Enna, August (Emil)

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Enna, August (Emil)

Enna, August (Emil), eminent Danish composer;b. Nakskov, May 13, 1859; d. Copenhagen, Aug. 3, 1939. He was partly of German and Italian blood; his grand-father, an Italian soldier in Napoleon’s army, married a German girl, and settled in Denmark. Enna was taken to Copenhagen as a child, and learned to play piano and violin. He had sporadic instruction in theory, and later became a member of a traveling orch. and played with it in Finland (1880). Upon his return to Copenhagen, he taught piano and played for dancers. In 1883 he became music director of Werner’s Theatrical Soc. and wrote his first stage work, A Village Tale, which he produced the same year. After these practical experiences, he began to study seriously. He took lessons with Schjorring (violin), Matthesson (organ), and Rasmussen (composition) and soon publ. a number of piano pieces, which attracted the attention of Niels Gade, who used his influence to obtain a traveling fellowship for Enna. This made it possible for Enna to study in Germany (1888–89) and acquire a complete mastery of instrumental and vocal writing. He followed the German Romantic school, being influenced mainly by Weber’s type of opera, and by Grieg and Gade in the use of local color. The first product of this period was his most successful work, the opera Heksen (The Witch), produced in Copenhagen (Jan. 24, 1892), then in Germany.


DRAMATIC Opera : Agleia (1884); Heksen (Copenhagen, Jan. 24, 1892); Cleopatra (Copenhagen, Feb. 7, 1894); Aucassin and Nicolette (Copenhagen, Feb. 2, 1896); The Match Girl, after Andersen (Copenhagen, Nov. 13, 1897); Lamia (Antwerp, Oct. 3, 1899); Ung Elskov (1st produced in Weimar, under the title Heisse Liebe, Dec. 6, 1904); Princess on the Pea, after Andersen (Arhus, Sept. 15, 1900); The Nightingale, after Andersen (Copenhagen, Nov. 10, 1912); Gloria Arsena (Copenhagen, April 15, 1917); Comedians, after Victor Hugo’s L’Homme qui rit (Copenhagen, April 8, 1920); Don Juan Manara (Copenhagen, April 17, 1925). B a 1 1 e t : The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep (Copenhagen, Oct. 6, 1901); St. Cecilia’s Golden Shoe (Copenhagen, Dec. 26, 1904); The Kiss (Copenhagen, Oct. 19, 1927). OTHER: Violin Concerto (1897); 2 syms. (1886, 1908); an overture, Hans Christian Andersen (1905); choral pieces.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire