Author Topic: Hans Pfitzner  (Read 23329 times)

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Scarpia

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2010, 06:56:45 PM »
Just listened to Pfitzner's symphonies Op. 44 and 46.   Neither work shows obvious originality of style or method, but both demonstrate considerable craftsmanship.  The first, Op. 44, the Kleine Sinfonie, is a transparent work, perhaps in the Mendelssohn mold, with elegantly dissonant harmony at times.  The second, Op 46, has a certain Brucknerian mood, but condensed to 17 minutes.  The recording on cpo with Alberts, is very nicely recorded and gracefully performed, and perhaps errs by being too tasteful.


Offline The new erato

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2010, 02:36:16 AM »
Just listened to Pfitzner's symphonies Op. 44 and 46.   Neither work shows obvious originality of style or method, but both demonstrate considerable craftsmanship. 

Seems like the essence of Pfitzner, of which I have about 8-9 CDs worth. The only work to really impress have been Palestrina, granted I haven't heard Von Deutscher Seele.

jlaurson

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2010, 02:55:50 AM »
Just listened to Pfitzner's symphonies Op. 44 and 46.   Neither work shows obvious originality of style or method, but both demonstrate considerable craftsmanship.  ...

That seems the most happily repeated impression about Pfitzner... and I'll be the first to admit that Pfitzner was an uneven composer with some obvious clunkers. ("Die Rose vom Liebesgarten", anybody? Yikes.) But he isn't lacking originality when he is original--and he was harmonically ahead of Richard Strauss, eventually...
I agree about the performances, though... we really need recordings of all the good Pfitzner orchestral works by Thielemann, who kicks ass and takes names when he gets to swing his baton to the sweet sounds of Pfitzner. (Rumors have it that he grows an imaginary handle-bar mustache, when conducting "Von Deutscher Seele", but that is definitely untrue.)

Scarpia

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2010, 06:20:56 AM »
I don't want to give the idea I didn't like it.  I was savoring those bittersweet harmonies.  And the works had the advantage of being succinct.  Nothing worse than a mediocre composer with disproportionate ambition, writing symphonies that go on and on and on.  What was that remark by Stravinsky, that a lot of music keeps going long after it is over.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2010, 07:26:29 AM »
I'm listening to the CPO symphony/preludes disc now...and enjoying the hell out of it. The Presto of op.46 is actually thrilling. I wasn't expecting to be "thrilled" by Pfitzner ;D The Kleine Sinfonie is a delight. Perhaps the performances could be better but let's not be too hard on Albert and the Bambergers: they do a fine job actually.

This is the fourth Pfitzner CD I've heard from the seven I acquired last week. Criticism that he was merely aping 19th century models I've found to be not true. Von deutscher Seele sounds like a twentieth century work and the op.36 Quartet is one with its time period also: not wildly unconventional but not harmonically conservative either.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
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Scarpia

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2010, 08:17:42 AM »
The Presto of op.46 is actually thrilling. I wasn't expecting to be "thrilled" by Pfitzner ;D

Yes, that is a high point, especially when the Bruckneresq motto from the opening of the symphony returns.  One annoying thing about the release, though, is that the booklet contains an essay which takes grate pains to ridicule and belittle the music on the disc.

snyprrr

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2010, 08:41:57 AM »
op.36 Quartet is one with its time period also: not wildly unconventional but not harmonically conservative either.

Sarge

Op.36 is truly one of the top "Ultra Late Romantic" SQs, along with Schmidt, though, Pfitzner definitely isn't as reclining as Schmidt. For me, Schoeck is the next one on the list. His main SQ promises to be another barn burner.

Did you listen to the Op.50 SQ? It surely has that nostalgia for things irretrieveably lost, a bit like Myaskovsky, but from Germany 1942, haha. Didn't he die is squalor after the war? Op.50 is becoming one of my favorite "moody time" listens.



Somewhere around here there is a Thread concerning the inter-war period, with Pfitzner, Schmidt, Hartmann, Hindemith, Schoeck, Toch, blah blah...

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #47 on: February 09, 2010, 09:00:25 AM »
Did you listen to the Op.50 SQ?

I did, several times (to each of the four quartets). Yes, there is that nostalgic element (I've been a sucker for "nostalgia" since I was 10 years old  ;D ) although not as obvious as say late Strauss or some of Franz Schmidt's works.

The surprise was the D minor, much more accomplished and "mature" than I thought it would be. Of course it's more conventional than the other quartets, but not less interesting to me. The main theme of the first movement has an aching sorrow, the second theme almost a lullaby. The second movement is quite beautiful: a sad, rather slow, Dvorakian dance.

Sarge
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 09:07:44 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

abidoful

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #48 on: February 26, 2010, 12:31:42 AM »
Here is my "Pfitzner-story":

For me it is funny becouse i always had these NAMES  i was  drawn to. :o Pfitzner was one of them, i dont know why? Maybe becouse i had a rough idea when he lived and i always loved the late-romantics (and the "Post-Wagnerianism", what ever that means...). And come to think of it, his name resembles little bit MEDTNER!Now, i knew that many people loved MEDTNER, and i had read about him from a book about the great Vladimir Horowitz.

PFITZNER- MEDTNER; both composers who had some mixed attachment for two great musical countrys, namely Russia and Germany. I guess Medtner was a Russian born in Germany, and Pfitner a German born in Russia (in Moscow, i guess)? I am sure (???) there are two kind of people, those who love Medtner but dont warm to Pfitzner, and those who warm to Pfitzner but dont get Medtner, and i guess i  belong to the latter :D 

So i just read once of this radio-program that featured the Violin Sonata in e-minor. Even the key (e-minor) was something i was drawn to!(The same happened btw with Szymanowski; the name on a radio program, and announcement of a piano etude in E-FLAT MINOR. Here it was the same, i sensed that this had to to be -i knew absolutely nothing about the composer, never even read his name which seemed so difficult to pronounce- a late-romantic, and surely a slavonic composer -i loved Russian composers, i was fourteen or something-and the title of the piece and even the unusual choise of key suggested to me that this was a composer who was attached to the great Chopin tradition. Of course the etude charmed me totally, and later i came to know that its composer was greatly admired and revered ).

So, i listened that sonata. The first movement started with a melody which was just amazing and the music had this kind of melancholy, nostalgic aura which i found simply irresistable!The second movement had a depth in it while the final movement was so "germanic", you know music played "mit schwung"; the melody was a wonderfully hectic and victorous tune in E-Major.

From that experience onwards i knew i had found a new composer that i would cherish. But my encounter with Pfitzner would not be all just wonderment and admiration. I was suprised to find things in him that were baffling... he was not just this kind of warm and heartfelt romantic i thought he was when hearing the Violin Sonata. The 3rd String Qurtet had many beauties  but also lots of  embarrassing naivite and simplicity making me feel uncomfortable and not at all sure  was he being serious.  :-[ And  his later orchestral music sounded often un-inspired and laboured, little pretentious, like the Symphony in c-sharp minor. Also his orchestration sounded simply-ugly and harsh! And the Pianoconcerto was another piece which was dissapointing, banal, uninspired and awkwardly and uneffectively written for the solo instrument.

So i had this battle with Pfitzner,  always somehow convinced that he was an  extremely gifted composer. Like when i got to hear an amazing, early cello concerto in a-minor- Again, there was this kind strange, partly slavonic aftertaste and surely it was inspired from the Schumann cello concerto (even the key), but not in a way that was disturbing. It was music so emotional and powerful- and so inspired and very very virtuosic for the solo instrument! I am still convinced thatit is a great romantic cello concerto and  celllists should just  find it!I am sure audience would love it! Its lyricism is simply wonderful and its all very dramatic. And has truly valuable thematic material, a big tune worthy of Tshaikowsky.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 08:13:08 AM by abidoful »

Offline Guido

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #49 on: June 22, 2010, 07:53:10 AM »
The Prelude to Palestrina is one of the most extraordinary peices of music that I know - incredibly beautiful and sounds like very little else. What is curious though is the amount of very obvious parallel fifths - has anyone got any ideas why Pfitzner might have done this?
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Offline Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #50 on: November 21, 2010, 06:50:24 AM »
The long Nachtmusik in "Von Deutscher Seele" (w. Sieghard/Wiener) is very beautyful, I find myself listening only to this. I didn't find really remarkable moments in the whole piece, but the Nachtmusik overall is very sweet and ... nighty. Reminds me of Mahler/7 sometimes.

jlaurson

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #51 on: November 21, 2010, 07:02:46 AM »
The Prelude to Palestrina is one of the most extraordinary peices of music that I know - incredibly beautiful and sounds like very little else. What is curious though is the amount of very obvious parallel fifths - has anyone got any ideas why Pfitzner might have done this?

It's a deliberate move to evoke the musical anachronisms of old music (pre-1600) where parallel fifths were a common stylistic device.

Offline Guido

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #52 on: November 22, 2010, 11:13:14 AM »
Really? Palestrina himself almost never used them - and when they do appear they tend to be obscured as much as possible.

What was the stylistic device used to denote?
Geologist.

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jlaurson

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #53 on: November 23, 2010, 01:06:03 AM »
Really? Palestrina himself almost never used them - and when they do appear they tend to be obscured as much as possible.

What was the stylistic device used to denote?

I suppose that it's more about the *idea* of old music, rather than the actual music of Palestrina. Artistic licences to create atmosphere based on what Pfitzner assumes his audience connotes with what they hear.

pjme

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #54 on: November 23, 2010, 02:09:56 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AWgG7FXr-o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdy381LUM2o


"Palestrina" anno 2009 in Munich.

From: http://www.enotes.com/music-encyclopedia/pfitzner-hans
 ....He even dedicated an overture, Krakauer Begrüssung, to Hans Frank, the murderous leader of occupied Poland, in 1944. ....

Because of his advanced age, he was freed. He was taken to a home for the aged in Munich and later was transferred to Salzburg, where he died in misery. Eventually, his body was honorably laid to rest in a Vienna cemetery.

That "Krakauer Begrüssung" ( an overture for orchestra) represents a late and quite awful "gesture" from the embittered composer...But Palestrina has some magical moments. Even when the angels  look like nuns-on-LSD.

P.

ps: for those who read German : http://wapedia.mobi/de/Hans_Pfitzner

 



« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 11:53:01 AM by pjme »

jlaurson

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #55 on: November 24, 2010, 08:18:33 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AWgG7FXr-o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdy381LUM2o


"Palestrina" anno 2009 in Munich.

From: http://www.enotes.com/music-encyclopedia/pfitzner-hans

Being of "pure" German parentage, Pfitzner was favored by the Nazi authorities...

This isn't actually true at all; he was shunned by the regime and his works rarely performed. Hans Frank was the son of a family friend, I believe. Hitler spoke derisively of Pfitzner as "that old Rabbi". (I'm not suggesting that Pfitzner did not try to buddy up with the Nazis; just that he wasn't any good at it. And he held very unpalatable views after the war... but all in all a very complex character.)

Unfortunately the Palestrina in Munich wasn't good at all; Thielemann had been intended as the conductor but that didn't work out; Simone Young was an unfortunate compromise and the staging loveless shite. The Frankfurt production was superior in every way, musically and especially directorally.  Apparently I wrote three reviews of the darn thing in Munich...
http://www.playbillarts.com/features/article/7891.html
http://www.musicweb-international.com/sandh/2009/jan-jun09/pfitzner1901.htm
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/01/ionarts-at-large-pfitzners-palestrina.html (identical as above, i think)
http://www.operatoday.com/content/2009/01/pfitzners_pales.php

Christmas Music from Pfitzner: http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=222

VdS: http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=442

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #56 on: November 24, 2010, 08:40:13 AM »
After the collapse of Hitler's regime, Pfitzner had to face a war crimes court in Munich in 1948. Because of his advanced age, he was freed.

I believe that's untrue too. He didn't "face a war crimes court" but had to go through the denazification process just like Furtwängler and Strauss (and countless others) and, like them, he was cleared--not freed because of his age.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

pjme

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #57 on: November 24, 2010, 11:56:37 AM »
 I copy-pasted far too quickly the little excerpt. I just had been looking for that infamous "Krakauer Begrussung" overture.

The (German) Wapedia article gives following information:

Nach einer Aufführung von Pfitzners Oper Das Herz in Ulm 1938 und einer erneuten Klage wegen Vernachlässigung seiner Werke wurde Pfitzner nach dem Beginn des Zweiten Weltkriegs von führenden NS-Funktionären als „deutschester der zeitgenössischen deutschen Komponisten“ eingeladen, seine Werke in den besetzten Gebieten wie den Niederlanden, dem Elsass und in Paris aufzuführen.[40]

Am 20. Februar 1940 traf die Gauhauptstelle für politische Beurteilung der NSDAP (München) eine Beurteilung Pitzners: "Dem Nationalsozialismus steht Pfitzner bejahend gegenüber," eine Mitgliedschaft in Parteiorganisationen sei nicht bekannt, aber auch nicht ausgeschlossen. [41] Seit 1936 gehörte Pfitzner dem Reichskultursenat an.[42] Der Reichskultursenat diente dazu, die Reichskulturkammer gegen innerparteiliche Kritik zu sichern.[43]

Pfitzner nahm an repräsentativen Veranstaltungen und Ehrungen teil, im besetzten Holland dirigierte er 1941 eigene Werke, und im besetzten Paris 1942 wohnte er einer Aufführung des «Palestrina» bei.[44] Weiterhin erhielt er im Nationalsozialismus 1934 den Goethepreis der Stadt Frankfurt, 1935 die Brahms-Medaille der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, 1939 die Ehrenbürgerwürde der Stadt Frohburg in Sachsen, 1942 den Wartheländischen Musikpreis, 1943 den Beethoven-Preis der Stadt Wien und 1944 den Ehrenring der Stadt Wien.

Im Mai 1944 erhielt er von Hitler eine Dotation über 50.000 Mark.[39] Im August 1944 wurde Pfitzner nicht nur in der Gottbegnadeten-Liste genannt, sondern auch in der von Hitler erstellten Sonderliste mit den drei wichtigsten Musikern unter den „Gottbegnadeten“, die ihn von sämtlichen Kriegsverpflichtungen befreite.[39]

Die Krakauer Begrüßung (op. 54), die Anfang Dezember 1944 im besetzten Polen in Krakau unter der Leitung von Hans Swarowsky uraufgeführt wurde, (Pfitzner dirigierte bei der Wiederholung selbst), war nicht seine einzige politische Komposition. Bereits 1916 hatte er Zwei deutsche Gesänge (op. 25; 1915/16) Großadmiral Alfred von Tirpitz für dessen Flottenpolitik gewidmet.[45] Die Krakauer Begrüßung von 1944 war eine Hommage an seinen Freund und Mäzen[46] den später wegen Kriegsverbrechen verurteilten Generalgouverneur des Generalgouvernements Hans Frank. [47][48]

etc.

P.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 01:02:04 PM by pjme »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #58 on: November 25, 2010, 10:08:33 PM »
I own the CPO set of his orchestral works and I have to say that the music does nothing for me (right now). Well crafted perhaps, which has been mentioned above, but there's really nothing that jumps out at me. I'm going to have to re-examine some of his music and perhaps what I've learned within the year that I heard the set may give me a different perspective of the music.
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

jlaurson

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #59 on: November 25, 2010, 10:15:31 PM »
I own the CPO set of his orchestral works and I have to say that the music does nothing for me (right now). Well crafted perhaps, which has been mentioned above, but there's really nothing that jumps out at me. I'm going to have to re-examine some of his music and perhaps what I've learned within the year that I heard the set may give me a different perspective of the music.

This is the attitude I wish everyone listening to classical music had.
For what it's worth, my access to Pfitzner was the Eichendorff Cantata ("Von Deutscher Seele"); listening to it repeatedly (for no good reason, because I knew nothing at all of Pfitzner then, nor having an inkling of whether it 'should' turn out rewarding) late at night, on headphones, before falling asleep.