Vogel, Wladimir (Rudolfovich)

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Vogel, Wladimir (Rudolfovich)

Vogel, Wladimir (Rudolfovich), significant German-Russian-born Swiss composer; b. Moscow (of a German father and a Russian mother), Feb. 29, 1896; d. Zürich, June 19,1984. He began composing in his youth. At the outbreak of World War I (1914), he was interned in Russia as an enemy alien; after the Armistice in 1918, he went to Berlin, where he studied with Tiessen (1919-21) and Busoni (1921-24). He was greatly influenced by both Busoni and Schoenberg. From 1929 to 1933 Vogel taught at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Cons, in Berlin; with the advent to power of the Nazi government, Vogel, although not a Jew, chose to leave Germany. He worked in Strasbourg and Brussels with Scherchen on various problems of musical techniques; then went to Switzerland, and in 1954 became a naturalized Swiss citizen. Vogel’s idiom of composition underwent several changes throughout the years. A convinced believer in the mystical power of music, he felt great affinity with Scriabin’s mystical ideas and techniques; he built his melodies along the upper overtones of the harmonic series, and his harmonies on a massive superimposition of perfect fourths and tritones. Gradually he approached the method of composition in 12 tones as promulgated by Schoenberg, while Busoni’s precepts of neo-Classical structures governed Vogel’s own works as far as formal design was concerned; many of his polyphonic compositions adhered to the Classical harmonic structures in four parts, which he maintained even in choral pieces using the Sprechstimme. Serialist procedures were adumbrated in Vogel- music through the astute organization of melodic and rhythmic elements.


ORCH. Sinfonia fugata (1924); 4 Studies: Ritmica funebre, Ritmica scherzosa, Ostinato perpetuo,and Ritmica ostinata (1930-32); Rallye (1932); Tripartita (1934; Geneva, Nov. 21,1935); Violin Concerto (1937); Passacaglia (1946); Sept aspects d’une série de douze sons (1949-50); Spiegelungen (1952; Frankfurt am Main, June 26, 1953); Cello Concerto (1954; Zürich, Nov. 27, 1956); Interludio lirico (1954); Preludio, Interludio lirico, Postludio (1954); Hörformen I (1967) and II (1967-69); Cantique en forme d’un canon à quatre voix (1969); Abschiedfor Strings (1973); Meloformenfor Strings (1974); Hommagefor Strings (1974). CHAMBER: La Ticinellafor Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, and Bassoon (1941); 12 variétudesfor Flute, Clarinet, Violin, and Cello (1942); Inspiré par Jean Arpfor Violin, Flute, Clarinet, and Cello (1965); Analogien,“Hörformen” for String Quartet (1973); Monophoniefor Violin (1974); Für Flöte, Oboe, Klarinette, und Fagott (1974); Poèmefor Cello (1974); Terzettfor Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1975). Piano: Nature vivante,6 expressionistic pieces (1917-21); Einsames Getröpfel und Gewuchsel (1921; rev. 1968); Dai tempi più remoti,3 pieces (1922-31; rev. 1968); Etude-Toccata (1926); Epitaffio per Alban Berg (1936); Klavier-eigene Interpretationsstudie einer varierten Zwölftonfolge (1972); 4 Versionen einer Zwölftonfolge (1972); Musikfor Wind Quartet and Strings (1975). VOCAL: Wagadus Untergang durch die Eitelkeit,cantata for 3 Soloists, Mixed Chorus, Speaking Chorus, and 5 Saxophones (1930); Thyl Claes (Till Eulenspiegel), oratorio in 2 parts: Oppression (1938) and Liberation (1943-15; orch. suite, Palermo, April 26,1949); An die Jugend der Weltfor Chorus and Chamber Orch. (1954); Goethe- Aphorismenfor Soprano and Strings (Venice, Sept. 1955); Eine Gotthardkantatefor Baritone and Strings (1956); Jona ging doch nach Ninivefor Baritone, Speaking Soloists and Chorus, Mixed Chorus, and Orch. (1958); Meditazione su Amadeo Modiglianifor 4 Soloists, Narrator, Chorus, and Orch. (Lugano, March 31,1962); Die Flucht,dramatic oratorio (1963-64; Zürich, Nov. 8, 1966); Schrittefor Alto and Orch. (1968); Gli Spazialifor Speakers, Vocalists, and Orch., after the writings of Leonardo da Vinci, Autour de la luneby Jules Verne, and utterances of the American astronauts (1969-71).


H. Oesch, W. V: Sein Weg zu einer neuen musikalischen Wirklichkeit (Bern, 1967); W. Labhart, W. V: Konturen eines Mitbegrundes der Neuen Musik (Zürich, 1982); F. Geiger, Die Dramma-Oratorien von M. V, 1896-1984 (Hamburg, 1998).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Vogel, Wladimir (Rudolfovich)

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