This article needs additional citations for verification . (February 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Hans (Heinrich) Keller (11 March 1919 –6 November 1985) was an Austrian-born British musician and writer, who made significant contributions to musicology and music criticism, as well as being a commentator on such disparate fields as psychoanalysis and football. In the late 1950s, he invented the method of "wordless functional analysis", in which a musical composition is analysed in musical sound alone, without any words being heard or read. He worked full-time for the BBC between 1959 and 1979.
Keller was born into a wealthy and culturally well-connected Jewish family in Vienna,and, as a boy, was taught by the same Oskar Adler who had, decades earlier, been Arnold Schoenberg's boyhood friend and first teacher. He also came to know the composer and performer Franz Schmidt, but was never a formal pupil. In 1938, the Anschluss forced Keller to flee to London (where he had relatives), and, in the years that followed, he became a prominent and influential figure in the UK's musical and music-critical life. Initially active as a violinist and violist, he soon found his niche as a highly prolific and provocative writer on music, as well as an influential teacher, lecturer, broadcaster and coach.
An original thinker never afraid of controversy, Keller's passionate support of composers whose work he saw as under-valued or insufficiently understood made him a tireless advocate of Benjamin Britten and Arnold Schoenberg, as well as an illuminating analyst of figures such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Many of Keller's earliest articles appeared in the journals Music Review and Music Survey , the latter of which was co-edited by him after he joined the founding editor Donald Mitchell for the so-called 'New Series' (1949–52). In later years, much of his advocacy was carried out from within the BBC, where he came to hold several senior positions and was a regular contributor to The Listener magazine.
It was also from within the BBC that Keller (in collaboration with Susan Bradshaw) perpetrated in 1961 the "Piotr Zak" hoax, broadcasting a deliberately nonsensical series of random noises, as a new modernist piece by a fictitious Polish composer. The hoax was designed to demonstrate the poor quality of critical discourse surrounding contemporary music at a problematic stage in its historical development; in this aspect, the hoax was a failure, as no critic expressed any particular enthusiasm for Piotr Zak's piece, with all published reviews being roundly dismissive of the work.[ citation needed ]
In 1967, Keller had an famous encounter with the rock group Pink Floyd (then called "The Pink Floyd") on the TV show The Look of the Week. Keller was generally puzzled by, or even contemptuous of, the group and its music, repeatedly returning to the criticism that they were too loud for his taste. He ended his interview segment with the band by saying: "My verdict is that it is a little bit of a regression to childhood – but, after all, why not?"[ citation needed ]
Keller's gift for systematic thinking, allied to his philosophical and psycho-analytic knowledge, bore fruit in the method of "wordless functional analysis" (abbreviated by the football-loving Keller as "FA"), designed to furnish incontrovertibly audible demonstrations of a masterwork's "all-embracing background unity". This method was developed in tandem with a "Theory of Music" that explicitly considered musical structure from the point of view of listener expectations; the "meaningful contradiction" of expected "background" by unexpectable "foreground" was seen as generating a work's expressive content. An element of Keller's theory of unity was the "Principle of Reversed and Postponed Antecedents and Consequents", which has not been widely adopted. His term "homotonality", however, has proved useful to musicologists in several fields.
Keller was married to the artist Milein Cosman, whose drawings illustrated some of his work.
As a man prominent in the world of 'contemporary music' (even working for several years as the BBC's "Chief Assistant, New Music"), Keller had close personal and professional ties with many composers and was frequently the dedicatee of new compositions. Those who dedicated works to him include:
In December 1979, Keller received the "Special Award" of the Composers' Guild of Great Britain. In September 1985, just weeks before his death from motor neurone disease, he received from the President of Austria the Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst, 1 Klasse ("Cross of Honour for Arts and Sciences, 1st Class"). His manuscripts (radio broadcasts and musicological writings) are kept at the Cambridge University Library.
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).
Robert Wilfred Levick Simpson was an English composer and long-serving BBC producer and broadcaster.
Frank Bridge was an English composer, violist and conductor.
PiotrZak is the name of a fictional Polish composer whose alleged composition Mobile for Tape and Percussion was broadcast twice on the BBC Third Programme on 5 June 1961 in a performance supposedly played by "Claude Tessier" and "Anton Schmidt". In fact, the composer and the performers were pseudonyms of BBC producers Hans Keller and Susan Bradshaw, who concocted the deliberately unmusical percussive piece as a hoax. The success of the hoax, however, is open to question. While Mobile for Tape and Percussion was reviewed seriously by several critics, all of the reviews were roundly negative, with the piece being almost instantly identified as a "non-musical" studio prank.
Sir Lennox Randal Francis Berkeley was an English composer.
Benjamin Frankel was a British composer. His best known pieces include a cycle of five string quartets, eight symphonies, and concertos for violin and viola. He was also notable for writing over 100 film scores and working as a big band arranger in the 1930s. During the last 15 years of his life, Frankel also developed his own style of 12-note composition which retained contact with tonality.
Ronald James Stevenson was a Scottish composer, pianist, and writer about music.
The Simple Symphony, Op. 4, is a work for string orchestra or string quartet by Benjamin Britten. It was written between December 1933 and February 1934 in Lowestoft, using bits of score that the composer had written for the piano as a young teenager, between 1923 and 1926. It was composed for string orchestra and received its first performance in 1934 at Stuart Hall in Norwich, with Britten conducting an amateur orchestra.
Emilie Cosman, known as Milein Cosman, was a German-born artist based in England. She is best known for her drawings and prints of leading cultural figures, dancers and musicians in action, such as Francis Bacon, Mikhail Baryshnikov, T. S. Eliot and Igor Stravinsky.
Josef Tal was an Israeli composer. He wrote three Hebrew operas; four German operas, dramatic scenes; six symphonies; thirteen concerti; chamber music, including three string quartets; instrumental works; and electronic compositions. He is considered one of the founding fathers of Israeli art music.
George Hadjinikos was a Greek piano soloist, conductor, teacher, and author.
Donald Charles Peter Mitchell CBE was a British writer on music, particularly known for his books on Gustav Mahler and Benjamin Britten and for the book The Language of Modern Music, published in 1963.
Wordless functional analysis is a method of musical analysis developed in the 1950s by the Austrian-born British musician and writer Hans Keller. The method is notable in that, unlike other forms of musical analysis, it is designed to be presented in musical sound alone, without any words being heard or read, and without analytic diagrams of any kind. For this purpose, Keller would construct an analysis in the form of an analytic score written for the same forces as the work under consideration and structured as a succession of 'analytic interludes' designed to be played between its movements.
Felix Khuner was the second violinist of the Kolisch Quartet. He joined the quartet, then the Wien Quartet, in 1926 when the quartet needed a new second violinist. Khuner was reluctant, but when he visited Rudolf Kolisch, he was in conversation with Arnold Schoenberg. "Does the quartet rehearse with Schoenberg?" Khuner asked. When Kolisch answered yes, Khuner agreed to join the quartet. He was also once said to have echoed Kolisch's remarks about Stravinsky's compositions as "music about music". One of the notable places he performed with the Kolisch Quartet was Stephen Foster Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Susan Bradshaw was a British pianist, teacher, writer, and composer. She was mainly associated with contemporary music, and especially with the work of Pierre Boulez, several of whose writings she translated. As a critic and musicologist she contributed to a number of magazines and journals over several decades; the titles included Contact, Music & Musicians, Tempo and The Musical Times.
String Quartet No. 3 in G major, Op. 94, by English composer Benjamin Britten (1913–76) was his last completed major work, and his last completed instrumental work. It was written in October – November 1975 during his final illness: the first four movements at his home, The Red House, Aldeburgh, and the fifth during his last visit to Venice, at Hotel Danieli. It was dedicated to the musicologist Hans Keller. In December 1975, brothers Colin and David Matthews performed it privately for the composer in a piano duet arrangement. During September 1976, Britten worked on it with the Amadeus Quartet; who premiered it on 19 December 1976 at The Maltings, Snape, two weeks after the composer's death.
String Quartet No. 2 in C major, Op. 36, by English composer Benjamin Britten (1913–76), was written in 1945. It was composed in Snape, Suffolk and London, and completed on 14 October. The first performance was by the Zorian Quartet in the Wigmore Hall, London on 21 November 1945, in a concert to mark the exact 250th anniversary of the death of English composer Henry Purcell (1659–95). The work was commissioned by and is dedicated to Mary Behrend, a patron of the arts; Britten donated most of his fee towards famine relief in India.
The Zorian Quartet was an English all-female string quartet ensemble. It was founded in 1942 by and named after violinist Olive Zorian. It gave the premiere performances of, and made the first recordings of, several compositions for string quartet by English composers, including Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett. It also gave the premiere English performances of quartets by Ernest Bloch and Béla Bartók.
String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 25, by English composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), was written in U.S.A. in 1941.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Hans Keller|