Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pfitzner - String Quartet in D Minor

Hans Pfitzner (1869 - 1949) was a German composer best known for his operas.  His music was highly regarded by Mahler and Richard Strauss, although neither of them liked Pfitzner personally.

He was appointed to a moderately prestigious post of opera director and head of the conservatory in Strasbourg in 1908 when he was 40 years old.  After the First World War, France annexed Strasbourg and Pfitzner lost his job and livelihood at the age of 50.  This event hardened his already coarse personality and his elitism. He became a outspoken opponent of any modern trends in music.

His life during the Second World War was one of complacency on the one hand, and a cooperative spirit with the Nazis when he wanted something.  He worked with Jewish musicians in the early part of the Nazi era, but used anti semite invective when it suited his purpose.  It was all to no avail, as he eventually fell out of favor with the Nazis and towards the end of the war was homeless and suffered from mental illness. After the war he was denazified and given a pension, performance bans for his music were lifted and he was given a place to live in an old folks home in Vienna Austria.

He wrote 4 string quartets with his String Quartet in D minor No. 1 being written when he was 17 years old.

Pfiztner's String Quartet In D Minor:

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