Clemens Krauss

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Clemens Krauss Clemens Krauss.jpg
Clemens Krauss

Clemens Heinrich Krauss (31 March 1893 16 May 1954) was an Austrian conductor and opera impresario, particularly associated with the music of Richard Strauss.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

Conducting directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures

Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to interpret the score in a way which reflects the specific indications in that score, set the tempo, ensure correct entries by ensemble members, and "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. Conductors communicate with their musicians primarily through hand gestures, usually with the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals such as eye contact. A conductor usually supplements their direction with verbal instructions to their musicians in rehearsal.

An impresario is a person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays, or operas, performing a role similar to that of an artist manager or a film or television producer.

Contents

Krauss was born in Vienna to Clementine Krauss, then a 15-year-old dancer in the Vienna Imperial Opera Ballet, later a leading actress and operetta singer, niece of the prominent nineteenth-century operatic soprano Gabrielle Krauss. His natural father, Chevalier Hector Baltazzi (1851-1916), [1] came from a family of wealthy Phanariot bankers resident in Vienna. Baltazzi's older sister Helene was married to Baron Albin Vetsera and was the mother of Baroness Mary Vetsera, who was accordingly Clemens Krauss' first cousin. [2]

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Vienna State Opera Opera house in Vienna, Austria

The Vienna State Opera is an Austrian opera house and opera company based in Vienna, Austria. It was originally called the Vienna Court Opera. In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Austrian Republic, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra.

Gabrielle Krauss Operatic soprano

Marie-Gabrielle Krauss was an important 19th century Austrian-born French operatic soprano. She created major roles in operas by Anton Rubinstein, Charles Gounod, Camille Saint-Saëns, Auguste Mermet, Clémence de Grandval, Errico Petrella, Antônio Carlos Gomes and Émile Paladilhe. She also created roles in local premieres of Verdi and Wagner operas. Krauss was a leading soprano at the Paris Opera for 13 years, and also sang with great success in Italy and Russia.

Krauss sang in the Hofkapelle (Imperial Choir) as a Vienna Choir Boy. He graduated from the Vienna Conservatory in 1912, after studying composition with Hermann Graedener and theory with Richard Heuberger there. He was then appointed chorus master in the Brno Theater (1912-1913), where he made his conducting debut in 1913. The famous Romanian soprano Viorica Ursuleac, who often sang under him, became his second wife.

Hermann Graedener German composer, conductor and teacher

Hermann Graedener or Grädener was a German composer, conductor and teacher.

Richard Heuberger Austrian composer

Richard Franz Joseph Heuberger was an Austrian composer of operas and operettas, a music critic, and teacher.

National Theatre Brno theatre in Brno, Czech Republic

The National Theatre Brno is the major theatre house in Brno. It was established in 1884 and modeled on the National Theatre in Prague.

Career

Krauss made the rounds of regional centers, conducting in Riga (1913-1914), Nuremberg (1915) and Stettin (1916-1921) (formerly part of Pomerania in Germany; now part of Poland). The latter appointment gave him ample opportunity to travel to Berlin to hear Arthur Nikisch conduct the Berlin Philharmonic, a major influence. He then returned to Austria as director of the opera and symphony concerts in Graz. In 1922, he joined the conducting staff of the Vienna State Opera and teacher of the conducting class in the Vienna Singakademie. He conducted the Vienna Tonkünstler concerts from 1923 to 1927, and was Intendant of the opera in Frankfurt and director of the Museum concerts there from 1924 to 1929.

Riga City in Latvia

Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 637,827 inhabitants (2018), it is also the largest city in the three Baltic states, home to one third of Latvia's population and one tenth of the three Baltic states' combined population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava river. Riga's territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies 1–10 m above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain.

Nuremberg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Nuremberg is the second-largest city of the German federal state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, and its 511,628 (2016) inhabitants make it the 14th largest city in Germany. On the Pegnitz River and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it lies in the Bavarian administrative region of Middle Franconia, and is the largest city and the unofficial capital of Franconia. Nuremberg forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring cities of Fürth, Erlangen and Schwabach with a total population of 787,976 (2016), while the larger Nuremberg Metropolitan Region has approximately 3.5 million inhabitants. The city lies about 170 kilometres (110 mi) north of Munich. It is the largest city in the East Franconian dialect area.

Szczecin Place in West Pomeranian, Poland

Szczecin is the capital and largest city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. Located near the Baltic Sea and the German border, it is a major seaport and Poland's seventh-largest city. As of June 2018, the population was 403,274.

He guest-conducted in the United States in 1929, with the Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Also in 1929, he was appointed director of the Vienna State Opera. Its orchestra, which was part of the independent concert entity known as the Vienna Philharmonic, appointed him its music director in 1930. He was a regular conductor at the Salzburg Festival from 1926 to 1934, where in 1930 he conducted Alban Berg's avant-garde atonal opera Wozzeck .

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Philadelphia Orchestra American symphony orchestra in Philadelphia, PA

The Philadelphia Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, the orchestra is based at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, where it performs its subscription concerts, numbering over 130 annually, in Verizon Hall.

New York Philharmonic American symphony orchestra in New York, NY

The New York Philharmonic, officially the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, Inc., globally known as New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO) or New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, is a symphony orchestra based in New York City. It is one of the leading American orchestras popularly referred to as the "Big Five". The Philharmonic's home is David Geffen Hall, located in New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Krauss gave up his Vienna positions in 1933-34 to direct the Berlin State Opera in 1935 after Erich Kleiber had resigned in protest against Nazi policies. In 1933, he took over the preparations for the premieres of Richard Strauss's opera Arabella after the departure of conductor Fritz Busch (another non-Jewish anti-Nazi). [3] Krauss's own position on Nazism was unclear, although he did enjoy a close relationship with Nazi official Alfred Frauenfeld and it has been claimed that he sought Nazi Party membership in 1933. [4] However, throughout the 1930s he and his wife were involved in helping Jews escape from Germany. After befriending British novelist Ida Cook and her sister Mary, both opera fans, he gave cover to their smuggling operation (started after Viorica asked the Cooks to assist a Jewish friend). Munich Opera House shows were arranged around the times and cities that the Cooks needed to make contact with escapees. [5]

Berlin State Opera opera house

The Berlin State Opera is a German opera company based in Berlin. Its permanent home is the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, commonly referred to as Lindenoper, in the central Mitte district, which also hosts the Staatskapelle Berlin orchestra. Originally the Hofoper from 1742, it was named Königliches Opernhaus in 1844, and Staatsoper Unter den Linden in 1918. From 1949 to 1990 it housed the state opera of East Germany. Since 2004, the State Opera company belongs to the Berlin Opera Foundation, like the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Komische Oper Berlin, the Berlin State Ballet, and the Bühnenservice Berlin.

Erich Kleiber Austrian conductor

Erich Kleiber was an eminent Austrian conductor and a composer.

<i>Arabella</i> lyric comedy/opera by Richard Strauss

Arabella, Op. 79, is a lyric comedy, or opera, in three acts by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, their sixth and last operatic collaboration.

In 1937, he was appointed Intendant of the National Theatre Munich following Hans Knappertsbusch's resignation. He became a close friend of Strauss, and even wrote the libretto for his opera Capriccio which he premiered in Munich in 1942. He also conducted the premieres of Strauss's operas Friedenstag and Die Liebe der Danae . During the early 1940s, he taught at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg where among his pupils was composer Roman Toi. [6]

After the Munich opera house had been destroyed by Allied bombing, Krauss returned to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in 1944-45 until it ceased activities shortly before the end of World War II. After the war, Allied officials investigated his career and forbade him from appearing in public until 1947,[ citation needed ] when it emerged that he had helped Jews escape from the Third Reich. Krauss then resumed conducting many of the Vienna Philharmonic's concerts, including its famous annual New Year's Day pops concerts featuring Johann and Josef Strauss waltzes, overtures and polkas, many of which were recorded for Decca along with other studio recordings of mostly Johann, Josef and Richard Strauss.

He conducted opera at Covent Garden in London starting in 1951, and at the 1953 Bayreuth Festival (including an impressive Wagner Ring cycle now available on CD, starring Astrid Varnay as Brunnhilde). He also recorded a highly regarded Parsifal at Bayreuth, starring Martha Mödl as Kundry, in 1953, at the height of Mödl's brief prime.

He died in 1954 while on tour with the Vienna Philharmonic in Mexico City, and is buried alongside his wife, singer Viorica Ursuleac, who died in 1985, in Ehrwald, Austria.

Walk of Fame Vienna Musik Meile Wien, Clemens Krauss (41).jpg
Walk of Fame Vienna

Krauss made relatively few recordings; but his amiable, spirited 1950 Decca rendition of Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus , with the Vienna Philharmonic and State Opera star soloists (not including any of the dialogue; only the second complete recording after a pre–World War I acoustical 78 set made in Berlin), is still regarded by many as the best, most authentic and most "gemütlich." His 1953 live performance of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle from Bayreuth is highly regarded. A performance with the Vienna Symphony of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy , reissued on more than one inexpensive label since its original appearance on a Vox LP, is also one of the few recordings featuring pianist Friedrich Wührer. All three have been reissued on compact disc.

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References

  1. Notes to a reissue of Krauss' Decca recordings of the orchestral music of Richard Strauss, Testament SBT1184
  2. (in French) http://geneweb.inria.fr/roglo?lang=fr;m=N;v=baltazzi%5B%5D Baltazzi family tree
  3. All Music Guide Biography
  4. Michael H. Kater, The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich, 1999, p. 52
  5. BBC News: The opera-loving sisters who 'stumbled' into heroism (28/1/2017)
  6. Rick MacMillan. "Roman Toi". The Canadian Encyclopedia . Archived from the original on 11 May 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.

Bibliography

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Erich Kleiber
Music Director, Staatsoper Unter den Linden
1935-1936
Succeeded by
Herbert von Karajan