Author Topic: Johanna Senfter (1879-1961)  (Read 4407 times)

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Offline Scion7

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Johanna Senfter (1879-1961)
« on: July 31, 2014, 06:06:51 AM »
Born Oppenheim, Nov 27, 1897; died Oppenheim, Aug 11, 1961
German composer, pianist and violinist.
Enrolled at Dr. Hoch's conservatory in Frankfurt at the age of 14.
Studied with Iwan Knorr, Carl Friedberg, and Adolf Rebner.
In Leipzig, she became a pupil of Max Reger and won the Arthur Nikisch prize for composition there in 1910.
Her output includes 9 symphonies, concertos for violin, piano, cello . . . many chamber pieces.
Her style is late-Romantic.  Influenced by Anton Bruckner.  Her scores are all under copyright and not found on IMSLP.
Scholars have not identified the dates for most of her works.

    Partial works list:

Symphonies                                                             String Quartet
* Symphony #1 in F Major, Op. 22                             * String Quartet in D Minor, Op. 4                             
* Symphony #2 in D Minor, Op. 27                             * String Quartet in F# Minor, Op 28
* Symphony #3 in A Major, Op. 43                             * String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 46
* Symphony #4 in Bb Major, Op. 50                            * Variations for String Quartet in Db Major, Op. 63
* Symphony #5 in E Minor, Op. 67                             * String Quartet in Bb Major, Op. 64
* Symphony #6 in Eb Major, Op. 74                            * String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 115
* Symphony #7 in F Minor, Op. 84
* Symphony #8 in Eb Minor, Op. 107                           
* Symphonie Nr. 9 op. 117                                                                Piano Quartet   
Symphonic Poems                                                      * Piano Quartet in E Minor, Op. 11
* Tonstück for Orchestra, Op. 102                                * Piano Quartet in D Minor, Op. 112
* Folge von heiteren stücke for Orchestra, Op. 130
Piano and Orchestra                                                  Piano Trio
* Piano Concerto in G Minor, Op. 90                               * Piano Trio, Op. 21
Violin and Orchestra                                                    * Piano Trio, Op. 47
* Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 1                                * Piano Trio, Op. 64
* Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 35                              * Piano Trio, Op. 134
* Violin Concerto in h Minor, Op. 71                              * Trio for Piano, Violin & Viola, Op.96
* 2 Vortragstücken for Violin and Orchestra
Cello and Orchestra                                                              Violin and Piano
* Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 105                                         * Violin Sonata in G, Op.6
Other                                                                                        * Violin Sonata in A, Op.26
* Suite for Orchestra in D Major, Op. 2                                      * Violin Sonata in g, Op.32                           
* Suite for Orchestra in C Minor, Op. 5                                      * Violin Sonata in C, Op.80
* Variations for Orchestra, Op. 9                                                * Violin Sonata in F, Op.101
* 3 Gesänge for Orchestra, Op. 24                                            * Romance and Allegro, Op.3a
* Concerto for two Violins and String Orchestra, Op. 40            * Five pieces, Op.100
* 5 kleine Tänze for Orchestra, Op. 81                                      * Veranderungen for Violin & Piano, Op.94


Piano solo                                                                                Chamber music
* 8 Stücke, Op. 29                                                                         *Tonstuck for 8 Winds instruments in E, Op.60
* 4 Stücke, Op. 45                                                                         *Trio for Horn, Clarinet & Piano, Op.103
* 3 Stücke, Op. 59                                                                         *Two pieces for Harp & String Trio, Op.111
* 3 klavierstücke, Op. 77                                                                *Quintet for Clarinet & String Quartet, Op.119
* 3 klavierstücke, Op. 83
* klavierstücke, Op. 113                                                                 *Duo for Violin & Viola, Op.58
* Veränderungen, Op. 118                                                              *Kleine Duo for Violin & Viola, Op.116
* 3 Stücke, Op. 122
* 2 klavierstücke, Op. 129                                                               *Six Pieces for Organ & Viola, Op.76
* Six easy pieces for beginners                                                         *Little Sonata for Organ & Violin, Op.75
* Mazurka in F Minor
* Scherzo in D Minor                                                                       *Sonata for Clarinet & Piano, Op.57
* Klavierstudie
* Passacaglia #5 in F Major                                                               Cello and Piano
* Passacaglia #7 in G Minor                                                                    *Andante and Scherzo for Cello & Piano, Op..3b
* Passacaglia #8 in h Minor                                                                     *Cello Sonata in A, Op.10
* Berceuse in E Major                                                                             *Cello Sonata in Eb, Op.79
* Vogelweise in G Minor                                                                          *3 alte tanze for Cello & Piano, Op.25
* 8 Passacaglien
* Fugue #4                                                                                      10 alte tanze for two Violins, Op.91
* Fugue #5
* Fugue #7                                                                                      Two Pianos
* 7 fugen                                                                                             *Passacaglia for two Pianos, Op.14
                                                                                                           *Sonata for two Pianos, Op.39
                                                                                                           *Tonstucke in a, for two Pianos, Op.109

Additionally, there are works for organ, various instruments solo, choral and songs -
this would be a great composer for Naxos or Chandos to invest in.  One of her symphonies is
on the Unsung Composer YouTube postings.  If Reger was impressed, I feel confident that  putting
out a few CD's can't go wrong.  Solid foundation in chamber music, always a good sign (even if Mahler barely touched the form.)  :-)
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 01:50:41 PM by Scion7 »
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Offline Cato

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2014, 06:16:31 AM »
Amazon shows few CD's: images not available!

One is of piano works (WERGO), and the other has two chamber works, sonatas for clarinet/piano and cello/piano (COLOSSEUM).
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 06:55:14 AM »
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline Scion7

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 06:59:27 AM »
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline Scion7

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2014, 07:09:05 AM »
Reger, with Johanna in the back ...

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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 07:35:29 AM »
Quite an impressive output!  I suspect that many of these works were never performed, much less recorded but I would love to hear some of the chamber compositions - listened to audio clips of the piano music - would be tempted to buy the MP3 album but only 41 minutes long.  The one below is available used from Amazon USA and interested me more - will be curious if anyone will respond who may know these performances?  Thanks for bringing this composer to our attention.  Dave :)

P.S. I read several links about her - birth year was 1879, so she lived to a ripe old age!


Offline Scion7

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961) - symphony Nr.6 & the Nazi era?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2014, 09:43:59 AM »
There is some sort of association with her sixth symphony and the Nazi regime in Germany - I get a partial "ostracized by the regime" in a Schott newsletter snippet, and something about someone's master's thesis exploring Nazi themes in the symphony or maybe the exploitation by the Nazis of this work?  Don't know, don't have the thesis online for a decent translation.  Since there's no formal biographical book on her, no details on this.
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Offline Cato

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2014, 09:54:46 AM »
Check this out:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/UU4em2LFDNI" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/UU4em2LFDNI</a>
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline Cato

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961): Pro-Nazi Charges
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2014, 10:41:55 AM »
I found this:

Quote
Trotz der wachsenden Kriegshysterie der Nationalsozialisten und der schwierigen Bedingungen während des zweiten Weltkrieges komponierte sie weiter und hatte im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen Komponistinnen und Komponisten das Glück, dass ihre Werke gelegentlich zur Aufführung gelangten.

"In spite of the growing war hysteria of the Nazis and of the difficult conditions during World War II, she continued to compose and, in contrast to many other composers (male and female), she had the good luck that her works were occasionally offered for performance." 

Quote
Wesentlich einschneidender dürfte allerdings die Affäre um ihre 1933 entstandene 6. Sinfonie gewesen sein. Ein Musikkritiker einer Zeitung machte nach dem Krieg publik, dass sie in diesem Werk das Horst-Wessel-Lied als Kontrapunkt zu dem ebenfalls verwendeten Choral „Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme“ zitiert hatte, was ihre Werke für weitere Aufführungen nun vollends disqualifizierte, auch wenn diese nationalsozialistische Anbiederung wohl die einzige geblieben ist. Johanna Senfter, die sich stets aus der Politik herausgehalten hatte, hat sich selbst zu diesen Vorwürfen des Kritikers nie geäußert. (vgl. Kottmann, 1999, S. 28a)

"Especially decisive might have been the 1933 affair concerning the origin of the Sixth Symphony.  A music critic of a newspaper charged after the war that she (Senfter) had cited the Horst-Wessel Song in the counterpoint for a choral line " 'Wake up, the voice calls to us," which usage completely disqualified her works for further performances, even if this remained her only ingratiation of the Nazis.  Johanna Senfter, who constantly kept out of politics, never raised her voice against the reproaches of this critic."

That her works were "occasionally offered for performance" during the Nazi period became a mark against her, along with the Horst-Wessel Song quotation.

Horst Wessel was a Nazi punk who was killed by a criminal, or a Communist, or who knows?  He had written the lyrics for the song bearing his name: it became a Nazi anthem.


See:

http://mugi.hfmt-hamburg.de/Artikel/Johanna_Senfter
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline Scion7

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2014, 12:18:07 PM »
Apparently she left no significant diary or notes on her work.  Shame.  Would love for the record companies to get into her works list.
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2014, 12:40:57 PM »
I fired off an email to NAXOS asking that they look into recording her material.
Worth a shot.
Problem is, I bet there is well over 90% of her stuff that is unpublished in manuscript.
That will take a lot of effort to 1) get transcribed and 2) get published.
Doubt any record company would move without that happening.

Since she was such a quiet personality, unlike, say, the Croatian Dora Pejacevic - wealthy and flamboyant and a good composer in her own right - Senfter was lost in the shuffle of so many late-Romantic German composers - which is a shame.  If Reger was impressed with her work, there was a reason.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2014, 12:43:14 PM by Scion7 »
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snyprrr

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961): Pro-Nazi Charges
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2014, 06:09:43 PM »
I found this:

"In spite of the growing war hysteria of the Nazis and of the difficult conditions during World War II, she continued to compose and, in contrast to many other composers (male and female), she had the good luck that her works were occasionally offered for performance." 

"Especially decisive might have been the 1933 affair concerning the origin of the Sixth Symphony.  A music critic of a newspaper charged after the war that she (Senfter) had cited the Horst-Wessel Song in the counterpoint for a choral line " 'Wake up, the voice calls to us," which usage completely disqualified her works for further performances, even if this remained her only ingratiation of the Nazis.  Johanna Senfter, who constantly kept out of politics, never raised her voice against the reproaches of this critic."

That her works were "occasionally offered for performance" during the Nazi period became a mark against her, along with the Horst-Wessel Song quotation.

Horst Wessel was a Nazi punk who was killed by a criminal, or a Communist, or who knows?  He had written the lyrics for the song bearing his name: it became a Nazi anthem.


See:

http://mugi.hfmt-hamburg.de/Artikel/Johanna_Senfter


TO THE OVENS WITH HER!! >:D... oh... wait.... she's pretty hot... hey, get her outta that oven...soooo, whatcha doin' after studies?...


Horst Wessel: "He started it." :P (Oh, so he was a nazi "punk"  but the other guy receives no appellation?) But seriously, HOW IS THIS NOT like what's going on today? Couldn't you see someone's Art being - Verboten- for the merest... the merest hint of a smell of a whiff of the idea that you might have quoted something or someone you shouldn't. I mean, I almost wouldn't know what a fascist regime was unless I had today to begin to compare how it happens in the first place. (Hope n Change)

Statement: The Arts Today are Occupied by a Fascist Regime



So, does she ply the same Complex Late Romantic Extended Chromaticism of Reger? She's certainly keeping the old bottles... is their old or new wine in them?

Offline Scion7

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2014, 02:05:02 AM »
Oh, I imagine from what little I've heard that she's a superb craftswoman in the late-Romatic mode with probably many nice melodic ideas - but not an innovator.  And that's fine - for a John Coltrane, we can appreciate the Joe Henderson's or Hank Mobley's, too - for Joni Mitchell or (early) Paul Simon, we can listen to Eric Andersen also - for Led Zeppelin we don't necessarily push out the Aerosmith's or the Nazareth's.  If she produced solid work - and apparently she did - I'll enjoy it.

And from what I've read she was completely uninvolved in any fascist movements in Germany - she probably had a little "visit" from Goebbels' people at her and her sister's home, and, terrified, incorporated a bit of crap into a symphony to stay out of trouble.  She was so introverted she apparently never even challenged the accusation - and lived a very quiet life at home.  There were lots of Allied bungles during the occupation of Germany and Austria, and this was one of them.  So much animosity against anything Nazi (and rightfully so) that there were knee-jerk reactions that needed more thought a few years down the road.  Webern was an admirer of Hitler - and I guess there was some weird sort of justice in how he died - but he has not been ostracized in any big way.  But any de-Nazification official should have picked up in about one minute that Senfter was hardly any 'threat.'
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 11:54:11 PM by Scion7 »
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1897-1961)
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2015, 09:35:32 AM »
FWIW she was born in 1879 not 1897. So she was about 30 when she received that composition prize, not 13 ;)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Scion7

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Re: Johanna Senfter (1879-1961)
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2015, 01:51:13 PM »
THANK YOU - the curse of the type-o and not seeing it.   :P
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.