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Blacher, Boris

Blacher, Boris (b Niu-chang, China, 1903; d Berlin, 1975). Ger. composer. Worked in the opera house in China, 1919. Moving to Berlin 1922, studied architecture and mathematics, and comp., after 1924, with Friedrich Koch. Taught at Dresden Cons. 1938–9. Prof. of comp. Berlin Hochschule, from 1945; dir. 1953–1970. Prolific composer in many forms, Blacher's mus. is basically tonal, though he has used the 12-note method, and he developed (in Ornamente, Op.37, for pf., 1950) a rhythmical process called ‘variable metres’ whereby systematic changes of metre are planned according to mathematical relationships. Employed jazz styles in early works and elec. devices in later ones (after 1962). Works incl.:OPERAS: Fürstin Tarakanowa (1940; also orch. suite); Romeo und Julia (1943); Die Flut (1946); Die Nachtschwalbe (1947); Preussisches Märchen (1949); Abstrakte Oper No.1 (1953); Rosamunde Floris (1960); Zwischenfälle bei einer Notlandung, ‘reportage’ for elec. instr. and singers (1965); 200,000 Taler (1969); Yvonne, Prinzessin von Bergund (1972); Das Geheimnis des entwendeten Briefes (1974).BALLETS: Harlekinade (1939); Das Zauberbuch von Erzerum (on themes of Flotow) (1941; rev. as Der erste Ball, 1950); Chiarina (1946); Lysistrata (1950; also orch. suite); Hamlet (1949; also orch. suite); Der Mohr von Venedig (based on Othello) (1955); Demeter (1963); Tristan (1965; also orch. suite).ORCH.: Kleine Marschmusik (1932); Kurmusik (1933); Divertimento, str. (1935); Divertimento, wind (1936); Geigenmusik, vn., orch. (1936); Concertante Musik (1937); sym. (1938); Hamlet, sym.-poem (1940); conc., str. (1940); Partita, str., perc. (1945); Variations on a Theme of Paganini (1947); pf. conc. No.1 (1947), No.2 (1952); vn. conc. (1948); conc. for cl., bn., hn., tpt., hp., str. (1950); 2 Inventions (1954); va. conc. (1954); Fantasy (1955); Homage to Mozart (1956); Music for Cleveland (1957); Variations on a Theme of Clementi, pf., orch. (1961); Konzertstück, wind quintet, str. (1963); vc. conc. (1964); Collage (1968); conc., tpt., str. (1970); cl. conc. (1971); Stars and Strings, jazz ens., str. (1972); Poème (1974); Pentagramm, str. (1974).CHORAL: Der Grossinquisitor, oratorio after Dostoyevsky (1942); Träume vom Tod und vom Leben, cantata, ten., ch., orch. (1955); Die Gesänge des Seeräubers O'Rourke und seiner Geliebten Sally Brown, sop., female cabaret singer, bar., speaker, speaking ch., orch. (1958); Requiem, sop., bar., ch., orch. (1958).VOICE(S) & INSTR(S).: Jazz-Koloraturen, sop., alto sax., bn. (1929); Francesca da Rimini, sop., vn. (1954); 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, sop. or ten., str. (1957); 3(6 + x) oder For Seven, sop., perc., db. (1973).CHAMBER MUSIC: str. qts., No.1 (1930), No.2 (1940), No.3 (1944), No.4 (Epitaph) (1951), No. 5 (Variationem über einem divergierenden c-moll-Dreiklang) (1967); vc. sonata (1940); vn. sonata (1941); solo vn. sonata (1951); 4 Studies, hpd. (1967); pf. trio (1970); quintet, fl., ob., str. trio (1973); Tchaikovsky-Variations, vc., pf. (1974).PIANO: 2 sonatinas (1940); 3 Pieces (1943); Ornamente (1950); sonata (1951); 24 Preludes (1974).ELEC.: Multiple Raumperspektiven, pf., elec. (1962); Glissierende Deviationen, tape (1962); Der Astronaut, tape (1963); Elektronisches Scherzo, tape (1965); Ariadne, duodrama, 2 speakers, elec. (1971).

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Blacher, Boris

Boris Blacher (blä´khər), 1903–75, Estonian-German composer, b. Yingkou, China. Blacher lived for six years in Siberia. He studied in Berlin and in 1953 became the director of the West Berlin Conservatory of Music. Blacher wrote concertos for various instruments, numerous operas, including 200,000 Taler (1969; after Sholem Aleichem), ballets, chamber music, and song cycles. He experimented with variable meters or rhythmic rows, as in Ornaments (1953) for orchestra, sometimes producing a jazzlike effect, and with abstract operas concerned with human situations but without plot.

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