Author Topic: Paul Graener (1872-1944)  (Read 2462 times)

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kyjo

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Paul Graener (1872-1944)
« on: November 01, 2013, 11:22:26 AM »
CPO has just released Graener's Symphony in D minor Schmied Schmerz (which I have been longing to hear) as well as his orchestral suite Aus dem Reiche des Pan:



Here's the mouthwatering description from the CPO webpage:

»Pain is a smith; his hammer beats hard.« The poem »Schmied Schmerz« by Otto Julius Bierbaum begins with these words cited by Paul Graener in 1911 as the motto heading his Symphony in D minor. The symphony numbers among the works composed by Graener in memory of his first son, who had died in London at the age of eight. It is an impressive work, full of tragic vehemence and grandeur free of triumphalism. Our third Graener release once again demonstrates that his music more than merits rediscovery. It is anything but martial and nationalistic. Graener was one of the very last romanticists and strongly inclined to French impressionism. The latter trait manifests itself in Aus dem Reiche des Pan, a wonderful suite displaying a shimmering and shadowy atmospheric magic placing it in close association with Debussy’s L’après-midi d’un faune.

I have in my collection the first volume in CPO's series as well as a Sterling disc of Graener's orchestral music, both of which I enjoyed a lot. Colorful, tuneful music, if a little lacking in substance, I thought. But this new release contains more substantial works than which were previously recorded, and I greatly look forward to it! I hope CPO has Graener's concertos for piano and cello in the pipeline......

Graener was, sadly, a Nazi sympathizer and I fully realize that many will feel uncomfortable listening to his music and that's perfectly fine. I, for one, am not deterred from listening to his music because of this. :)

kyjo

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Re: Paul Graener (1872-1944)
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 11:26:29 AM »
I'll repost my list of Graener's compositions (excluding non-orchestral vocal music) from the Art-Music Forum:

 Operatic Compositions:

1891: Operetta Backfische auf Reisen in one act
1899: Singspiel The Faithful Sentry in one act, op. 1
1912: Singkomedie Das Nerringericht in two acts, op. 38
1914: Opera Don Juans letztes Abenteuer in three acts, op. 42
1918: Opera Theophano  in three acts, op. 48
1920: Opera Schirin und Gertraude in four acts, op. 51
1927: Opera Hanneles Himmelfahrt in two acts
1931: Opera Friedemann Bach in three acts, op. 90
1934: Opera Der Prinz von Homburg in four acts, op. 100
1940?: Singspiel Irene. Ein Spiel auf Capri in a prologue and three acts
1941: Opera Schwanhild in three acts
         Opera Odysseus' Heimkehr (fragment)

Orchestral Compositions:

1905: Minuetto-Gavotte and Pastorale for orchestra, op. 9 (also for piano)
         Au printemps-Chant du soir-En route and Alla marcia for string orchestra, op. 10 (also for piano)
1910: Sinfonietta for string orchestra and harp, op. 27
1912: Symphony in D minor Schmied Scherz, op. 39 (Cpo CD)
1915: Wiebke Pogwisch (Battle of Hamme 1404) for voices and orchestra, op. 24
         Musik am Abend for orchestra, op. 44: 14 minutes (Cpo CD)
1920: Suite Aus dem Reiche des Pan for large orchestra, op. 22 (Cpo CD) (also for piano)
1922: Variationen uber ein russisches Volkslied for orchestra, op. 55: 24 minutes (Cpo CD)
1923: Romantische Phantasie for orchestra, op. 41
        Waldmusik for orchestra, op. 60
1924: Divertimento in D major for orchestra, op. 67
1925: Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 72
1926: Overture Iuventus academica, op. 73
1927: Gotische Suite for orchestra, op. 74
         Concerto for cello and chamber orchestra in A minor, op. 78
1928: Comedietta for orchestra, op. 82: 9 minutes (Cpo CD)
1930: Suite Der Flote von Sanssouci for flute and chamber orchestra, op. 88: 16 minutes (Sterling and Dell'Arte CDs)
1932: Hymn Der Retter ist nicht weit for male chorus, winds, timpani and piano, op. 95
         Sinfonia breve, op. 96: 18 minutes (Cpo CD)
         Three Swedish Dances for orchestra, op. 98
1933: Marien-Kantate for soloists, chorus and orchestra, op. 99
1937: Serenade pittoresque for string orchestra
1938: Violin Concerto in D major, op. 104: 25 minutes
         Feierliche Stunde for orchestra, op. 106
         Turmwachterlied (Variations on the Song of the Lynceus from Goethe's Faust II) for orchestra, op. 107: 16 minutes (Sterling CD)
1939: Variations Prinz Eugen, der edle Ritter for orchestra, op. 108
1942: Weiner Symphonie, op. 110: 24 minutes (Sterling CD)
1943: Salzburger Serenaden for orchestra, op. 115
1943 or 44: Flute Concerto, op. 116: 15 minutes (Sterling CD)

Chamber Compositions:

1903: Petite Suite Italienne for violin and piano
1905: Suite for piano trio, op. 19: 8 minutes (Cpo CD)
1906: Kammermusikdichtung for piano trio, op. 20: 21 minutes (Cpo CD)
1910: Quartett uber ein schwedisches Volkslied (String Quartet no. 1), op. 33
1920: String Quartet no. 2, op. 54
1921: Violin Sonata, op. 56
1923: Piano Trio Trio atonal, op. 61: 20 minutes (Cpo CD)
1924: Suite for flute and piano in A major, op. 63 (Harmonie CD)
         String Quartet no. 3 in A minor, op. 65
         Suite for cello and piano in C minor, op. 66
1928: String Quartet no. 4, op. 80
1935: Cello Sonata, op. 101
Earsense.org offers a very different chamber worklist for Graener: http://www.earsense.org/chamberbase/works/?composerName=graener&ensemble=0&opustitle=&keysig=0  :-\

Piano Compositions:

1905: Minuetto-Gavotte and Pastorale for piano, op. 9 (also for orchestra)
         Au printemps-Chant du soir-En route and Alla marcia for piano, op. 10 (also for string orchestra)
1912: Three Impressionen for piano
1920: Suite Aus dem Reiche des Pan for piano, op. 22 (also for orchestra)
1922: Three Pieces Wilhelm-Raabe-Musik for piano, op. 58
         Romance Einsame Feldwacht for piano, op. 59
1927: Two Intermezzos for piano, op. 77
1932: Drei Klavierstucke for piano

 

 

Offline amw

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Re: Paul Graener (1872-1944)
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 04:06:30 PM »
Graener of course did not live long enough to be "denazified" which accounts to some degree for his present obscurity. Quite a significant number of musicians, artists, writers, etc joined various Nazi organisations during that era, but to what extent they actually sympathized with the Nazi regime and its ideals instead of simply seizing political and professional opportunities is debatable.

I have heard some of Graener's music and would agree with your assessment (enjoyable but not very substantial). However I do have scores of two of his chamber works, the Violin Sonata Op. 56 and the Piano Trio Op. 61, which seem to be works of rather greater significance, both cast in a quasi-improvisatory and freely chromatic style somewhat reminiscent of Strauss, Schoeck or perhaps early Myaskovsky. Graener's weaknesses in these more substantial works seem to be a tendency to meander somewhat and a difficulty coming up with ideas that are especially distinctive or memorable, and I suspect his Symphony may present similar problems; nonetheless, they would seem to merit at least occasional revival. I don't know if either one has been recorded, I think the Trio may be on a CPO disc but haven't heard it.

kyjo

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Re: Paul Graener (1872-1944)
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 04:32:30 PM »
A website dedicated to Graener (http://www.paul-graener.de/en/welcome.html) provides this information in their bio of the composer:

In the early 1930s Graener joined the NSDAP and worked with different national socialist organizations, e. g. as successor of Wilhelm Furtwängler as vice president of the "Reichsmusikkammer". For unsettled reasons Graener abdicated in 1941. The question whether Graener´s partially demonstrable commitment for Jewish composers and publishers has played a role in this regard is still subject of further analysis. During the second world war Graener lived in Berlin until his flat was destroyed by air bombings. The composer and his family took refuge first in Wiesbaden, Munich and Metz, later in Wien and finally in Salzburg where Graener died on November 13th, 1944 at the age of 72.

Like you say, many artists joined the Nazi party just to hold onto their jobs. Judging from what I've read, Graener was nowhere near an evil man and I'm sure he wouldn't have approved of the terrible persecution of the Jews (which, of course, Hitler kept very well secret).

Interesting to hear your comments about his music. Yes, I have the CPO disc with his piano trios, which are rather substantial works that employ a somewhat more advanced and chromatic harmonic language than the orchestral works I've heard. Also included on that disc is the song-cycle Theodor Sturm-Musik, written for the unique combination of baritone and piano trio.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Paul Graener (1872-1944)
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2013, 03:59:39 AM »
A website dedicated to Graener (http://www.paul-graener.de/en/welcome.html) provides this information in their bio of the composer:

In the early 1930s Graener joined the NSDAP and worked with different national socialist organizations, e. g. as successor of Wilhelm Furtwängler as vice president of the "Reichsmusikkammer". For unsettled reasons Graener abdicated in 1941. The question whether Graener´s partially demonstrable commitment for Jewish composers and publishers has played a role in this regard is still subject of further analysis. During the second world war Graener lived in Berlin until his flat was destroyed by air bombings. The composer and his family took refuge first in Wiesbaden, Munich and Metz, later in Wien and finally in Salzburg where Graener died on November 13th, 1944 at the age of 72.

Like you say, many artists joined the Nazi party just to hold onto their jobs. Judging from what I've read, Graener was nowhere near an evil man and I'm sure he wouldn't have approved of the terrible persecution of the Jews (which, of course, Hitler kept very well secret).

Interesting to hear your comments about his music. Yes, I have the CPO disc with his piano trios, which are rather substantial works that employ a somewhat more advanced and chromatic harmonic language than the orchestral works I've heard. Also included on that disc is the song-cycle Theodor Sturm-Musik, written for the unique combination of baritone and piano trio.

Interesting points here. Perhaps we should not consider a composer's political affiliations when listening to the music. Personally I have a problem with this but maybe because of my Jewish background. I have never liked the fact, for example, that Atterberg's 7th Symphony was premiered in Frankfurt in 1942/43 and I know that Atterberg's music was very popular in Nazi Germany. But, I love his music and I gather that Sibelius's music was also played a lot in the Third Reich, but this has never been a problem for me in either appreciating his music or admiring the man himself. I could however do without the annual TV showing of the 'New Year's Day Concert from Vienna' which was an invention of the Nazis! The Graener Symphony does sound worth exploring.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Scion7

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Re: Paul Graener (1872-1944)
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2017, 02:24:03 AM »
Graener joined the party in 1933 - hardly at a time when he would have feared for his career - and according to the enty in The New Grove, remained loyal to the (Nazi) regime until he died . . .

I would separate the (pleasant, but hardly "important") music from the man - at least until the doctoral thesis-becoming-a-published-biography currently in-progress becomes available.  It may be able to shed more light on his life and outlook.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 02:40:21 AM by Scion7 »
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Paul Graener (1872-1944)
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2017, 02:35:51 AM »
Graener joined the party in 1933 - hardly at a time when he would have feared for his career - and according to the enty in The New Grove, remained loyal to the (Nazi) regime until he died . . .

I would separate the (pleasant, but hardly "important") music from the man - at least until the doctoral thesis-becoming-a-published-biography currently in-progress becomes available.  It may be able to shed more light on his life and outlook.
Good point.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Scion7

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Re: Paul Graener (1872-1944)
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2017, 02:55:51 AM »
I should have looked before I rode down the innocent Vlach peasants with my Mongol hordes:

 The notes are by Knut Andreas, a young conductor whose 2008 dissertation on Graener was published the same year (in German, of course) and who conducted Die Flöte von Sanssouci and Wiener Sinfonie with his Collegium Musicum Potsdam symphony orchestra.. - from Sterling's page on one of their Graener releases

So perhaps a fellow member here can brush up on his vorsichtig deutschen eyebulung and track this down and report back?  0:)
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline JimL

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Re: Paul Graener (1872-1944)
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2018, 06:12:38 AM »
Can anybody come up with the tempo indication for the finale of the Flute Concerto, Op. 116?