Author Topic: RIP composer Wilhelm Killmayer (1927 - 2017)  (Read 516 times)

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pjme

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RIP composer Wilhelm Killmayer (1927 - 2017)
« on: August 22, 2017, 12:31:27 AM »
German composer Wilhelm Killmayer was born in 1927 and grew up in Mitterndorf, near Dachau. After his father died in 1932, his family relocated to Munich, where he began to study piano a year later. Through his late teens and early twenties, Killmayer studied conducting and composition, passing the state examinations in both. From 1951 -- 1953, he privately studied composition with Carl Orff, later (1953 -- 1954) studying with him at the Munich Hochschule für Musik. Orff and Igor Stravinsky were the key influences on his early style. Killmayer was also studying musicology at Munich University during this period, and this had a major shaping influence on him, giving him an acute historical self-consciousness. In 1954, he won the Fromm Music Foundation prize in composition, an event that spurred him into devoting himself to composition. His career thereafter is marked with numerous awards and honors and he quickly achieved great success both as a performer and composer. From 1961 -- 1964, he was the musical director of the Bavarian State Opera. In the mid-'60s, he entered a period of personal crisis that led him to sever his ties with his personal and professional past. He moved to Frankfurt in 1968, where he composed film and theater music for a living. During the '60s, and '70s, he produced many quiet, dark, spare, and cryptic works. In 1973, he was appointed to a composition chair at the Munich Hochshule für Musik, a position he held until 1993. In 1992, he was made head of the music department of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts. The occasion of his 70th birthday was celebrated in Germany with many musical and critical publications in honor of his work. Killmayer's uniqueness comes not only from his ability to constantly re-imagine his music, but from his aggressive rejection of the modernist idea of the new music composer as "pioneer." From relatively early on, Killmayer's music instead engaged in anxious reflection upon and dissection of the musical past. Phantoms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries especially populate the music like a ghostly banquet; fragmented or multi-faceted allusions float by, often followed by shimmering moments of beautiful, unidentifiable strangeness. Whether in his early works or his very spare, lucid later works, Killmayer never quite lets the listener know where he stands, nor makes it very easy to imagine what will be heard next in his "garden of sounds."

Killmayer died on august 21st.

Source:http://www.allmusic.com/artist/wilhelm-killmayer-mn0002340842/biography



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« Last Edit: August 22, 2017, 12:38:49 AM by pjme »

Turner

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Re: RIP composer Wilhelm Killmayer (1927 - 2017)
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 08:56:03 AM »
Quite unknown outside Germany I think and not sufficiently recorded. But worth checking out.

pjme

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Re: RIP composer Wilhelm Killmayer (1927 - 2017)
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 01:22:16 PM »
Alex Ross' comment:

The Munich-based composer, who swam against the modernist tide of postwar music, has died at the age of eighty-nine. He received little notice outside Germany; I was touched to receive a note from him several years ago after I made a brief mention of his music. At the heart of his output are three remarkable symphonies, written in the years around 1970: "Fogli," "Ricordanze," and "Menschen-Los." Their spareness, their stillness, their extreme reticence, and their use of dissociated, free-floating tonal materials make them seem prophetic at times of compositions of the Wandelweiser school, although in the end Killmayer belongs to an Expressionist tradition, one that has been refined to the point of vanishing.

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Offline Scion7

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Re: RIP composer Wilhelm Killmayer (1927 - 2017)
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2017, 05:46:11 PM »
        chamber and solo instrumental
=====================================
 Ensemble: Kammermusik, jazz ens, 1957
 Balletto, rec ensemble, percussion, 1959
 3 danze, oboe, percussion, 1959
 Per nove strumenti, oboe, A-clarinet, bassoon, French-horn, string quartet, double-bass, 1968
 3 pezzi, trumpet, piano, 1968
 String Qtartet, 1969
 The woods so wilde (Kammermusik no.1), flute, viola, guitar, 3 percussion inst., 1970
 Schumann in Endenich (Kammermusik no.2), piano, elec organ/hmn, 5 percussion inst., 1972
 Kindertage (Kammermusik no.3), flute, violaa, guitar, elec organ, piano, accordian, zither, 5 perc, 1973
 Führe mich, Alter, nur immer in Deinen geschnörkelten Frühlings-Garten! Noch duftet und taut frisch und würzig sein Flor, 13 insts, 1974
 String Quartet [no.2], 1975
 Brahms-Bildnis, piano trio, 1976
 String Trio, 1984
 Humoreske, violin, piano, 1987
 5 Romanzen, violin, piano, 1987
 5 Romanzen, cello, piano, 1989
 8 Bagatellen, cello, piano, 1990–91
 Fantasie, violin, piano, 1992
 Die Schönheit des Morgens, 5 romances, viola, piano , 1994

      Piano Music
======================================
 Polka, 1955–6
 Canto melismatico, 1956–88
 An John Field, nocturnes, 1975
 Pardies, pf 3 hands/2 pf, 1972
 3 Klavierstücke, 1982
 5 neue Klavierstücke, 1986–8
 3 études blancs, 1990–91
 12 études transcendentales, 1991–2
 Rundgesänge und Morgenlieder, 1993

      orchestral music
===================================================
 6 leichte Stücke, str orch, 1952
 2 canti, 1957
 Divertissement, 1957
 Piano Concerto, 1 movt, 1957
 Pezzi ed intermezzi, cello, piano, orch, 1968
 Sym. no.1 ‘Fogli’, 1968
 Sym. no.2 ‘Ricordanze’, 14 insts, 1968–9
 Fin al punto, str orch, 1970
 Sym. no.3 ‘Menschen-Los’, 1972–3, rev. 1988
 Nachtgedanken, 1973
 The Broken Farewell, D-trumpet, small orch, 1977
 4 poèmes symphoniques, 1977–80: Jugendzeit, Verschüttete Zeichen, Überstehen und Hoffen, Im Freien
 Grande sarabande, string orch, 1980
 Zittern und Wagen, 1980
 Sostenuto, cello, string orch, 1984
 La joie de vivre, small orch, ob obbl, 1996
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 05:51:05 PM by Scion7 »
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Offline Scion7

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Re: RIP composer Wilhelm Killmayer (1927 - 2017)
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2017, 05:47:24 PM »
Gramophone's review of a chamber works release:

This is a disc for all who welcome the news that there can be more to post-modernism than antimodernist nostalgia for good tunes. Wilhelm Killmayer is a German composer in his early sixties, and his music is not a sincere imitation of romantic models, still less a parody or pastiche of them, but a playfully serious reinterpretation not excluding disjunctions extreme enough to recall the essence of modernism itself.
The amusing, disconcerting and often affecting results of this approach are clearest in the most recent work, Vanitas Vanitatum, where only one movement (No. 4) employs the less explicit stylistic associations of Killmayer's earlier pieces otherwise hints of Schumann and Brahms abound. All the music on the disc has a simplicity that has nothing of the minimal about it. The Trio, in particular, reveals the rewards of combining an anti-conservative with an anti-avant-garde approach, and one would have to be singularly stiff-necked not to want to hear what happens next.
Killmayer can swing from meditation to frantic action within the frame of the most basic harmonic progression, and because his music is so convincingly natural in atmosphere, techniques and materials which in other hands might seem crude and predictable serve their purpose well. It is all something of a conjuring trick, and perhaps no more central to the development of music than conjuring is to theatre. But in the Piano Quartet where Killmayer shows how to develop strong shapes from a potentially featureless texture, we are left in no doubt that solid technique and not mere trickery is involved. In all the works the modern perspective is the point—the sudden reminders that this is romanticism through post-romantic eyes.
The recordings are rather close, the piano sound on the harsh side, but the performances well convey the open expressiveness and emotional diversity of this fascinating music.'


from an Alex Ross piece in The New Yorker:

German music is not entirely a wasteland of modernist conceits. A few composers have escaped the cul-de-sac of theory and have written works of immediate sensual appeal. One is Wilhelm Killmayer, a seventy-five-year-old minor master whose music is almost entirely unknown in this country. Without resorting to pastiche, Killmayer has found a kind of secret doorway to the Romantic tradition of Schubert and Schumann; his “Heine-Lieder,” newly recorded on the CPO label, show an electric connection between word and music.

from Wilhelm Killmayer, Artist of the Air, by Sandeep Bhagwati:

He  distrusted  the  expressionist  and  scientist  grandiloquence  of  the  post‐WWII  avant-garde  as  much  as  he  had  as  a  child  already  mistrusted  the  grandiloquence  of  both  utopist  ideologies  of  the  20th  century1;  but  he  also  saw  no  merit  in  conformity,  in  conservative  concepts  of  beauty  and  harmony.  For  him,  both  are  obscurantist  approaches  to  art,  creating  smokescreens  of  tumult  and/or  unreal  harmony  without  listening  to  the  real  richness of sounds.
                                                       
1 He entered school in 1934 at the age of 7, and until 1945, when he was 18,
   he remained the only boy in his class never to join any Nazi youth organization or the Nazi regime's child soldier war units. 
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 06:04:41 PM by Scion7 »
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline Scion7

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Re: RIP composer Wilhelm Killmayer (1927 - 2017)
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2017, 06:04:11 PM »
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.