Jarnach, Philipp

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Jarnach, Philipp

Jarnach, Philipp, French-born German composer and pedagogue of Catalonia-Flemish descent; b. Noisy, July 26, 1892; d. Bornsen, near Bergedorf, Dec. 17, 1982. He was a son of a Catalonian sculptor and a Flemish mother. He studied with Risler (piano) and Lavignac (theory) at the Paris Cons. (1912-14). At the outbreak of World War I, he went to Zürich, where he met Busoni and taught at the Cons. (1915-21); this meeting was a decisive influence on his musical development; he became an ardent disciple of Busoni, and after his death completed Busoni’s last opera, Doktor Faust, which was produced in Jarnach’s version in Dresden on May 21, 1925. During the years 1922-27, Jarnach wrote music criticism for Berlin’s Börsen-Kurier.In 1931 he became a naturalized German citizen. From 1927 to 1949 he was prof. of composition at the Cologne Hochschule für Musik, and from 1949 to 1970 at the Hamburg Cons. Jarnach’s music is determined by his devotion to Busoni’s ideals; it is distinguished by impeccable craftsmanship, but it lacks individuality. He participated in the modern movement in Germany between the two world wars, and many of his works were performed at music festivals during that period. He wrote Prolog zu einem Ritterspiel for Orch. (1917), Sinfonia brevis (1923), Musik mit Mozart for Orch. (1935), String Quintet (1920), String Quartet (1924), Musik zum Gedächtnis des Einsamen for String Quartet (1952; also for Orch.), piano pieces, and songs.


E. Klussmann, Der Künstler P. J. und das Gesetz (Hamburg, 1952); S. Weiss, Die Musik P. J.s (Cologne, 1996).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire