Krenek, Ernst


Krenek, Ernst

Potpourri für Ochester, op. 54

SKU: 3014 Category:



Ernst Krenek

(b. Vienna, 23 August 1900 — d. Palm Springs / California, 22 December 1991)

Potpourri für Ochester, op. 54

Austrian-born composer Ernst Krenek is a fascinating—if misunderstood and under-represented—figure in the history of 20th century music. An incredibly prolific composer, Krenek very nearly lived for the entire 20th century and observed a dizzying array of musical trends and aesthetic paradigm shifts in that time. Krenek’s music is eclectic and somewhat idiosyncratic: he made use of a broad range of compositional approaches, not following the trends of the day but rather allowing expressive need to govern musical choices. Krenek’s style runs the gamut from late-Romanticism to neo-classicism, from neo-romanticism to dodecaphony and aleatoricism. While he was trained in the German classical tradition, he was also strongly influenced by Russian and French music, especially the works of Stravinsky and Les Six.

Krenek received his musical training at the Vienna Music Academy, studying composition with Franz Schrecker beginning in 1916. Krenek moved to Berlin in 1920, to continue studying with Schrecker; in Berlin, he adopted an atonal musical style, and composed large scale symphonic music. In the mid 1920s, Krenek traveled to Switzerland and Paris, where he encountered the music of Stravinsky and Les Six. He briefly adopted a neo-classical style, and flirted with jazz. His most popular dramatic works, including the putative “jazz opera” Jonny spielt auf, date from this period. In the 1930s, Krenek—who had befriended members of the Second Viennese School—adopted dodecaphony, composed the first 12-tone opera, and would continue to compose 12-tone music for much of the remainder of his career. After emigrating to the United States in 1938, he also experimented with indeterminacy and electronic music, and gradually adopted a less rigid approach to 12-tone serialism.

At first glance, Potpourri, op. 54 is a somewhat anomalous work, a large-scale instrumental piece that appears at a time when Krenek was focused primarily on dramatic and vocal music: Jonny spielt auf, his most famous work, was premiered in 1927, the same year he composed Potpourri; in addition, between 1926 and 1929 he completed three one-act operas, a grand opera, and a large song cycle. However, Potpourri can also be viewed as part of a trio of instrumental works–Drei lustige Märsche, op. 44 (1926) and Kleine Sinfonie, op. 58 (1928)—that mark the end of Krenek’s neo-classic period.

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Score Data


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210 x 297 mm





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