Giselher Klebe

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Giselher Klebe
Giselher Klebe 2008.jpg
The composer at his desk in April 2008
Born(1925-06-28)28 June 1925
Died5 October 2009(2009-10-05) (aged 84)
  • Composer
  • Academic teacher
Organization Hochschule für Musik Detmold
Spouse(s)Lore Klebe
Awards Academy of Arts

Giselher Wolfgang Klebe (28 June 1925 5 October 2009) was a German composer, and an academic teacher. He composed more than 140 works, among them 14 literary operas, eight symphonies, 15 solo concerts, chamber music, piano works, and sacred music.

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.

Opera artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

Symphony extended musical composition

A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, most often written by composers for orchestra. Although the term has had many meanings from its origins in the ancient Greek era, by the late 18th century the word had taken on the meaning common today: a work usually consisting of multiple distinct sections or movements, often four, with the first movement in sonata form. Symphonies are almost always scored for an orchestra consisting of a string section, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments which altogether number about 30 to 100 musicians. Symphonies are notated in a musical score, which contains all the instrument parts. Orchestral musicians play from parts which contain just the notated music for their own instrument. Some symphonies also contain vocal parts.



Giselher Klebe was born in Mannheim, Germany. He received musical tuition early in his life from his mother, the violinist Gertrud Klebe. The family relocated in 1932 to Munich, where his mother's sister, Melanie Michaelis, continued the training. His father's profession required a further relocation in 1936 to Rostock. [1]

Mannheim Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Mannheim is a city in the southwestern part of Germany, the third-largest in the German state of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart and Karlsruhe with a 2015 population of approximately 305,000 inhabitants. The city is at the centre of the larger densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region which has a population of 2,400,000 and is Germany's eighth-largest metropolitan region.

Rostock Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Rostock is a city in the north German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Rostock is on the Warnow river; the district of Warnemünde, 12 kilometres north of the city centre, is directly on the Baltic Sea coast. Rostock is the largest city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, as well as its only regiopolis.

Following the separation of his parents, Klebe moved with his mother and sister to Berlin. During 1938, the 13-year-old sketched his first compositions. In 1940, he began studies in violin, viola, and composition, supported by a grant from the city of Berlin.

Musical composition aesthetic ordering and disposing of musical information

Musical composition, or simply composition, can refer to an original piece or work of music, either vocal or instrumental, the structure of a musical piece, or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions are called composers. Composers of primarily songs are usually called songwriters; with songs, the person who writes lyrics for a song is the lyricist. In many cultures, including Western classical music, the act of composing typically includes the creation of music notation, such as a sheet music "score," which is then performed by the composer or by other instrumental musicians or singers. In popular music and traditional music, songwriting may involve the creation of a basic outline of the song, called the lead sheet, which sets out the melody, lyrics and chord progression. In classical music, orchestration is typically done by the composer, but in musical theatre and in pop music, songwriters may hire an arranger to do the orchestration. In some cases, a pop or traditional songwriter may not use written notation at all, and instead compose the song in their mind and then play, sing and/or record it from memory. In jazz and popular music, notable sound recordings by influential performers are given the weight that written or printed scores play in classical music.

After serving his Reichsarbeitsdienst (labour service), Klebe was conscripted to military service as signalman. After the German surrender, he was taken prisoner of war by the Russian forces. Due to ill health, he was soon released.

Signalman (rank) military rank

Signalman was a U.S. Navy rating for sailors that specialized in visual communication. See Signaller for more about the roles of Signalmen.

Having convalesced, Klebe continued his music studies in Berlin (19461951), first under Joseph Rufer, then in master classes by Boris Blacher. He worked for the radio station Berliner Rundfunk until 1948, when he began to work full-time as a composer.

A master class is a class given to students of a particular discipline by an expert of that discipline—usually music, but also painting, drama, any of the arts, or on any other occasion where skills are being developed.

Boris Blacher German composer

Boris Blacher was a German composer and librettist.

The Berliner Rundfunk (BERU) was a radio station set in East Germany. It had a political focus and discussed events in East Berlin. Today it is a commercial radio station broadcast with the name "Berliner Rundfunk 91.4".

Klebe was inspired and influenced by works of authors and artists, especially his contemporaries. In 1951 he composed Die Zwitschermaschine Op. 7, (The Twittering Machine), based on the well-known painting by Paul Klee. [2] His first opera, based on Friedrich Schiller's play Die Räuber ( The Robbers ), was produced in 1957. [2] He composed two operas based on plays by Ödön von Horváth.

<i>Twittering Machine</i> painting by Paul Klee

Twittering Machine is a 1922 watercolor and pen and ink oil transfer on paper by Swiss-German painter Paul Klee. Like other artworks by Klee, it blends biology and machinery, depicting a loosely sketched group of birds on a wire or branch connected to a hand-crank. Interpretations of the work vary widely: it has been perceived as a nightmarish lure for the viewer or a depiction of the helplessness of the artist, but also as a triumph of nature over mechanical pursuits. It has been seen as a visual representation of the mechanics of sound.

Paul Klee German painter

Paul Klee was a Swiss-born artist. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually deeply explored color theory, writing about it extensively; his lectures Writings on Form and Design Theory, published in English as the Paul Klee Notebooks, are held to be as important for modern art as Leonardo da Vinci's A Treatise on Painting for the Renaissance. He and his colleague, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, both taught at the Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture. His works reflect his dry humor and his sometimes childlike perspective, his personal moods and beliefs, and his musicality.

Friedrich Schiller German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents of their philosophical vision.

In 1957, Klebe succeeded Wolfgang Fortner as docent for the subjects of Composition and Music Theory at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold. He was appointed professor in 1962 and, over the years, taught many students who went on to become well-known composers: Theo Brandmüller, Peter Michael Braun  [ de ], Hans Martin Corrinth  [ de ], Matthias Pintscher, and Lars Woldt  [ de ]. [1]

Honors and legacy

Marriage and family

On 10 September 1946 Klebe married the violinist Lore Schiller. They had two daughters, Sonja Katharina and Annette Marianne. Lore Klebe wrote the librettos for some of his operas, including Der Jüngste Tag (Doomsday). [1]

Klebe died on 5 October 2009 in Detmold at the age of 84 after a long illness. [3]


4Piano sonataPiano sonata
7Die ZwitschermaschineOrchestral
13Wiegenlieder für ChristinchenPiano
22Elegia appassionataPiano trio
25 Die Räuber The RobbersOpera
264 InventionsPiano
27 Die tödlichen Wünsche The Deadly WishesOpera
29Cello Concerto No. 1Cello concerto
32 Die Ermordung Cäsars The Murder of CaesarOpera
36 Alkmene Opera
37Adagio and Fugue with a motif from Wagner's Die Walküre Orchestral
399 Duettini per pianoforte e flautoDuo
40 Figaro läßt sich scheiden Figaro Gets DivorcedOpera
49 Jacobowsky und der Oberst Jacobovsky and the ColonelOpera
50Concerto a cinqueConcerto
53Symphony No. 3 (1966)Symphony
55 Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie The Fairy Tale of the Fair LilyOpera
61Das TestamentOrchestral
69 Ein wahrer Held A True HeroOpera
70NeniaChamber music
72 Das Mädchen aus Domrémy The Girl from DomrémyOpera
75Symphony No. 5 (197677)Symphony
769 Piano pieces for SonjaPiano
78 Das Rendezvous Opera
82 Der Jüngste Tag DoomsdayOpera
87String Quartet No. 3String quartet
90 Die Fastnachtsbeichte Carnival ConfessionOpera
119 Gervaise Macquart Opera
120Symphony No. 6 (1996)Symphony
133MignonViolin concerto
149 Chlestakows Wiederkehr Khlestakov's ReturnOpera

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<i>Die tödlichen Wünsche</i> opera

Die tödlichen Wünsche, Op. 27, is an opera by Giselher Klebe who also wrote the libretto based on La Peau de chagrin by Honoré de Balzac. It consists of fifteen lyrical scenes in three acts. It premiered on 14 June 1959 at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, conducted by Reinhard Peters, and was published by Boosey & Hawkes. The opera was revived in 2006 at the Landestheater Detmold on the occasion of the composer's 80th birthday.

<i>Alkmene</i> (opera) opera by Giselher Klebe

Alkmene (Alcmene), op. 36, is an opera in three acts, with music and libretto by Giselher Klebe. Klebe based the libretto on Amphitryon by Heinrich von Kleist, which in turn was based on Molière's play of the same name. The composer dedicated the work to his mother, the violinist Gertrud Klebe.

<i>Jacobowsky und der Oberst</i> (opera) opera

Jacobowsky und der Oberst, Op. 49, is an opera in four acts by Giselher Klebe who also wrote the libretto based on the 1944 play of the Jacobowsky und der Oberst by Franz Werfel.

<i>Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie</i> opera

Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie, Op. 55, is an opera in two acts by Giselher Klebe; his wife, Lore Klebe, wrote the libretto based on the fairy tale, Das Märchen, part of the novella Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

<i>Der Jüngste Tag</i> opera

Der Jüngste Tag, op.82, is an opera in three acts composed by Giselher Klebe. His wife, Lore Klebe, wrote the libretto based on the play of the same name by Ödön von Horváth.

<i>Chlestakows Wiederkehr</i> opera

Chlestakows Wiederkehr, op.149, is an opera in three acts by Giselher Klebe. He also wrote the libretto, based on the play Der Revisor by Nikolai Gogol. The work lasts about 70 minutes.

<i>Gervaise Macquart</i> opera

Gervaise Macquart, op. 119, is an opera in two acts by Giselher Klebe. His wife, Lore Klebe, wrote the libretto based on the novel L'Assommoir by Émile Zola.

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  1. 1 2 3 Schäfer, Brigitte (28 June 2005). "Giselher Klebe" (in German). Archived from the original on 2012-11-20. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Giselher Klebe", Naxos, accessed 13 Feb 2010
  3. 1 2 Giselher Klebe, profile, City of Detmold (in German)