[Ernst Krenek] saw parallels between McCarthyism and the development of Nazism in Germany. Having survived the Hitler menace in Austria and now, shortly afterwards, living with McCarthyism in the USA, his adopted country, was a great shock to him! Krenek had always been interested in social problems and having just lived through various crises in regard to these problems he turned to writing about them in the most dramatic, illuminating medium for him – opera. […] Pallas Athene weeps is more timely today than ever! (Gladys Nordenstrom Krenek, 16 October 2013)
The Neue Oper Wien’s production of Pallas Athene weint [Pallas Athene weeps] by Ernst Krenek premières on 25 October at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna. Walter Kobéra conducts the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich.
Further performances take place on 27, 28 and 29 October.
Ernst Krenek’s 1926 Der Diktator plainly rejects the lush romanticism of Wagner, the sentimental beauties of Puccini. In their place we find a brevity, a condensed sense of time, and a transparent mix of neo-classical and romantic musical rhetoric articulated with new sonorities in a drama made up of fleeting episodes. (Leon Botstein)
On 19 October the American Symphony Orchestra presents concert versions of two one-act operas with strikingly different reactions to tyranny: Ernst Krenek’s Der Diktator will be performed together with Richard Strauss’s Day of Peace at Carnegie Hall. Leon Botstein conducts the American Symphony Orchestra.
Krenek composed Der Diktator in 1926, three years after Hitler’s unsuccessful putsch in Munich and two years after Mussolini gained a two-thirds majority in the Italian parliament. Der Diktator urgently highlights the dangers of fascism and predicted the tragedy of National Socialist dictatorship.
Universal Edition mourns the death of Gladys Nordenstrom Krenek.
As Ernst Krenek’s ingenious partner, Gladys Nordenstrom Krenek tirelessly broke new ground for an appreciation of Krenek’s visions – in his spirit, but with the productive imagination of a strong personality.
Gladys Nordenstrom Krenek, herself a composer, died on 5 July in Palm Springs.
Antje Müller of the Ernst Krenek Institut Privatstiftung on Gladys Nordenstrom Krenek:
“A wonderful personality who actively participated with enormous expertise in the propagation of Ernst Krenek’s works, Gladys Nordenstrom Krenek was always friendly and charming up to the end. We will miss her!”
- Walter Braunfels’ Jeanne d’Arc in Cologne
- the new critical edition of Janáček’s The Makropulos Case in Berlin
- Krenek, Weill and the Moderns: the 24th Kurt Weill Festival
The full programme of the Kurt-Weill-Fest 2016 has been announced. The festival will be running from 26 February until 13 March under the slogan “Krenek, Weill & die Moderne”.
Among the special guests of the festival are artist-in-residence Ernst Kovacic, Nina Hagen and HK Gruber.
Music in 1920s Berlin and Vienna: cool, sleek, jazzy and very modern. A generation of young composers swept away the 19th century and established a new kind of music that was bold, astringent, accessible and topical. But by 1934, denounced by the Nazi government and their music banned, they were swept away into exile leaving their work neglected and forgotten for over seventy-five years.
Ripe for rediscovery, the exciting opera, chamber, orchestral and vocal music of Ernst Toch, Kurt Weill, Erwin Schulhoff, Mischa Spoliansky, Friedrich Hollander and others of this lost generation is performed in a festival of five concerts over three days, much of it never before performed in the U.K.
You can find the full programme on the website of Kings Place.
The motivation behind this composition was the tragic death of Anton Webern on 15 September 1945.
After hearing about Anton Webern’s death on 15 September 1945, Krenek processed his shock and grief in January 1946 in his American exile.
In his article “Songs of exiles: rescuing ‘degenerate music’ from the shadows,” baritone Peter Brathwaite writes about the Nazi’s campaign against the so-called ‘degenerate music’ and his own mission to bring this music to a new audience. Together with pianist Nigel Foster, Brathwaite performed a critical song-based reconstruction of the infamous Düsseldorf exhibition of 1938 at the London Song Festival this November.
Find the full article on The Guardian.
We’ve recently updated the Exile and Persecution section of our website. Universal Edition has always been a key publisher of 20th century music; as such, it also provided an artistic haven for a great many persecuted and exiled composers. You can find the page here.
Today, 23 May, the Ernst Krenek Institut hosts a birthday celebration and exhibition opening on the occasion of Gladys N Krenek’s 90th birthday.
From the official press release:
“As Ernst Krenek’s ingenious partner, Gladys N Krenek has been tirelessly breaking new ground for an appreciation of Krenek’s visions – in his spirit, but with the productive imagination of a strong personality. Born and educated in Minnesota, she met Ernst Krenek in 1942 at Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN, and a few years later moved with him to California, where she has remained active to this day. After Krenek’s death, she initiated the foundation of the Ernst Krenek Institute in 1997. The Institute’s private foundation in Krems emerged in 2004, of which Gladys N Krenek is the honorary president.”
Find out more on the website of the Ernst Krenek Institut.
Tonight, 5.05pm, on WDR: a special on “Musik gegen alle Fronten”, the latest production of the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. Listen live.
Some photographic impressions from the celebrations of the Ernst Krenek Forum’s fifth anniversary on 5 October 2013:
In the picture: the panel discussion Musiktheater, quo vadis? (with Friedrich Cerha, Walter Kobéra, Birgit Meyer, Helene Sommer, and Marie-Therese Rudolph), Alma, the aron quartet performing Ernst Krenek’s String Quartet No. 7, op. 96, and the Ernst Krenek forum’s birthday cake.
The Ernst Krenek Forum celebrates its fifth anniversary on 5 October at the Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche and at the Ernst Krenek Forum.
After the exhibition opening of Ernst Krenek and Thomas Mann, there will be a discussion entitled Musiktheater, quo vadis?. Marie-Therese Rudolph hosts the discussion, Friedrich Cerha, Walter Kobéra (Neue Oper Wien), Birgit Meyer (Oper Köln) and Helene Sommer (Volksoper Wien) will be the panel members.
Find the full programme on the homepage of the Erst Krenek Forum.
Born on 23 August 1900,
Ernst Krenek was a witness to the 20th century and a prolific composer (and
writer), who “lived an extraordinarily rich life, thanks to his multifarious
gifts, his insatiable hunger for everything new, his tremendous creative impulse and the historical
circumstances which had a bearing on his decision”.
Find out more about Ernst Krenek and listen to his music.