Krâsa, Hans (actually, Johann)

views updated

Krâsa, Hans (actually, Johann)

Krâsa, Hans (actually, Johann), Czech composer; b. Prague, Nov. 30, 1899; d. probably in the concentration camp in Auschwitz, Oct. 16(?), 1944. He began playing piano and composing as a child. He later studied with Zemlinsky at the Cons. and at the Deutsche Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Prague. After working at the Kroll Opera in Berlin (1927), he returned to Prague as répétiteur at the New German Theater. He subsequently became involved in avant-garde artistic circles and devoted much time to composition. Following the German occupation of his homeland, Krâsa was active at the Prague Jewish orphanage until the Nazis deported him to the Jewish ghetto camp in Theresienstadt in 1942. He continued to compose and to have works performed there. On the night of Oct. 16, 1942, Krâsa was herded into a railway car by the Nazis and never seen again. It is presumed that he was put to death in the concentration camp in Auschwitz. Krâsa adopted a neo-Classical style of composition enlivened by comedic and grotesque elements.


dramatic:Die Verlobung in Traum, opera (Prague, May 18, 1933); Mláadí ve hre, incidental music to A. Hoffmeister’s play (1935); Brundibár (The Bumble Bee), children’s opera (1938; rev. version, Theresienstadt camp, Sept. 23, 1943). orch.: Sym. for Small Orch. (1923); Overture for Small Orch. (n.d.). chamber: 2 string quartets (1923; Theme and Variations, 1943-44); Chamber Music for Harpsichord and 7 Instruments (1936); Passacaglia and Fugue for String Trio (1943); Dance for String Trio (1944). vocal:Vier Orchesterlieder nach Gedichten von Christian Morgenstern (1921); Fünf Lieder for Voice and Piano (1926); Die Erde ist des Herrn for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1932); Tři pisnë (3 songs) for High Voice, Clarinet, Viola, and Cello, after Rimbaud (1943).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire