Braunfels, Walter

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Braunfels, Walter

Braunfels, Walter, German composer and pedagogue; b. Frankfurt am Main, Dec. 19, 1882; d. Cologne, March 19, 1954. He studied piano in Vienna with Leschetizky and composition in Munich with Thuille. In 1925 he became a co-director of the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. With the advent of the Nazi regime in 1933, he was compelled to abandon teaching; after the collapse of the Third Reich in 1945, he reorganized the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne and served as its director until 1950. He excelled mainly as an opera composer; the following operas are notable: F alada (Essen, May 24, 1906); Prinzessin Brambilla (Stuttgart, March 25, 1909; rev. 1931); Ulenspiegel (Stuttgart, Nov. 9, 1913); Die Vógel, after Aristophanes (Munich, Dec. 4, 1920; his most successful opera); Don Gil von den gruñen Hosen (Munich, Nov. 15, 1924); Der glaserne Berg (Krefeld, Dec. 4, 1928); Galatea (Cologne, Jan. 26, 1930); Der Trautn, Ein Leben (1937); Die heilige Johanna (1942); also a mystery play, Verkündigung, after Paul Claudel (1936). He further wrote 2 piano concertos; Organ Concerto; Revelation of St. John for Tenor, Double Chorus, and Orch.; piano music and songs. He believed in the artistic and practical value of Wagnerian leading motifs; in his harmonies he was close to Richard Strauss, but he also applied impressionistic devices related to Debussy

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire