Program Notes

November 18th, 2016
American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Allison Voth, director

Entartete Musik

Kurt Weill, arr. John Greer: "Berlin im licht"
Arnold Schoenberg: "Wanderlied Capriccio"
Schoenberg: "Am strand"
Weill: "Großer Dankchoral: Lobet die Nacht" from Das Berliner Requiem
Berthold Goldschmidt: "Nebelweben" & "Ein Rosenzweig" from Zwei Lieder, op. 27
Alexander Zemlinsky: "Liebe Schwalbe", "Blaues Sternlein", & "Fensterlein, nachts bist du zu"
Zemlinsky: "Der Wind des Herbste" & "Afrikanische Tanz"
Hanns Eisler: "Philantropich", "Die Zwei Trichter", & "Die Zwei Wurzeln" from Galgenlieder
Erich Korngold: "Come away, death", "Adieu good man devil", & "For the rain it raineth every day" from Songs of the Clown, op. 29
Egon Wellesz: "Blütenschnee", "Leichtes Spiel", & "Blüten" from Kirschblütenlieder, op. 8
Paul Hindemith: 3 Hymnen, op. 14
Ernst Krenek: "O Tranenvolle" from O Lacrimosa, op. 48a
Hans Gál: "Drei Prinzessinnen", "Der Wiesenbach", & "Abend auf dem Fluss"
Franz Schreker: "Und wie mag die Liebe" & "Das feurige Männlein"
Weill: "Cäsars Tod" from Der Silbersee
Krenek: "Die Saiten weiss ich zu rühren " from Fiedellieder, op. 64
Wilhelm Grosz: "Bänkel vom Klatsch" from Bänkel und Balladen
Schoenberg: "Mahnung" from Brettl Lieder
Krenek: "Wiederum lebt wohl" from Fiedellieder, op. 64
Grosz: "Die Ballade von Sammy Lee" from Bänkel und Balladen
Krenek: "Nun ein Scherflein in der Runde" from Fiedellieder, op. 64
Eisler: "Ballade von de Krüppelgarde" from Balladenbuch, op. 18
Weill, arr. Greer: "Youkali" from Marie Galante

Weill (1900-1959): “Berlin im licht”
German Jewish composer

Weill was a leading composer in avant-garde theatre during the Weimar Republic, and was particularly known for his collaborations with playwright Bertolt Brecht. Weill left Germany in 1933, and spent a year in France before immigrating to America in 1935. In America, Weill composed for Broadway, although his English-language theatre works never gained the recognition of his compositions. Although Weill never taught composition, his impact on the next generation of composers was profound.

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951): “Wanderlied Capriccio”
Austrian Jewish composer, music theorist, teacher, and painter

Schoenberg led the German Expressionist movement and the Second Viennese School of composition (he developed the 12-tone system, also known as musical serialism). Schoenberg fled to France in May of 1933, and ultimately immigrated to the United States, where he accepted a teaching position at the University of California. He mentored countless young composers until his death at the age of 77.

Berthold Goldschmidt (1903-1996): Zwei Lieder
German Jewish composer and conductor

Goldschmidt studied composition with Franz Schreker, and conducting with Rudolf Krasselt and Julius Prüwer. While in Germany, he was Erich Kleiber’s assistant conductor at the Berlin State Opera during the premiere of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck. Goldschmidt’s compositional style throughout much of his career was shunned due to its insistent lyricism during a time when 12-tone serialism was in vogue. He immigrated to London in 1935 and had a long and successful career as a conductor and composer there, including working at the BBC and conducting the London Symphony Orchestra at the 1964 Proms.

Alexander Zemlinsky (1871-1942): Liebe Schwalbe
Austrian composer, conductor and teacher

Zemlinsky’s father was Jewish, his mother Muslim, but he was raised as a Catholic. He taught Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Korngold and Hans Krása, among others. Unlike Schoenberg, who converted to Catholicism and then returned to his Jewish roots, Zemlinsky remained devoted to the Christian church. His music was closely linked to the Second Viennese School, although his compositional style was less radical, and his works more emotionally charged, harkening the Romantic style. He ultimately rejected the 12-tone system, and subsequently became estranged from Schoenberg. A respected conductor, he was less bombastic than his contemporaries, and as a result, less celebrated. He was forced to leave Germany for Austria in 1933, and then immigrated to America in 1938 after the Anschluss. He struggled with his career in America and died suddenly of a stroke in the fall of 1939.

Hanns Eisler (1889-1962): Galgenlieder
German composer, and student of Schoenberg and Anton Webern

Eisler’s Marxist and Communist beliefs played a large role in his compositions. Early in his career, he rejected the current state of modern music, which led to a deep rift between Eisler and his teacher Schoenberg. In the 1930’s Eisler began a life-long collaboration with Bertholt Brecht. Eisler was a versatile composer who composed everything from film music, to masses, to theatre music. He ultimately developed his own compositional aesthetic, one that favored simple accompaniments set to predominantly socially-oriented texts intended to be performed with no emotion. He was forced to leave Germany in 1933 due to his involvement with the German Worker’s Union. After traveling the world for several years writing film music, in 1942 he moved to Hollywood and taught at the University of Southern California. In 1947, Eisler was called before the Committee on Un-American Activities, which sparked a worldwide outcry by many leading artists. Eisler was deported in 1948, and returned to Germany, where he spent the rest of his life composing and teaching at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik.

Erich Korngold (1897-1957): Songs of the Clown, op. 29
Austrian composer

Gustav Mahler recognized Korngold’s talent upon hearing an early composition, and introduced him to Alexander Zemlinsky, who agreed to teach him. In 1928, Korngold and Schoenberg were considered the two greatest contemporary Austrian composers. In 1934, Max Reinhart invited him to Hollywood to adapt Mendelssohn’s incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a film score. Korngold remained in the United States for the rest of his life. A versatile composer known mostly for his film scores, he also wrote chamber works, symphonies, concerti and the well-known opera Die Tode Stadt.

Egon Wellesz (1885-1974): Kirschblütenlieder, op. 8
Austrian composer, conductor, Byzantine scholar, and teacher

Wellesz was of Jewish ancestry, raised a Protestant, and eventually converted to Catholicism. He studied with Schoenberg as well as with Guido Adler, a pioneering founder in the field of musicology. He left Austria for England after the Anschluss in 1938, where he thrived as a composer, and was particularly recognized for his contributions in Byzantine scholarship.

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963): 3 Hymnen, op. 14
German composer, theorist, teacher, violist and conductor

Hindemith and Schoenberg are considered to be the most influential composers and composition teachers of the 20th century. A prolific composer and author of many books on harmony and compositional craft, Hindemith was a deep thinker and a free spirit unwilling to confine himself to rigid forms or trends. This lead to a rift between Hindemith and his fellow artists Eisler, Weill, and Brecht when he refused to perform a work by Eisler that he considered too narrow in its political message. In 1938, Hindemith’s music was included in the Entartete Music Exhibition in Düsseldorf. He immediately moved to Switzerland, and in 1940 immigrated to America, where he spent most of his career teaching at Yale University. Notable students include Yehudi Wyner, Harold Shapero, and Lukas Foss. After being forced to leave Germany, he wrote: “I always see myself as the mouse who recklessly danced in front of the trap and even ventured inside; quite by chance, when it happened to be outside, the trap closed.”

Ernst Krenek (1900-1991): O Lacrimosa, op. 48a
Austrian composer

Krenek studied with Franz Schreker in Vienna and Berlin. In addition to Schreker, Béla Bartók and Mahler were great influences in his music. Krenek was a prolific composer who experimented with musical styles including jazz, electronic music, and aleatory techniques. Krenek came to America in 1938 after the Anschluss and eventually resided in California. He is most well-known for his opera Johnny spielt auf, which the Nazi’s claimed was the embodiment of entartete music. Like Hindemith, Krenek published several books on counterpoint and music in general.

Hans Gàl (1890-1987): Drei Prinzessinnen
Austrian composer and musicologist

Like Egon Wellesz, he studied with musicologist Guido Adler. In 1933, Gàl was abruptly dismissed as director of the Mainz Conservatory, and all publications of his work were banned. He fled to England in 1938 after the Anschluss. In 1939, he was invited to Scotland by his friend and colleague Donald Tovey, a British composer and musicologist, where he founded the Edinburgh International Festival. Gàl remained active as a composer, but never regained the recognition that he previously held in Germany.

Wilhelm Grosz (1894-1939): Bänkel und Balladen
Austrian Jewish composer, pianist and conductor

Grosz studied with operetta composer Richard Heuberger, and musicologists Guido Adler and Franz Schreker. His compositional style had late-Romantic, Impressionist sensibilities, however he was one of the first composers to incorporate jazz idioms into his music. A leading figure in Weimar Germany, Grosz was the artistic director of the new Ultraphone record company, where he took on the roles of conductor, pianist and arranger. He moved to England in 1933, but was unable to draw favor for his serious music in London. Grosz adapted his compositional talents to Londons’ Tin Pan Alley, writing many popular songs including: Isle of Caprì, Red Sails in the Sunset, and Harbor Lights. In 1939, Korngold convinced him to travel to America to write film music. He decided to remain there due to the outbreak of the war, but sadly, died of a sudden heart attack in December 1939.