The Info List - Hans Werner Henze

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Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
(1 July 1926 – 27 October 2012) was a German composer. His large oeuvre of works is extremely varied in style, having been influenced by serialism, atonality, Stravinsky, Italian music, Arabic music
Arabic music
and jazz, as well as traditional schools of German composition. In particular, his stage works reflect "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life".[1] Henze was also known for his political convictions. He left Germany for Italy in 1953 because of a perceived intolerance towards his leftist politics and homosexuality. Late in life he lived in the village of Marino in the central Italian region of Lazio, and in his final years still travelled extensively, in particular to Britain and Germany, as part of his work. An avowed Marxist and member of the Communist Party of Italy, Henze produced compositions honoring Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara. At the 1968 Hamburg premiere of his requiem for Che Guevara, titled Das Floß der Medusa
Das Floß der Medusa
(The Raft of Medusa), the placing of a red flag on the stage sparked a riot and the arrest of several people, including the librettist. Henze spent a year from 1969 to 1970 teaching in Cuba.


1 Life and works

1.1 Early years 1.2 Move to Italy 1.3 An established composer

2 Works 3 Awards 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Life and works[edit] Early years[edit] Henze was born in Gütersloh, Westphalia, the eldest of six children of a teacher, and showed early interest in art and music. That and his political views led to conflict with his conservative father. Henze's father, Franz, had served in the First World War
First World War
and was wounded at Verdun. He worked as a teacher in a school at Bielefeld, formed on progressive lines, but it was closed in 1933 by government order because its progressive style was out of step with official views. Franz Henze then moved to Dünne, a small village near Bünde, where he fell under the spell of Nazi propaganda. Books by Jewish and Christian authors were replaced in the Henze household by literature reflecting Nazi views; the whole family was expected to fall into line with Franz's new thinking. The older boys, including Hans, were enrolled in the Hitler Youth. Although the Henze household was filled with talk of current affairs, Hans was also able to hear broadcasts of classical music (especially Mozart) and eventually his father realized that his son had a vocation as a musician. Henze began studies at the state music school of Braunschweig
in 1942, where he studied piano, percussion, and theory. Franz Henze rejoined the army in 1943 and he was sent to the Eastern front, where he died. Henze had to break off his studies after being conscripted into the army in 1944, towards the end of the Second World War. He was trained as a radio officer. He was soon captured by the British and held in a prisoner-of-war camp for the remainder of the war. In 1945 he became an accompanist in the Bielefeld
City Theatre, and continued his studies under Wolfgang Fortner at Heidelberg University in 1946. Henze had some successful performances at Darmstadt, including an immediate success in 1946 with a neo-baroque work for piano, flute and strings, that brought him to the attention of Schott's, the music publishers. He also took part in the famous Darmstadt
New Music Summer School, a key vehicle for the propagation of avant-garde techniques. At the 1947 summer school, Henze turned to serial technique. In his early years he worked with twelve-tone technique, for example in his First Symphony and Violin Concerto of 1947. Sadler's Wells Ballet
visited Hamburg in 1948; this inspired Henze to write a choreographic poem, Ballett-Variationen, which he completed in 1949. The first ballet he saw was Frederick Ashton's Scènes de Ballet. He wrote a letter of appreciation to Ashton, introducing himself as a 22-year-old composer. The next time he wrote to Ashton he enclosed the score of his Ballett-Variationen, which he hoped Ashton might find of interest. This work was first performed in Düsseldorf
in September 1949 and staged for the first time in Wuppertal in 1958. In 1948 he became musical assistant at the Deutscher Theater in Konstanz, where his first opera Das Wundertheater (de), based on the work of Cervantes, was created. In 1950 he became ballet conductor at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden
in Wiesbaden, where he composed two operas for radio, his First Piano Concerto, as well as his first stage work of real note, the jazz-influenced opera Boulevard Solitude, a modern recasting of the traditional Manon Lescaut
Manon Lescaut
story. Move to Italy[edit] Henze left Germany in 1953, in reaction against homophobia and the country's general political climate. His publisher, Schott's, had in addition also offered Henze an advance on royalties, on condition that he leave his conducting posts to focus on composition.[2] This financial incentive allowed Henze to move to Italy, where he remained for most of his life. He settled on the island of Ischia
in the Gulf of Naples. Also resident on the island were the composer William Walton and his wife Susana, who took a great interest in the young German composer. Henze's Quattro poemi for orchestra in 1955 made clear that he had moved far from the principles of the Darmstadt avant-garde. In January 1956 he left Ischia
and moved to the mainland to live in Naples. Initially he suffered further disappointment, with controversial premieres of the opera König Hirsch, based on a text by Carlo Gozzi, and the ballet Maratona di danza, with a libretto by Luchino Visconti. However, he then began a long-lasting and fruitful creative partnership with the poet Ingeborg Bachmann. Working with her as librettist, he composed the operas Der Prinz von Homburg (1958) based on a text by Heinrich von Kleist
Heinrich von Kleist
and Der junge Lord
Der junge Lord
(1964) after Wilhelm Hauff, as well as Serenades and Arias (1957) and his Choral Fantasy (1964). He composed his Five Neapolitan Songs for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau soon after his arrival in Naples. A later sojourn in Greece provided the opportunity to complete his Hölderlin-based work Kammermusik 1958, dedicated to Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
and premiered by the tenor Peter Pears, the guitarist Julian Bream
Julian Bream
and an eight-member chamber ensemble.[3][4] Henze moved in 1961 to a secluded villa, 'La Leprara', on the hills of Marino, overlooking the River Tiber south of Rome. This time also signalled a strong leaning towards music involving the voice. From 1962 until 1967, Henze taught masterclasses in composition at the Mozarteum
in Salzburg, and in 1967 he became a visiting Professor at Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College
in New Hampshire. One of his greatest successes was the premiere of the opera Die Bassariden at the Salzburg
Festival. In the following period, he greatly strengthened his political involvement which also influenced his musical work. For example, the première of his oratorio Das Floß der Medusa
Das Floß der Medusa
in Hamburg failed when his West Berlin
West Berlin
collaborators refused to perform under a portrait of Che Guevara
Che Guevara
and a revolutionary flag had been placed upon the stage.[5] His politics also influenced his Sixth Symphony (1969), Second Violin Concerto (1971), Voices (1973), and his piece for spoken word and chamber orchestra, El Cimarrón, based on a book by Cuban author Miguel Barnet about escaped black slaves during Cuba's colonial period. An established composer[edit] His political critique reached its high point in 1976 with the premiere of his opera We Come to the River. In the same year Henze founded the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte in Montepulciano
for the promotion of new music, where his children's opera Pollicino premiered in 1980. From 1980 until 1991 he led a class in composition in the Cologne
Music School. In 1981 he founded the Mürztal Workshops in the Austrian region of Styria, the same region where he set up the Deutschlandsberg
Youth Music Festival in 1984. In 1988 he founded the Munich Biennale, an "international festival for new music theatre", of which he was the artistic director. His own operas became more conventional once more, for example The English Cat (1983), and Das verratene Meer
Das verratene Meer
(1990), based on Yukio Mishima's novel Gogo no Eiko, known in English as The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea. His later works, while less controversial, continued his political and social engagement. His Requiem
(1990–93) comprised nine 'sacred concertos' for piano, trumpet and chamber orchestra, and was written in memory of Michael Vyner, the artistic director of the London Sinfonietta. The choral Ninth Symphony (1997), – "dedicated to the heroes and martyrs of German anti-fascism" – to a libretto by Hans-Ulrich Treichel
Hans-Ulrich Treichel
based on motifs from the novel The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers
Anna Seghers
is a defiant rejection of Nazi barbarism, with which Henze himself lived as a child and teenager. His last success was the 2003 premiere of the opera L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe (English: The Hoopoe and the Triumph of Filial Love) at the Salzburg Festival, with a text he wrote himself, based on a Syrian fairy tale. Other late compositions include Sebastian im Traum (2004) for large orchestra and the opera Phaedra (2007). Henze lived with his partner Fausto Moroni from the early sixties, and Moroni planned and planted the hillside garden around La Leprara. Moroni cared for the composer when he suffered a spectacular emotional collapse during which he barely spoke and had to be encouraged to eat, living as though in a coma. In 2007, shortly after Henze's sudden recovery, Moroni died after a lengthy battle with cancer. Elogium Musicum (2008), for large orchestra and chorus singing Henze's own Latin text, is a memorial to his partner of more than forty years. In 1995 Henze received the Westphalian Music Prize, which has carried his name since 2001. Invited by Walter Fink, he was the tenth composer featured in the annual Komponistenporträt of the Rheingau Musik Festival in 2000, but owing to illness he did not attend. The music included his Requiem. On 7 November 2004, Henze received an honorary doctorate in Musicology from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München (University for Music and Performing Arts, Munich). In 1975 he became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, London.[6] The English version of his autobiography, Bohemian Fifths, was published in 1998.[7] Henze died in Dresden
on 27 October 2012 at the age of 86.[8] Works[edit] See also: List of compositions by Hans Werner Henze Henze's music has incorporated neoclassicism, jazz, the twelve-tone technique, serialism, and some rock or popular music. Although he did study atonalism early in his career, after his move to Italy in 1953, Henze's music became considerably more Neapolitan in style. His opera König Hirsch
König Hirsch
("The Stag King") contains lush, rich textures. This trend is carried further in the opulent ballet music that he wrote for English choreographer Frederick Ashton's Ondine, completed in 1957. While Mendelssohn and Weber were important influences, the music for Ondine contains some jazz and there is much in it redolent of Stravinsky—not only Stravinsky the neo-classical composer, but also the composer of The Rite of Spring. His Maratona di danza, on the other hand, required much tighter integration of jazz elements, complete with an on-stage band, which was very different from the more romantic Ondine. Henze received much of the impetus for his ballet music from his earlier job as ballet adviser at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden. The textures for the cantata Kammermusik (1958, rev. 1963) are far harsher; Henze returned to atonalism in Antifone, and later the other styles mentioned above again became important in his music. Awards[edit]

Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
(1990) Praemium Imperiale
Praemium Imperiale
(2000) Deutscher Tanzpreis (2001)


^ Rickards, Guy (1995). Hindemith, Hartmann and Henze. Phaidon Press. p. 198. ISBN 0-7148-3174-3.  ^ Guy Rickards (2012-10-27). " Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-02-03.  ^ "Kammermusik 1958". Schott Musik. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2013.  ^ "Henze: Kammermusik 1958; Apollo et Hyacinthus; Canzona – review". The Guardian. November 1, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2013.  ^ Ernst Schnabel, "Zum Untergang einer Uraufführung" and "Postscriptum nach dreiunddreissig Tagen", in Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
and Ernst Schnabel, Das Floss der Medusa: Text zum Oratorium, 47–61 & 65–79 (Munich: Piper-Verlag, 1969); Andrew Porter, "Henze: The Raft of the Frigate 'Medusa' – Oratorio" [record review of DGG 139428-9], Gramophone 47, no. 563 (April 1970): 1625; "Affären/Henze: Sie bleibt", Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
22, no. 51 (16 December 1968): 152. (in German) ^ "Honorary Members of the Royal Academy of Music". Royal Academy of Music. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009.  ^ "Hans Werner Henze". Telegraph. 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2015-02-03.  ^ "Famed German composer Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
dies". BBC News. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

Bokina, John. 1997. Opera
and Politics: From Monteverdi to Henze. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-06935-9. Henze, Hans Werner. 1984. Musik und Politik. Schriften und Gespräche [Music and Politics: Collected Writings] Ed. by Jens Brockmeier. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, ISBN 3-423-10305-1 (1st Edition 1976, ISBN 3-423-01162-9). English translation of 1st German edition by Peter Labanyi: UK 1982 (Faber & Faber, ISBN 0-8014-1545-4) and US 1982 (Cornell University Press, ISBN 0-571-11719-8). Henze, Hans Werner. 1998. Bohemian Fifths: An Autobiography. Translated by Stewart Spencer. London: Faber & Faber. ISBN 0-571-17815-4 [Translation of Reiselieder mit böhmischen Quinten: Autobiographische Mitteilungen 1926–1995. Frankfurt: S. Fischer, 1996. ISBN 3-10-032605-9]. Kennedy, Michael. 2006. The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 2nd edition, revised. Associate editor, Joyce Bourne. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-861459-4. Palmer-Füchsel, Virginia. 2001. "Henze, Hans Werner". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.

External links[edit]

Literature by and about Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
in the German National Library catalogue Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
on IMDb Schott Music: Hans Werner Henze Schirmer: Hans Werner Henze Chester-Novello: Hans Werner Henze Sequenza21: Hans Werner Henze 'Henze at 80' – BBC website including recorded interview extracts Listen to Henze's "The Electric Cop" at Acousmata music blog There is a wide range of Henze clips on YouTube Project "eSACHERe" "Partitur einer Freundschaft – Ingeborg Bachmann/Hans Werner Henze" (2006) Intervista a Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
/ a cura di Antonella Calzolari e Velio Carratoni 13 June 2007 – Video with an interview in Italian, by Antonella Calzolari and Velio Carratoni (it) (Fondazione Marino Piazzolla (it)) and transcription published in the magazine Fermenti (it) n.232 (2008) " Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
biography" (in French). IRCAM.  Interview with Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
by Bruce Duffie, November 27, 1981 (mostly about his operas)

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Hans Werner Henze


Boulevard Solitude
Boulevard Solitude
(1951) König Hirsch
König Hirsch
(1955) Der Prinz von Homburg (1958) Elegy for Young Lovers
Elegy for Young Lovers
(Elegie für junge Liebende) (1961) The Bassarids
The Bassarids
(Die Bassariden) (1965) Der junge Lord
Der junge Lord
(1964) El Cimarrón (1971) Der langwierige Weg in die Wohnung der Natascha Ungeheuer
Der langwierige Weg in die Wohnung der Natascha Ungeheuer
(1971) We Come to the River
We Come to the River
(1976) The English Cat
The English Cat
(1983) Das verratene Meer
Das verratene Meer
(1989) Venus und Adonis
Venus und Adonis
(1995) L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe
L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe
(2003) Phaedra (2007) Gisela!


Ondine (1957)


No. 1 (Kammerkonzert 05) No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 No. 5 No. 6 No. 7 No. 8 No. 9 No. 10

Film scores

Muriel ou le Temps d'un retour Young Törless The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum

Other compositions

Sonata per archi (1958) Doppio Concerto (1966) Fantasia for Strings (1966) Das Floß der Medusa
Das Floß der Medusa
(1968) Compases para preguntas ensimismadas (1970) Heliogabalus imperator (1972/86) Tristan (1973) Voices (1973) Royal Winter Music (1976) Five Scenes from the Snow Country (1978) Royal Winter Music (1979) Requiem: 9 geistliche Konzerte (1993) Sebastian im Traum (2004)

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List of compositions by Hans Werner Henze
List of compositions by Hans Werner Henze
Category:Compositions by Hans Werner Henze

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Ernst von Siemens Music Prize

Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
(1974) Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen
(1975) Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Rostropovich
(1976) Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan
(1977) Rudolf Serkin
Rudolf Serkin
(1978) Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez
(1979) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
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(1980) Elliott Carter
Elliott Carter
(1981) Gidon Kremer
Gidon Kremer
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(1984) Andrés Segovia
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(1986) Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
(1987) Peter Schreier
Peter Schreier
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Luciano Berio
(1989) Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
(1990) Heinz Holliger (1991) H. C. Robbins Landon
H. C. Robbins Landon
(1992) György Ligeti
György Ligeti
(1993) Claudio Abbado
Claudio Abbado
(1994) Harrison Birtwistle
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(1995) Maurizio Pollini
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György Kurtág
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Mauricio Kagel
(2000) Reinhold Brinkmann (2001) Nikolaus Harnoncourt
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(2002) Alfred Brendel
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(2004) Henri Dutilleux
Henri Dutilleux
(2004) Daniel Barenboim
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(2005) Brian Ferneyhough (2007) Anne-Sophie Mutter
Anne-Sophie Mutter
(2008) Klaus Huber
Klaus Huber
(2009) Michael Gielen (2010) Aribert Reimann
Aribert Reimann
(2011) Friedrich Cerha
Friedrich Cerha
(2012) Mariss Jansons
Mariss Jansons
(2013) Peter Gülke (2014) Christoph Eschenbach
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Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 97898884 LCCN: n79068363 ISNI: 0000 0001 1031 5776 GND: 118549383 SELIBR: 60453 SUDOC: 030262747 BNF: cb138951516 (data) MusicBrainz: 6c3f5aaf-bd58-49ff-8160-26af9d777f54 NDL: 00443093 BNE: XX855922 SNAC: w62j6d06

Classical music p