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Thread: Orchestrated piano works

  1. #31
    Senior Member SONNET CLV's Avatar
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    Among treasured discs in my collection are the symphonies and the piano sonatas of Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944), who wrote his late pieces while incarcerated by the Nazis at Theresienstadt. It was in Theresienstadt where Ullmann composed the opera "Der Kaiser von Atlantis" Op. 49, based on a text by fellow inmate, painter and poet Peter Kien. The Emperor portrayed in the opera, a bellicose leader with no regard to the life of his subjects, is in fact a very thinly disguised Adolf Hitler. Death goes on strike with disastrous consequences, agreeing to go back to work only after the emperor agrees to be his first victim. The opera actually went into rehearsal, but it was never staged. Camp authorities realized the meaning of the production, cancelling the premiere days before it was supposed to happen. Viktor Ullmann was transferred to Auschwitz, where he perished in the gas chambers within two days of arrival.

    Read more: http://www.musicweb-international.co...#ixzz6jZSaIm4X

    O-1.jpg O-2.jpg

    Piano Sonatas 5 and 7 had many indications of orchestration ideas, which suggest that they started out as symphonies. Ullmann premiered the sonatas at Theresienstadt.

    Symphony No. 1, "On My Youth" (1943)
    Reconstructed by Bernhard Wulff from the short score of the fifth piano sonata

    Symphony No. 2 in D Major (1944)
    Reconstructed by Bernhard Wulff from the short score of the seventh piano sonata

    Before being sent to the death camp, he was able to entrust all of his scores to a friend in the camp. They were miraculously preserved, so, in fact, all we have of Viktor Ullmann’s works is his Theresienstadt output, while most of what he wrote before is now lost.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I knew a bit about Ullman from his only surviving string quartet (no. 3), which is a very good one, but I've never listened to his other music. It always amazes me how people can still create music even when the conditions are so hostile towards creativity. His is a fascinating story but what's truly amazing is that his lost work is all the stuff he created prior to going into the concentration camp. What a shame we have been denied that.

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    Many years ago, when I worked for a college arts center, the Director and I stood outside a rehearsal room, listening to a visiting wind octet run through what we presumed was a reduction of a piece we knew like the back of our hand but couldn't identify for the life of us. It turned out to be an expansion of Beethoven'a Pathetique Sonata!!
    Last edited by MarkW; Jan-15-2021 at 15:19.

  6. #34
    Senior Member SONNET CLV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    Many years ago, when I worked for a college arts center, the Director and I stood outside a rehearsal room, listening to a visiting wind octet run through what we presumed was a reduction of a piece we knew like the back of our hand but couldn't identify for the life of us. It turned out to be an expansion of Beethoven'a Pathetique Sonata!!
    What! You mean, someone tampered with a Beethoven piano sonata and turned it into a wind octet!!!? That's pathetic!

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