Beck, Conrad

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Beck, Conrad

Beck, Conrad, distinguished Swiss composer; b. Lohn, June 16, 1901; d. Basel, Oct. 31, 1989. He was a student of Andreae, Laquai, and Baldegger at the Zurich Cons. After further training in Paris and Berlin, he settled in Basel in 1932 and served as director of the music division of the Radio (1939–66). In 1964 he was awarded the arts prize of the city. After composing in a late Romantic style, he developed a highly effective neo-Baroque means of expression.


DRAMATIC: La grande ourse, ballet (1935–36); St. Jakob an der Birs, festival play (1943–44). ORCH.: 5 syms.: No. 1 (1925), No. 2, Sinfonietta (1926), No. 3 for Strings (1927), No. 4, Concerto for Oral., for Strings (1929), and No. 5 (1930); Aeneas-Silvius-Sinfonie (1957; Zürich, Feb. 25, 1958); Cello Concerto (1927); Concerto for String Quartet and Orch. (1929); Innominata (1931); Konzertmusik for Oboe and Strings (1933); Piano Concerto (1933); Serenade for Flute, Clarinet, and Strings (1935); Ostinato (1935–36); Rhapsodie for Piano, 4 Woodwinds, and Strings (1936); Violin Concerto (1940); Flute Concerto (1941); Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings (1942); Viola Concerto (1949); Mouvement (1953); Suite concertante for Wind, Double Bass, and Percussion (1961); Concertato (1964); Clarinet Concerto (1967–68); Chamber Concerto (1971); Concerto for Wind Quintet and Orch. (1976); Drei Aspekte for Chamber Orch. (1976); Cercles (1978–79); Nachklange (1984). CHAMBER: 5 string quartets (1922, 1924, 1926, 1934, 1962); Duo for Violin and Flute (1927); 2 string trios (1928–1946); Duo for Violin and Viola (1934); 3 Bilder aus dem Struwwelpeter for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Piano (1934); Violin Sonata (1946); Cello Sonata (1954); Duo for 2 Violins (1960); Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, and Violin (1970); piano pieces; organ music. VOCAL: Requiem (1930); Oratorium for Voice, Chorus, and Orch. (1934); Der Tod zu Basel for Speaker, Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orch. (1952; Basel, May 22, 1953); Herbstfeuer for Alto and Chamber Orch. (1956); Die Sonnenfinsternis, cantata for Alto and Chamber Orch. (Lucerne, Aug. 25, 1967); other cantatas, choral pieces, and songs.


W. Schuh and D. Larese, C. B.: Eine Lebensskizze: Der Komponist und sein Werk (Amriswil, 1972).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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