The Voices of Émigrés

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

During the 1930's and 1940's, many Europeans fled their native land to escape the turmoil of Nazi Germany. Composers such as Paul Hindemith, Igor Stravinsky and Kurt Weill made the US their new home, and graced the country with their compositional talents. This week on the Choral Mix, Kent Tritle highlights emigres and their contributions to music in America. Among the works heard include Hindemith's delicate Six Chansons for A Cappella Choir.

Paul Hindemith was born near Frankfurt and was raised and educated in Germany. He went on to direct the Donaueschingen Music Festival (now the oldest festival devoted to new music) and to teach composition at his alma mater, the Berliner Hochschule für Musik. His relationship with Nazi Germany was often tumultuous, as he was often persecuted for atonality and thematic content.

After fleeing Germany to Switzerland, and later Turkey, Hindemith made his home in the US as a professor at Yale University. At Yale, he taught celebrated composers such as Lukas Foss and Norman Dello Joio. He wrote his beautiful Six Chansons in 1939, setting a text by Rainer Maria Rilke to music. We hear them performed by the Rufundchor Berlin under the direction of Stefan Parkman.

Also on this week's show: music of Darius Milhaud, Arnold Schoenberg, and much more.
Mack The Knife
Music Box
Hudson Shad

Third Psalm
Symphony of Psalms
Berliner Philharmoniker
Berlin Radio Chorus
Pierre Boulez

Friede auf Erden
Evocation of the Spirit
Robert Shaw Festival Singers
Robert Shaw

Music Box
Hudson Shad

Cantate de la paix  
Weill-Das Berliner Requiem
Flemish Radio Choir

Six Chansons
Paul Hindemith
Rufundchor Berlin
Stefan Parkman

It never was you

Music Box
Hudson Shad

Comments [4]

Gary Ekman from Manhattan NYC

Holy cow, I'm listening this week's The Choral Mix, and suddenly it's "Mack the Knife!" The line forms on the right, dear!

Brilliant. We can now say that this program has truly covered the entire spectrum of choral music.

Nov. 10 2011 06:51 AM
James Leopard from Brooklyn

You can find the Hudson Shad CD by going to the following:

Nov. 07 2011 01:18 AM
Tom from NYC

Brilliant program. I have been looking for thhe Hudson Shad recording of "It Never Was You" but cannot find it on the Web. Do you know if it is commercially available?

Nov. 06 2011 08:16 AM
Michael Meltzer

Wonderful program Kent, I hope there's a "Part II." For a few hundred years, musical (and choral) composition was a great wheel rolling inexorably forward, and with the possible exception of Anton Bruckner, never stopping to look backward until the twentieth century. It's a unique period, blending the best of the new and the old.
Hindemith and Vaughan Williams were the pioneers, Stravinsky joined in. I think Hindemith's work paved the way for Pärt, Lauridsen and a lot of others.
It would be great to hear more of Hindemith. Also, not knowing what the French text was saying, it was difficult to understand why the Milhaud fragmented and rotated the choral sections so much until the finale. His "Two Cities" is to me a more satisfying and dramatic example of his a capella writing.
It would also be appropriate to hear some Ernst Toch choral music, who never achieved American recognition comparable to his European success, but was both an innovative and very likeable composer
Finally, although he wasn't a refugee from the Nazis, Rachmaninoff wouldn't be out of place with this bunch, they were all friends.

Nov. 06 2011 08:13 AM

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