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Definition: Henze, Hans Werner from Philip's Encyclopedia

German composer. Influenced by twelve-tone music, he is best-known for his operas, such as Elegy for Young Lovers (1961).

Summary Article: Henze, Hans Werner
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

German composer. His immense and stylistically restless output was marked by a keen literary sensibility and seductive use of orchestral coloration, as in the opera Elegy for Young Lovers (1961) and the cantata Being Beauteous (1963). Among later works are the opera Das Verratene Meer/The Sea Betrayed (1990), based on Yukio Mishima's novel The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea, L'Upupa oder Der Triumph der Sohnesliebe/L'Upupa and the Triumph of Filial Love (2003), for which Henze also tried his hand for the first time as librettist, and Phaedra (2007). He also composed ten symphonies (1947–2002).

He studied with Wolfgang Fortner at Heidelberg, Switzerland, and René Leibowitz in Paris, France. He was influenced by Arnold Schoenberg, though not strictly a 12-note composer, and also did much to further the ballet in Germany; from 1950 to 1952 he was ballet adviser to the Wiesbaden Opera. In 1953 he moved to Italy, where his music became more expansive, as in the opera The Bassarids (1966). Following the student unrest of 1968 he suddenly renounced the wealthy musical establishment in favour of a militantly socialist stance in works such as the abrasive El Cimarrón (1970) and Voices (1973), austere settings of 22 revolutionary texts in often magical sonorities.

The operas We Come to the River (1976) and The English Cat (1983) and the ballet Orpheus (1979) were written in collaboration with Edward Bond. In subsequent years Henze returned to the musical past, becoming increasingly lyrical and elaborate: his reconstruction of Monteverdi's Il ritorno di Ulisse was staged in Salzburg, Austria, in 1985. In 1988 he founded the Munich Biennale, a festival for new music theatre, of which he was artistic director.

WorksBalletJack Pudding (1951); Maratona (1957); Ondine (1958); Orpheus (Stuttgart, 1979), OperaElegy for Young Lovers (Schwetzingen and Glyndebourne, 1961); Der junge Lord (Berlin, 1965); The Bassarids (Salzburg, 1966); The English Cat (Schwetzingen, 1983); Venus und Adonis (1993–95); L'Upupa oder Der Triumph der Sohnesliebe/L'Upupa and the Triumph of Filial Love (Salzburg, 2003); Phaedra (2007).

Orchestral ten symphonies (1947–2002); three violin concertos (1947, 1971, 1997); two piano concertos (1950, 1967); Doppio Concerto for oboe, harp, and strings (1966); Requiem (nine spiritual concertos) for piano, trumpet, and chamber orchestra (1992).

Vocal five Neapolitan Songs for baritone and orchestra (1956); Nocturnes and Arias for soprano and orchestra (1957); Kammermusik for tenor, guitar, and chamber orchestra (1958); Ariosi for soprano, violin, and orchestra after Tasso (1963); Das Floss der Medusa, oratorio to the memory of Ché Guevara (1968); Versuch über Schweine/Essay on Pigs (1969); El Cimarrón, for baritone and ensemble (1970); Voices, for mezzo, tenor, and instruments (22 revolutionary texts; 1973).

Chamber music five string quartets (1947–77), Royal Winter Music, two sonatas for guitar on Shakespearean characters (1975–79).


Henze, Hans Werner

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