Paul Hermann Franz Graener (Gräner) – Concerto for Cello and Chamber Orchestra op.78
(b.11 January 1872 – d.14 November 1944)
After the end of the Second World War Paul Graener’s music disappeared from concert programmes, and musicology too gave the composer a wide berth. During his lifetime his works were frequently performed, and above all during the Third Reich he was one of the most popular composers (not least because of his active membership of the NSDAP [Nazi Party]). During the 1990s Graener was rediscovered, his music began to be played and his life was critically examined. A great deal of information about Graener, including countless manuscripts and private documents was lost in the destruction of his Berlin apartment during an air raid.
Concerning Graener’s family background we can only guess, since both birth and baptismal certificates were lost. In an early document he states that Klara Graener, née Kücker, was his mother; however, when filling in a form concerning the Law for Restoration of the Professional Civil Service on 7th April 1933 he gave the name Anna Graener as his birth mother. Anna died shortly after his birth and Klara brought the boy up. According to this, his father would have been Hermann Rüdiger; meaning that on marriage he would have taken his wife’s name, which in those days was almost unimaginable. It seems that Paul Graener had little idea himself about his family origins, which explains these inconsistencies.
Between 1884 and 1890 Graener attended the Askanian Grammar School in Berlin and in 1888 the Veitsch Conservatory as well, where he received free tuition from Albert Becker (1834-1899), who also counted Jean Sibelius among his students. Becker’s focus was on the composition of vocal music, which left a lasting impression on his student Paul Graener. …
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