The eventful artistic career of Paul von Klenau spanned four decades and geographically spread over three countries. Born on February 11, 1883 in Copenhagen, he moved to Berlin after his high school graduation in 1902, where he enjoyed a comprehensive education in the composition class of Max Bruch at the Berlin Academy of Arts. He continued his studies in Munich under Ludwig Thuille until his death. Among his first major works are three grand symphonies, some of which were premiered by renowned conductors: The First Symphony was given its first performance at the Munich Tonkünstlerfest in 1908, the Second Symphony under Hans Pfitzner was premiered in Strasbourg in 1911, and in 1913 Ernst von Schuch debuted the Third Symphony for Choir and Orchestra in Dresden. Klenau received a position as Kapellmeister at the Freiburg Stadttheater in 1914, which he gave up shortly after the outbreak of World War I to return to Denmark. In the years during and after the First World War he was extremely productive as a composer, producing, among others, the grand operas König Tannmoor as well as Kjärtan und Gudrun, the ballet pantomimes Klein Idas Blumen and Marion and the full-length setting of Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke. While both operas were still firmly committed to German Romanticism, Klenau was increasingly influenced by current musical trends, above all Impressionism, Viennese Expressionism and Neo-Classicism. His attempt to establish a 20th century „opera buffa“ with the musical comedy Die Lästerschule, the composer himself declared to have failed after the premiere in Frankfurt in 1925 and broke off work on a similar opera based on Ludvig Holberg‘s Jeppe vom Berge. …

Chor/Stimme & Orchester

Saint Francis of Assisi. (Little Flowers) Oratorio in a Prologue and two Parts. Poem by Gabriel Nigond; English version by Claude Aveling

The son of a singing teacher and a piano teacheress at the Metz Conservatoire, Gabriel Pierné was raised from early childhood to be a musician. In 1870 the Pierné family moved to Paris, where Gabriel was soon accepted as a young student at the Conservatoire, winning four prizes (for piano, harmony, counterpoint and fugue, organ) in 1879-82. In 1882 he was also awarded the Prix de Rome. Like Vincent d’Indy, Ernest Chausson, Henri Duparc, Maurice Emmanuel, Guillaume Lekeu, Charles Tournemire, Louis Vierne, and others, he was among the students and admirers of César Franck, whom he succeeded as titular organist at Ste Clotilde after Franck’s death in 1890-98. In 1903, Pierné became assistant conductor of the Colonne Orchestra, where he served a schief conductor until 1934 after the death of Édouard Colonne in 1910. He also served as the university’s commissioner for teaching choral singing in Paris schools and conducted the first performances of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballet russes in Paris. As a conductor, Pierné’s mastery and humility in selfless service to music was legendary.

Pierné wrote many works for orchestra, chamber music, piano, organ, as well as lieder and choral works. In addition to a large number of operas, he also composed five oratorios, some of which were great successes: the Gospel play “La Samaritaine” after Edmond Rostand (1897); “La nuit de Noël de 1870” (1896); “La Croisade des enfants” after the poem of the same name by Marcel Schwob (1904), based on a historical event, according to the view of the time, and by far his most performed vocal work (it was performed not only throughout Europe as far away as Russia (200 performances in Germany alone), but also in North America, Australia and South Africa); the mystery “Les Enfants à Betléem” (1907); and the fioretti “Saint François d’Assise” (1912), herewith presented for the first time in study score. …

Vocal score also available HERE

Klavier & Orchester

I Allegro p.1
II Andante p.31
III Allegro giusto – Allegro vivace p.46

Nikos [Nikolaos] Skalkottas came from a music-loving family from the working class, in which music-making at an at least semi-professional level can be traced back up to the generation of his great-grandfather. Both his father Alekos, who was a full-time gardener in a wealthy household, and his older brother Kostas – both of whom learned flute and violin autodidactically – played in the Philharmonic Society of Chalkis, the capital of Euboea. From his father and uncle Kostas, chairman of the municipal association, the five-year-old Nikos was also instructed on the violin. After the family had moved to Athens probably around 1909, the boy, who was obviously highly talented on his instrument, was admitted to the Athens Conservatory of Music in 1914, where he was taught by the German professor Tony Schultze. At the same time, Nikos must also have developed considerable skills on the piano. Skalkottas shone in his final concert at the conservatory (May 1920) with the first movement of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and, in addition to the highest honors, received a scholarship that would allow him to continue his studies in Berlin. Nevertheless, he complained about discrimination within the conservatory because of his “proletarian” origins. This was to run throughout his entire life and remained a constant topic in his correspondence. …


I. Elektra’s Fears, II. Orestes Return, III. Clytemnestra’s Grave, IV. Full Moon in Mykene,
V. The Tears, VI. Desperation, VII. The Afterglow

Mykene is my first orchestral composition, inspired by a special visit to the ancient site of Mycenae in Greece, whose archaic energy influenced me greatly. Each miniature is dedicated to a part of Clytemnestra’s story and the historical events in Mycenae, which is the inspiration for this composition.

The entire piece is meant to be performed with the highest possible intensity, like aphoristic splinters of thoughts in sound. For example, even if a dance rhythm is composed (such as 7/8, 12,/8, 13/8, 14/8), the character of the interpretation should be kept intense and sostenuto. …

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