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Burkhard, Willy

Burkhard, Willy

Burkhard, Willy, significant Swiss composer and pedagogue; b. Leubringen bei Biel, April 17, 1900; d. Zurich, June 18, 1955. After graduating from the Muristalden teachers’s training college, he took up music studies with E. Graf in Bern; he then pursued training with Karg- Elert and Teichmüller in Leipzig (1921), Courvoisier in Munich (1922–23), and d’Ollone in Paris (1923–24). He taught theory at the Bern Cons. (1928–33), and later theory and composition at the Zurich Cons. (1942–55). His music was neo-Classical in form and strongly polyphonic; his astringent linear idiom was tempered by a strong sense of modal counterpoint. He made an especially important contribution to church music.


DRAMATIC: Opera: Die Schwarze Spinne (1947-48; Zurich, May 28, 1949; rev. 1954).orch.: 2 violin concertos: No. 1 (1925) and No. 2 (1943; Zurich, Jan. 26, 1946); 2 syms. (1926-28; Sym. in 1 Movement, 1944); Ulenspiegel Variations (1932); Fantasy for Strings (1934); Small Serenade for Strings (1935); Concerto for Strings (1937); Toccata for Strings (1939); Laupen-Suite (1940); Concertino for Cello and Strings (1940); Organ Concerto (1945); Hymne for Organ and Orch. (1945); Concertante Suite (1946); Piccola sinfonia giocosa for Small Orch. (1949); Fantasia mattutina (1949); Toccata for 4 Winds, Percussion, and Strings (Zurich, Dec. 7, 1951); Sonata da camera for Strings and Percussion (1952); Viola Concerto (1953); Concertino for 2 Flutes, Harpsichord, and Strings (1954).chamber: String Trio (1926); Piano Trio (1936); Violin Sonatina (1936); Suite for 2 Violins (1937); Sonata for Solo Viola (1939); String Quartet in 1 Movement (1943); Serenade for 8 Instruments (1945); Romance for Horn and Piano (1945); Violin Sonata (1946); Cello Sonata (1952); Serenade for Flute and Clarinet (1953); Suite for Flute (1954–55).keyboard: piano: Sonata (1942); 6 Preludes (1954–55). organ:Fantasie (1931); Choral- Triptychon (1953).vocal: oratorios:Das Gesicht Jesajas (1933-35; Basel, Feb. 18, 1936); Das Jahr (1940-41; Basel, Feb. 19, 1942). cantatas:Biblische Kantate (1923); Till Ulenspiegel (1929); Vorfrühling (1930); Spruchkantate (1933); Genug ist nicht genug (1938-39; Basel, June 11, 1940); Lob der Musik (1939); Cantate Domino (1940); Heimatliche Kantate (1940); Psalmen-Kantate (1952); various other cantatas.other:Te Deum for Chorus, Trumpet, Trombone, Kettledrum, and Organ (1931); Das ewige Brausen for Bass and Chamber Orch. (1936); Psalm 93 for Chorus and Organ (1937); Kreuzvolk der Schweiz for Chorus and Organ (1941); Magnificat for Soprano and Strings (1942); Cantique de notre terre for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1943); Mass for Soprano, Bass, Chorus, and Orch. (Zurich, June 28, 1951); Psalm 148 for Chorus and Instruments (1954).


H. Zurlinden, W. B.(Erlenbach, 1956); E. Mohr, W. B.: Leben und Werk (Zurich, 1957); S. Burkhard and F. Inder-mühle, W. B. (17. April 1900-18. Juni 1955) Werkverzeichnis (Liebefeld, 1968).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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