals of renowned pianists and are steadily achieving the status of classics of the 20th and 21st century.

With the death of Nikolai Kapustin, we have lost a fascinating artist and a genuine individual who achieved unexpected international fame in his mature years. We were only privileged to accompany him as his publisher for a brief period and are thankful for the years of creative and genuinely friendly cooperation.

2020/03/29

Krzysztof Penderecki (1933–2020) – Obituary

With the death of Krzysztof Penderecki, the music world has lost an outstanding representative of the generation of composers who received their original impulses from 20th century avant-garde. As early as the late 1950s, Penderecki looked for and found new possibilities of compositional expression in the tension-filled area between noise and music. Thus, he unsettled the conservative concert audience, yet at the same time opened new artistic horizons and reached the forefront of the European avant-garde. After turning away from his early sound experiments, Penderecki was said to have taken a neo-Romantic turn. Unlike any other composer of his generation, he drew both criticism and admiration for his development as a composer. In the mid-1980s, he found himself in an exposed position right in the middle of the postmodernism discussion. However, Penderecki never followed a purely Orthodox movement. For him, the equation of avant-garde and tradition was no contradiction. He rather believed in the aesthetics of synthesis: ‘I have spent decades looking for and finding new sounds. At the same time I have studied forms, styles and harmonies of the past. I have continued to adhere to both principles …’. It was works like his Symphony No. 7 Seven Gates of Jerusalem, the opera The Devils of Loudun, the Polish Requiem and the monumental St. Luke’s Passion that made him one of the most internationally admired and frequently performed contemporary composers

“I work like a 19th century composer who had to know everything, even conducting.” (photo: Ludwig van Beethoven Association, Bartosz Koziak)

One of the last representatives of the large-scale form

Anyone who listens to the St. Luke Passion from 1966 today, with a distance of time, will not only discover experimental ways of composing but also find traditional elements in this work. It is not least the distinctive a cappella settings that revealed Penderecki’s close ties to historical composition techniques. Over the decades, the dense clusters of early works thinned into tonal structures, with complex sound surfaces taking second place to a rhythmically and melodically accessible score. Reminiscences to the late Romantic tradition of Bruckner, Mahler, Shostakovich or Strauss were chosen deliberately. ‘I am one of the last representatives of the large-scale form who writes everything: symphonies, operas, oratorios, concertos and chamber music. I work like a 19th century composer who had to know everything, even conducting.’

Pope John Paul II welcomes his friend Penderecki in Rome, 1983 (photo: Mari)

In numerous compositions, Penderecki embedded extra-musical content in; his sacred compositions often testify to his strong Catholic faith. With his music, he also set political accents time and again. The instrumental work Threnos was dedicated to the victims of the catastrophe of Hiroshima, the piano concerto Resurrection to the events on 11 September 2001. In the Polish Requiem Penderecki established connections to his native country in different ways. Lacrimosa was commissioned by the Polish trade union ‘Solidarnosc’ in 1980, other parts were written by the composer in memory of the victims of Auschwitz and the Warsaw Uprising. When the composer received the news of the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, he added Ciaccona in memoria Giovanni Paolo II. Penderecki never minced matters, not even when he was accused of embracing the aesthetics of Socialist realism in a Polish press campaign after the world premiere of Resurrection.

Faith and fugaciousness

For decades, Penderecki worked in close friendship with outstanding soloists. The composer’s catalogue of works contains numerous solo works for artists such as Anne-Sophie Mutter (2nd violin concerto Metamorphosen, among others), Boris Pergamenshikov (Concerto grosso) and Mstislav Rostropovich (Concerto per violoncello ed orchestra no. 2). He effectively learned instrumental tone colours and performance techniques by listening, and gave the performers as much space for development as possible. As Penderecki also wanted to share his love of music with the following generations of composers, he built the European Krzysztof Penderecki Music Centre not far from his country estate in Lusławice which has become a meeting place for musicians from all over the world.

Penderecki cultivated an extensive arboretum (photo: Krzysztof Wójcik)

In his eighth symphony Lieder der Vergänglichkeit, in which Penderecki set texts of famous poets on all aspects of the subjects ‘forest’ and ‘tree’ to music, he managed to combine his two great passions: music and his private arboretum where he collected more than 1,700 different kinds of trees. Just as the list of his commissioners, dedicatees and countless awards and distinctions provide information on his recognition in the international music world, so the trees collected by the internationally acclaimed conductor on his concert tours tell of his great love of and his close affinity with nature. After his seventh and eighth contributions to the symphony genre, Penderecki finished his 6th Symphony with the subtitle “Chinese Songs” for the world premiere in Guangzhou in 2017. Films like “The Shining”, “Shutter Island” or “Katyń” brought his music to the silver screen and home televisions worldwide.

Krzysztof Penderecki died on March 29 in Kraków, Poland.

 

photo: Schott Music / Bruno Fidrych

2020/02/07

Volker David Kirchner 1942–2020: music for human beings

“For me, it is vital to move and inspire individuals through music, listen to them and reflect on their problems.”

The composer and viola player Volker David Kirchner who was born in Mainz devoted himself to this artistic statement throughout his life.

Thirteen music dramatic works form the core of his comprehensive compositional output, including Gilgamesch which was premiered within the framework of the EXPO Hannover in 2000, but he has also composed two symphonies and a wealth of other compositions for orchestra, string orchestra and solo concertos. Kirchner’s catalogue of works additionally displays an opulent collection of vocal compositions, among them larger-scale pieces such as the Missa Moguntina (1993) composed for the city of Mainz.

Kirchner was however especially devoted to chamber music, enriching the repertoire with numerous works in a variety of formations, chiefly in classical genres including string quartets, piano trios and solo instruments with piano accompaniment.

Kirchner died in Wiesbaden on 4 February at the age of 77 following a brief serious illness. Schott Music is grateful for very many years of friendly cooperation.

2019/01/28

Jean Guillou 1930–2019

The Poet of the Organ

On the death of the organist and composer Jean Guillou

For Jean Guillou, it was both a duty and a privilege to dedicate his entire artistic life to the organ. As a performer he revolutionized the art of organ playing, as an improviser he fascinated whole generations of concert-goers, as a composer he opened the repertoire of the ‘king of instruments’ to areas which had been considered to be unimaginable before. Despite major health setbacks, a chronic asthma condition and a life-threatening TB infection, Guillou always pursued his objectives with unwavering relentlessness. Since 1963 he had been official organist at the church of St. Eustache in Paris. For three decades he had been a lecturer at the ‘Zurich Masterclasses’. Several renowned organs were built to his plans. Apart from organ recordings that have become classics, Guillou left an impressive compositional oeuvre of organ works and orchestra and chamber music.

It may have been a stroke of luck that Guillou had to manage without a professional organ teacher in the first years. As a young boy, he taught himself organ playing. At the age of twelve, he was so good that he could do the regular music ministry at Saint-Serge at home in Angers. There the seeds of Guillou’s undogmatic style of playing seemed to be sown, which later was to fascinate the organ world. It was, not least, his absolutely novel interpretation, with regard to phrasing, rhythm and accentuation, of the works by Johann Sebastian Bach, based on his profound knowledge of the works, that fascinated the audience and shocked the dogmatists of a pseudo-historical performance practice. A deep-felt artistic freedom which this outwardly gentle ‘young rebel of the organ’ would not let himself be talked out of even when he studied with the cream of the French music scene: Marcel Dupré, Maurice Duruflé and Olivier Messiaen. ‘In the interpretation, you have to feel the presence and personality of the performer.’

The way how Guillou began his career both as an organist and as a pianist was more than unusual. Among the great achievements of the concert pianist is the rediscovery of the Piano Sonata by Julius Reubke. Even the appointment to professor of organ at the Istituto de Música sacra in Lisbon, when Guillou was only 25 years old, obviously did not hinder his double career. A long stay at a sanatorium brought the young professor to Berlin for several years; there his encounter with the German organs left a lasting impression. In 1963, Guillou was appointed official organist at the church of St. Eustache in Paris for life. Despite this great honour, the prophet was at first without honour in his own country. The international career of Guillou the soloist took place outside France, the scepticism of the traditionalists of the ‘French organ school’ about the free-spirited ‘revolutionist’ of the organ being too great.

Guillou’s amazing art of improvisation consequently resulted in the impulse of recording the music created on the spur of the moment in the form of musical notation – this was the birth of Guillou the composer. When asked for his compositional role models, the French composer always mentioned Bach first, but even the Renaissance masters of polyphony were at the top of his list. In addition, a significant triumvirate – from Romantic to modern composers: Schumann, Debussy, Stravinsky – left their unmistakable marks. No matter whether in the numerous Concertos for Organ and Orchestra, the delicate chamber music works or the works for large-scale symphony orchestra, Guillou was always looking for magic moments. His style was free of any dogmatic theories, he worked with sharp dissonances as well as with a conciliatory tonality. Being a great expert on world literature, he relied on a poetic narrative power which saw the musical motifs as characters of a dramatic action. Alice in Organ Land is the title of one of Guillou’s most poetic works. ‘My works have a positive outlook on life, bearing witness to the great power inherent in life.’

Guillou plays during the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2015

In the annual ‘Zurich Masterclasses’, Guillou taught about 250 students in the years from 1970 to 2005. To many of them, the encounter with the organist was a key moment for their future career. They respectfully called their always polite, yet in fact uncompromising teacher ‘maître’. Despite of his influence on a whole generation of organists, Guillou did not create a ‘school’ in the narrower sense of the word. Artistic vanity was alien to him. His classes were about developing the individuality of each student. Guillou taught a kind of analysis of the work which did not even stop at the smallest details; each student was to draw his or her own conclusions from the analyzed material according to their own horizons.

‘To me, the organ is nothing static.’ With organ adaptations like his arrangements of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition or Tchaikovsky’s Scherzo from Symphony No. 6, Guillou rigorously freed the organ repertoire from the traditional role of ‘sacred’ instrument. The musician was rarely satisfied with what existed. His great love of historical instruments did not stop him from making a decisive contribution to modern organ-building. Famous organs like the organs of Tonhalle Zurich or of the Auditorio de Tenerife go back to his designs.

Jean Guillou was a creator and designer who looked towards the future. ‘The organ has, despite all its changes, this special kind of seductiveness and fascination that will last even in the future, and it is this “future” that we have to favour and keep alive. – This is my desire, this is my endeavour, this is my passion!’ It is also up to us, his publisher, to preserve and foster Guillou’s legacy and take it to new frontiers, even if the guiding force along the way is now lost to us. Jean Guillou died on 26 January 2019 in Paris.

2018/05/22

Dieter Schnebel – music without limits. On the death of the composer

There must be no victors, not even in the arts… This was the credo Dieter Schnebel shared with artists like John Cage and remained faithful to his whole life. The arts and the world, music and everyday life – these were no contrasts to the composer, church minister, musicologist and teacher who had been born in Lahr in Baden. With compositions like Ki-No, visible music and anschläge – ausschläge he created a new open concept of work which left boundaries in space and time behind and saw the composer as creative trigger, not as completer of the work. As Schnebel understood the performance situation as a truly democratic event, he brought street noise into the concert hall. Even in key works like the vocal work Ekstasis or the opera Majakowskis Tod – Totentanz he consequently denied aesthetic dogmatism any influence. Dieter Schnebel died in Berlin at the age of 88.

In the 1960s, the first performances of his early works, which could only be vaguely described by the notions of concept art and fluxus, were surrounded by scandal. The more Schnebel understood music as almost unconditioned action in experimental and archetypal situations, the more the performer emancipated him- or herself from the composition. No longer did the performer function as servant of an oeuvre completed in itself, but rather the moment when the music was produced became the true content of the work. ‘Not the tones or other acoustic elements make up the musical material but rather the processes of their production,’ Schnebel once outlined his approach.

Schnebel also broke with traditional listening expectations in other respects. In his works, the human voice often became an unleashed organ. All possibilities to produce sounds were allowed – singing, speaking, croaking, but also absolute silence. Concept titles like Körper – Sprachen [Body – Languages] or Laut – Gesten – Laute [Sound – Gestures – Noises] testify to that dissolution of boundaries of the musical material. In addition, the gestures of the performers played an ever-growing role in Schnebel’s art: The frontal concert situation was eliminated. Musicians began to move through the room, while the beginning and end of the concert were no longer discernible as such. ‘The music that once let in its environment in time and space, the sounds and noises of everyday life, … takes to the street and ends who-knows-where.’

In the 1970s the composer began to tour with the ensemble ‘Maulwerker’. As part of his work as teacher of music and religion, he organized concerts of pupils and amateurs, elementary educational approaches which Schnebel refined as professor of experimental music, a chair specially created for him at the Berlin Hochschule der Künste. With his radical open concept of work, however, the composer came up against limiting factors: In 1978 the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Cologne deliberately provoked the failure of a performance of the Orchestra project.

Schnebel’s artistic openness also included openness to tonality. He did not reject tradition at all, but rather interpreted it as a living process ‘…which includes the contemplation of the past, a look at the hidden sources and their lively continuous flow, as well as the openness to what could become of it, a look ahead to the future.’ With his cycle Re-Visionen (Beethoven-Symphonie, Schubert-Phantasie and Wagner-Idyll) he approached the tradition in a creative and ironic way. Schnebel understood musicology as part of a collective memory the relevance of which to today would always have to be verified anew. Schnebel also moved between philosophy and playful humour in the musical chamber theatre work Utopien which, despite all its ironic ease, is characterized by an almost confessional tone. Many things in this work can be explained with the life of a person who always lived transversely to their time, both as a member of the 1968 generation and at the same time as a committed Christian. In the work itself, he understood such utopias as musical abstractions which he did not depict as an artist; however, Schnebel himself never ceased to hold onto utopias which always meant hope to him.

The methods once developed – aleatorics, the experiment as principle, the use of spatial sound – survived until well into the late works. Major works like Ekstasis based on a multi-lingual text collage or the monumental Sinfonie X are the late essence of his oeuvre. Church music was of special concern to the trained theologian throughout his life. Musical art – to Schnebel, this always was an ethic concept, a possible connection between inner and outer world, individual and society – ultimately a universal idea of the possibilities of human existence, too. Most recently, he was in the process of writing a new orchestral work for the hr-Sinfonieorchester, and for the upcoming months several new works were scheduled to be premiered. In a phase of rich and blossoming creativity, Schnebel passed away after short illness on Sunday of Pentecost 2018.

photo: Astrid Kargεr

2017/08/21

Wilhelm Killmayer 1927–2017

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Wilhelm Killmayer, who died on 20 August 2017, only one day before his 90th birthday. With the composer, the music world has lost one of its greatest individualists. By studying the tradition he found his own contemporary unmistakable style. He created orchestral works and chamber music for concert halls and wrote compositions for the music theatre. Into old age, Killmayer gradually increased his comprehensive oeuvre of lied compositions. The fact that wit and parody have again found their way into contemporary art music, is, without doubt, one of his greatest merits.

Alfred Schnittke once said about Killmayer’s music that it was new music with old means. The cantabile character of Robert Schumann’s music was more convincing to him than the theoretical superstructure of the avant-garde following the Second Viennese School. Based on an emphatic fascination for the music of past epochs, Killmayer developed an individual style which was contemporary – not least due to his will to alienation. In Killmayer’s style, the unfamiliar and the familiar united to form something new. Some years later, many of his aesthetic views were grouped under the label of postmodernism, which gained him at least the recognition of critics and fellow composers that was refused to him in his early years.

Ever since the musical farce Yolimba performed in 1964 Killmayer had made a stand against the aesthetic movements of his time. For the libretto written by Tankred Dorst he created an imaginative work full of musical wit and parodic references which had no fear of contact with entertaining and utility music. Killmayer’s music theatre pieces were closer to both the buffooneries of Jacques Offenbach and Eric Satie’s Dadaism than to the theory-driven avant-garde of those years. For Killmayer, the rediscovery of the comical in music became a personal act of liberation which had a lasting influence even on subsequent generations of composers.

In his early works, Killmayer developed the ostinato as defining element of his compositional style. Constant repetitions of motivic phrases or rhythmic figurations carried the tension of the dramatic development. Later, Killmayer added another essential means of compositional technique: radical reduction. Orchestral pieces like Nachtgedanken (1973) or the three chamber music works (The woods so wilde, 1970; Schumann in Endenich, 1972 and Kindertage, 1973) reduce the music to its component parts. The musical flow occasionally comes to an almost complete standstill, with soundless and noiseless bar rests constituting the end of a musical decay. Silence and sound, tension and relaxation are the contrastive pairs of this consistent reduction of the stylistic means to the essential. Although the melody remained as a principle, tonality and harmony lost their traditional function due to the separation of the sounds.

For Killmayer, composing music always was a process connected with the experience of nature: ‘I walk through almost silent late autumn woods and I hear my heart beating, I hear the sounds of the slowly surrendering nature and the echo of a bird’s call in my mind. Deeper and deeper do I go into its heart, where terror and peace are close to each other, where the fear stands still.’ Once the compositional process has begun, it follows its natural laws. The sequence of tones develops out of its own self, does not follow any theoretical pattern. For Killmayer, the tones possess a kind of personality which, through the clashing of their individual characters, could create a dramatic action, even in an instrumental work. It is this childlike wonder about a single note, adopted from Schubert, Schumann and Mahler, that characterizes the melody in Killmayer’s works. “A single note is very precious to me – like a crystal or a flower.” The notes speak without using any language.

The natural carrier of the melody is the voice. Killmayer gave expression to this idea in numerous vocal compositions. In the 1980s he composed the cycles of Hölderlin lieder which exist in versions with both piano and orchestral accompaniment. Later, he added Trakl, Eichendorff and Heine cycles. Until the last years of his life, Killmayer dealt with the lied genre in a productive way. The vocal works seismographically reflect Killmayer’s unique musical aesthetics. Here, again, the tension between repetition and reduction is present. Occasionally, the composer cautiously felt his way along the texts. The art of the fragile was created, showing breaks instead of covering them. Even the witty and the ordinary can be found in his lieder.

Wilhelm Killmayer remained tied to his roots in the city of Munich all his life. Here, he attended school, studied with Hermann Wolfgang von Waltershausen, Rudolf von Ficker and Carl Orff. In 1973 he became professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik. Except for some stays in Rome, Paris and Frankfurt on the Main, he spent his entire life in the immediate vicinity of the Bavarian capital. As composition teacher, he influenced a whole generation of composers. Due to his mistrust of any authoritarian system, learning was, to him, always a kind of experiencing based on his unrestrained curiosity. His way of teaching was undogmatic, the central thread running through his composition classes was provided by the works of the great composers themselves which were examined in perspective. Tracking down and actively understanding the creative process at the core of the compositions were at the centre of attention. Every student had to take the matter of implementing the experienced for their own process into their own hands: ‘In the course of composing a piece, the tones eventually tell you where they want to go to… there is nothing you can do against it.’

Killmayer’s works live on, in every moment that they are played by a musician and listened to by a listener. ‘My music lives in the past and in the future, and perhaps that is why it is ever-present.’ It is vital to maintain this principle of Killmayer. Schott Music will always remember him and be grateful for many years of fruitful collaboration and friendship.

2016/12/16

Karel Husa (1921–2016)

Karel Husa, composer, dies at 95

According to a statement of his family, the Czech-American composer and conductor Karel Husa died at his home in Apex, NC, on 14 December 2016 at the age of 95.

The collaboration of Schott Music and Husa concentrated on his early compositions. Most of his works created before 1960 were published by Schott. But the close ties between Schott and Husa and the joint work on existing works well extended into the present.

Karel Husa was born in Prague on 7 August 1921. From 1941 to 1945 he studied composition and conducting at the Conservatoire of Prague and later at the Music Academy of Prague. From that period dates his first work Sona­tina which was published by Schott in 1943. In 1946 the French government awarded him a five-year scholarship which enabled him to continue his studies with Arthur Honegger and Nadia Bou­lan­ger in Paris.
In 1949, the new Communist regime in Prague declared his passport to be invalid. Upon invitation, he was able to leave for the USA in 1954 where he taught composition both at the Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity in New York and at the Ithaca Col­lege New York until 1992. It was particularly his work with student orchestras that demonstrated his major talent to compose profound music which can not only be performed by top ensembles.

For his compositional oeuvre Husa received worldwide recognition and numerous awards and prizes. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his String Quartet No. 3 and the Grawemeyer Award for his Cello Concerto. His Music for Pra­gue 1968 has become a standard work in the contemporary repertoire. In 1995 Husa was awarded the highest Order of Merit of the Czech Republic and in 1998 the Order of the City of Prague.