Austria Music

Austria Music


After World War II, music was a decisive factor in the process of cultural and social reorganization that took place with the new Republic. While the state and provincial government authorities took on the task of promoting and protecting musical life, a particular interest in the development of this traditional sector of Austrian culture manifested itself on the part of public opinion.

In 1947 the composer G. von Einem (b.1918) enjoyed significant success at the Salzburg Festival with the opera Dantons Tod (libretto by B. Blacher and his own, from Büchner; new version, Cologne 1953), success repeated three years later with the opera Der Prozess (libretto by B. Blacher and H. von Cramer, from Kafka; Cologne 1953). At the Geneva piano competition in 1948, 51 out of 526 candidates were Austrian, while a great pianist of the new generation such as F. Gulda (b.1930), already winner (1946) of the first prize of the same one, entered the international concert activity. competition. For Austria culture and traditions, please check

In the long debate, which developed between 1945 and 1962, on educational and school policy, moreover, growing attention was paid to the problems of the diffusion of music education and the organization of music teaching at school level, in the design of a “musical assistance” aimed at Austrian society as a whole.

Music festivals were particularly popular after the war. The already prestigious Salzburger Festspiele, inaugurated in 1920, took on a decisive international importance under the direction (1956-60) of H. von Ka rajan. All after 1945 are the other best-known events, including the Begrenzen Festspiele (1946), the Wiener Festwochen (1951) and the Stei rischer Herbst (1968).

Important conservatories and Hochschulen für Musik und darstellende Kunst arose in Vienna, Salzburg and Graz. In addition, after 1945 numerous societies were created for the diffusion of Austrian music and for cultural relations with other countries (thus in 1956 the Österreichische Musikrat). Music libraries are currently part of the International Union of Music Libraries (complete collections of early music are collected in Vienna, Salzburg, Graz and Innsbruck).

In the musicological sector it is worth mentioning the reconstruction (1945) of the important Gesellschaft zur Herausgabe von Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich (DTÖ), which publishes Studien zur Musikwissenschaft, and the foundation (1973) of the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Musikwissenschaft to which we owe, starting from 1977, the edition of the Austrian Musicology yearbook.

Around the sixties, in the field of musical avant-garde, three composers were revealed whose importance has grown over the years beyond national borders: F. Cerha (b.1926), G. Ligeti (b.1923) and R. Haubenstock -Ramati (b.1919).

Cerha, who in 1958 founded the Die Reihe ensemble of which he is director in 1958, acquired international fame with the performance of the opera Relazioni Fragili for harpsichord and chamber orchestra (1956-57). Among the most recent compositions are the operas Baal (from B. Brecht, Salzburg 1981) and Netzwerk (1981), a Concerto for flute, bassoon and strings (1983) and the Requiem für Hollenstein (from T. Bernhard, 1984).

Ligeti, of Hungarian origin, moved to Vienna in 1956 and naturalized Austrian in 1967; after a first Bartokian training in his country, he came into contact with the neo-avant-garde, to which he owes the evolution of his style. He had international fame in 1960-61 with the performance of Apparitions (1959) and Atmosphères (1961), both for orchestra. His major works include: Volumina, for organ (1962); the dramatic-musical actions Aventures (1962) and Nouvelles Aventures (1965), both for 3 voices and 7 instruments; the Requiem, for soprano, 2 choirs and orchestra (1963-65); Lux Aeterna, for choir of 16 voices or 16 solo voices (1966). More recently he has composed the music for the opera Le grand macabre by M. de Gelelderoe (Stockholm 1978), the three Magyar etüdök (“Hungarian Studies”, 1983), the concerto for piano and orchestra (1985-88) and the Etudes pour piano (1985).

Haunbenstock-Ramati, of Polish origin, has lived in Vienna since 1957. Since 1973 he has been professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik. After the dodecaphonic experience he joined an avant-garde direction, experimenting with the use of advanced compositional techniques (examples of aleatory procedure in Mobile for Shakespeare, Sonnets 53 and 54, for voice and 6 instruments, 1959; Tableaux I-III, 1968, 1968, 1971). Among his latest works: Nocturnes (1981-85), Miroirs, for piano (1984), and the Trio for strings (1985).

Around the same sixties a group of young composers (called Ausbrechern) was formed who are linked to the compositional experience of K. Schiske (1916-1969). We remember K. Schwertsik (b.1935) who, after a stay in California in 1966, cultivated a particular interest in the new forms of popular music, together with HK Gruber (b.1943), a pupil of G. von Einem, and OM Zykan (1935), with whom he founded the MOB art & tone ART group in 1968. The experimentation of new techniques and compositional means (such as electroacoustics and electronic processors) was carried out in the same years by D. Kaufmann (b.1941), teacher at the Wiener Musikhochschule, as well as by I. Radauer (b.1928)), K. Ager (b.1946) and GA Dobrowolski (b.1921), active in Salzburg. Finally, in recent years, a group of composers from the generation of the 1950s has emerged, such as P. Engel (b. 1949), B. Liberda (b. 1953), Th. D. Schlee (b. 1954), U.-D. Soyka (b.1954), H. Lauermann (b.1955) and G. Schedl (b.1957).

By P. Engel should mention the Sinfonia da Camera Ein Sommernachttraum (1986), performed at the Salzburg festival in December 1987. B. Liberda, student Haubenstock-Ramati, in 1981 he composed the opera Das Ende der Kreises, it represented all ‘ Ulmer Theater in Vienna. Th. D. Schlee was a composition student of O. Messiaen (Paris 1977-78) and later of F. Burt (1982-85). In 1979-80 he composed the Erstes Streichquartett performed at the Carintischer Sommer in 1983. U.-D. Soyka studied composition with F. Cerha; in 1982 he composed a Sonate für Violine und Klavier (op. 2/16), in 1983 the Romanze für Violoncello und Klavier (op. 2/19). H. Lauermann was a pupil of E. Urbanner; of 1982 is one Streichquartett. G. Schedl, author in 1980 of a Concerto for violin and 9 stringed instruments, is particularly dedicated to theatrical music: thus the scenic oratorio Der Grossinquisitor, op. 20 (from Dostoevsky) and the opera Der Schweinehirt, op. 15 (from Andersen). His chamber production is also noteworthy.

Also worth mentioning are the names of G. Rabl (b. 1953), M. Schwarzenlander (b. 1955), Th. Pernes (b. 1956), M. Sierek (b. 1958) and K. Karlbauer (b. 1960).

Austria Music