Braunfels, Walter (b Frankfurt, 19 Dec 1882; d Cologne, 19 March 1954) was an important composer in Germany in the 1920's and 30's until his music was banned as degenerate and he was branded a halfJew. Most famous as a composer of opera and oratorio, he also wrote several significant orchestral and chamber pieces. Largely thought of as a neoRomantic composer in the tradition of Berlioz, Strauss, Wagner and Mahler, he considered his work to have a strong connection to antiquity, evident in his thematic and literary choices for pieces such as the opera Die Vögel, based on Aristophanes' The Birds.
By James Wierzbicki, drawn in large part from "Hanns Eisler and the FBI," Music & Politics vol. 2, no. 2 (2008).
The reputation of Hanns Eisler (1898-1962) in his native Germany is remarkably different from his reputation in the United States, where he lived from 1937 until 1948. After his American sojourn Eisler settled in East Berlin, where he was promptly elected to the German Academy of Arts and for twelve years served as an esteemed professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik. After his death, the school was renamed the Eisler Conservatory in his honor, and in 1994 the reunified Germany officially supported both the founding of an International Hanns Eisler Society and the launch of a critical edition of Eisler's collected works.
Veniamin Fleishman [Вениамин Иосифович Флейшман] (1913-1941) was a Russian composer and a student of Dmitri Shostakovich. After Fleishman was killed during the Siege of Leningrad, Shostakovich completed his opera, Rothschild’s Violin, considered by many to be one of the finest works of its time.
Hans Gál (1890-1987) was a prolific composer, teacher and scholar throughout his long life. At the height of his powers and his popularity, he was forced to leave Germany and Austria, never again able to achieve the cultural significance he had enjoyed during the years of the Weimar Republic. Gál arrived in England just before the war, and his assimilation was postponed when he, like many other Jewish refugees, was imprisoned in several internment camps for enemy aliens. After the war he became a revered figure in Edinburgh's musical life and continued composing well into his nineties.
Berthold Goldschmidt (1903-1996) could well be a poster boy for one kind of composer in exile. A rising superstar in Germany, his move to England certainly ensured his survival and opened up many opportunities. However, he toiled as a composer, mostly in obscurity, for decades after his emigration. By the late 1950’s he had stopped composing entirely, devoting himself instead to conducting, where he played a vital role in Mahler’s ascendancy in Great Britain. Then around the age of 80, with the growing interest in “Entartete Musik” he had a kind of fourth career, as an increasingly venerated (and productive) figure, composing once again until his death at 93.
Pavel Haas was born into a wealthy and prominent Jewish family in the Moravian capital of Brno. This was a city with a rich cultural life, and it was during Haas' childhood that Leo Janáček established himself as a leading figure, both regionally and nationally. Haas became an important composer of theater and film music, composing music, for example, for Karel Capek's infamous RUR (Rossum's Universal Robots).
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