A native of Munich, Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963) was without a shadow of a doubt the greatest symphonist in the Central European tradition since Bruckner and Mahler. The sketches and early versions of six of his eight symphonies had their origins in one of the darkest periods in world history – from 1933 to 1945 – when the Nazis were in power and Hartmann gradually withdrew completely from public life. This period, which culminated in Hartmann’s own ‘Innere Emigration’ (inner emigration), represented a decisive turning point in his creative development. The question of what his music might have become had the Second World War and the period immediately preceding it not occurred, is thus an intriguing one. After all, in the years before, he had adopted a playful, neoclassical style influenced by jazz and Dadaism with which he hardly distinguished himself from his contemporaries. But after that (and, it should be noted, with no prospect of performance in sight), Hartmann created a musical language that was highly indebted to those composers whose music the Nazis had banned, such as Mahler, Berg, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Bartók. Accordingly, that language can be seen as Hartmann’s resounding declaration of solidarity with those victims. Indeed, he fully employs this language not only in his eight monumental symphonies, but also in his opera Simplicius Simplicissimus (composed in 1936 and revised in 1957), based on the 1669 novel Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen (1621-1676). To some extent, this opera can be seen as the foundation for Hartmann’s orchestral oeuvre.
Total time: 03:18:13
Bert van der Wolf
|Original Recording Format|
No. 1-3,6-8 Dutchview Holland, No. 4 Jaap de Jong, No. 5 Bert van der Wolf
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|Release Date||October 8, 2014|
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