Hans Werner Henze
Henze, Hans Werner
Henze, Hans Werner
Henze, Hans Werner, outstanding German composer; b. Gütersloh, July 1, 1926. He entered the Braunschweig State Music School in 1942, where he studied until being called to military service in World War II in 1944. After the German collapse in 1945, he worked as a répétiteur at the Bielefeld City Theater. In 1946 he entered the Inst. for Church Music in Heidelberg, and also became a private student of Wolfgang Former. After working at the Deutsches Theater in Konstanz in 1948, he became artistic director and conductor of the ballet of the Hessisches State Theater in Wiesbaden in 1950. In 1951 he was awarded the Robert Schumann Prize of the City of Düsseldorf. After winning the Premio RAI of Italy in 1953, Henze settled there. His commitment to the Left eventually led him to join the Italian Communist Party. In 1960 he was made a member of the Akademie der Künste in West Berlin, but his radical political stance prompted him to resign his membership in 1968. From 1962 to 1967 he led master classes at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and in 1967 he was a visiting prof, at Dartmouth (N.H.) Coll. In 1968 Henze accepted an assoc. membership in the Akademie der Künste in East Berlin. He further consolidated his Leftist credentials with an extended stay in Cuba in 1969-70. All the same, he found an audience among the culturally inclined bourgeoisie. In 1976 Henze founded the Cantiere Internazionale d’Art in Montepulciano, where a number of his works were subsequently premiered. From 1980 to 1991 he was prof, of composition at the Cologne Staatliche Hochschule für Musik. In 1983 and 1988 he was composer-in-residence at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, and in 1987 he held the International Chair for Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1988 Henze founded and became artistic director of the Munich Biennale, which became a showcase for contemporary music theater scores. He was composer-in-residence of the Berlin Phil, in 1991, the same year that he was honored with the Grand Cross for Distinguished Service of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1991-92 he was a fellow of the Berlin Wissenschaftskolleg. He was awarded the Hans von Bülow Medal of the Berlin Phil, in 1997. Henze’s autobiography was publ, as Reiselieder mit böhmischen Quinten: Autobiographische Mitteilungen 1926-1995 (Frankfurt am Main, 1996; Eng. tr., 1998, as Bohemian Fifths: An Autobiography).
In a remarkable compositional career spanning more than 50 years, including all of the second half of the 20th century, Henze has managed to eschew the predictable by embracing various means of expression. He has displayed a genius for sustaining and invigorating the traditional genres of dramatic, orchestral, chamber, and vocal music. As the new millennium beckoned, he had attained a place of world eminence accorded only a very few of his contemporaries in Western art music.
dramatic:Das Wundertheater, opera for Actors, after Cervantes (1948; Heidelberg, May 7, 1949; version for Singers, 1964; Frankfurt am Main, Nov. 30, 1965); Ballett-Variationen, ballet (concert perf., Düsseldorf, Sept. 26, 1949; stage perf., Wuppertal, Dec. 21, 1958; rev. 1992; Berlin, Nov. 15, 1998); Le disperazioni del Signor Pulciella/Die Verzeiflung des Herrn Pulcinella, dance comedy (1949; Wiesbaden, Dec. 30, 1950, composer conducting; rev. 1995; Schwetzingen, May 25, 1997); Das Vokaltuch der Kammersänger Rosa Silber, ballet (1950; concert perf., May 8, 1951; stage perf., Cologne, Oct. 15, 1958; rev. 1990; London, Jan. 14, 1991, composer conducting); Labyrinth, ballet (1951; concert perf., Darmstadt, May 29, 1952, composer conducting; rev. 1996; Schwetzingen, May 25, 1997); Ein Landarzt, radio opera, after Kafka (NDR, Hamburg, Nov. 19, 1951, for broadcast, Nov. 29, 1951; new version, 1964; Frankfurt am Main, Nov. 30, 1965; rev. 1994; WDR, Cologne, Sept. 27, 1996; also as a monodrama for Baritone and Small Orch., 1964; Berlin, Oct. 13, 1965; Fischer-Dieskau soloist, composer conducting); Boulevard Solitude, lyric drama (1951; Hannover, Feb. 17, 1952); Der Idiot, scenic mimodrama (Berlin, Sept. 1, 1952; rev. 1990; Basel, March 26, 1996); Pas d’action, ballet (1952; suite, Hamburg, Jan. 15, 1953; rev. as the ballet Tancredi, 1964; Vienna, May 14, 1966); Das Ende einer Welt, radio opera (NDR, Hamburg, Dec. 4, 1953; rev. 1993; WDR, Cologne, Sept. 27, 1996; also as an opera buffa, 1964; Frankfurt am Main, Nov. 30, 1965); König Hirsch, opera (1953-56; partial perf., Berlin, Sept. 23, 1956; complete perf., Stuttgart, May 5, 1985; shortened version as // Re Cervo oder Die Irrfahrten der Wahrheit, 1962; Kassel, March 10, 1963, composer conducting); Maratona, dance drama (1956; Berlin, Sept. 24, 1957); Ondine/Undine, ballet (1956-57; London, Oct. 27, 1958, composer conducting); Der Prinz von Homburg, opera, after Kleist (1958-59; Hamburg, May 22, 1960; rev. 1991; Munich, July 24, 1992); L’usignolo dell’imperatorefDes Kaisers Nachtigall, ballet-pantomime (Venice, Sept. 16, 1959); Elegie für junge Liebende/Elegy for Young Lovers, opera, after Auden and Kallman (1959-61; Schwetzingen, May 20, 1961; rev. 1987; Venice, Oct. 28, 1988); Der junge Lord, comic opera (1964; Berlin, April 7, 1965); The Judgement of Calliope/Das Urteil der Kalliope, satyr play, after Auden and Kallman (1964; Giessen, Oct. 29, 1997); The Bassarids/Die Bassariden, music drama, after Auden and Kallman (1964-65; Salzburg, Aug. 6, 1966; rev. 1992); Moralities/Moralitäten, 3 scenic plays, after Aesop and Auden (1967; Cincinnati, May 18, 1968; shorter version, Saarbrücken, April 1, 1970); Der langwierige Weg in die Wohnung der Natascha Ungeheuer, show (Rome, May 17, 1971, composer conducting); La Cubana, oder Ein Leben für die Kunst, television opera (1973; WNET, N.Y., March 4, 1974, composer conducting; stage perf., Munich, May 28, 1975); We Come to the River/Wir erreichen den Fluss, actions for music (1974-76; London, July 12, 1976); Don Chisciotte, comic opera, arranged from Lorenzi and Paisiello (Montepulciano, Aug. 1, 1976); Orpheus, ballet (1978; Stuttgart, March 17, 1979; new version, Vienna, June 20, 1986); Pollicino, fairy tale for music (1979-80; Montepulciano, Aug. 2, 1980); The English Cat/Die englische Katze, opera (1980-83; Schwetzingen, June 2, 1983); // ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, free reconstruction of Monteverdi’s opera (1981; Salzburg, Aug. 18, 1985); Das verratene Meer, music drama (1986-89; Berlin, May 5, 1990); II re Teodoro in Venezia, new version of Paisiello’s opera (1991-92; Montepulciano, July 16, 1992); Venus und Adonis, opera (1993-95; Munich, Jan. 11, 1997); Le fils de l’air/Der Sohn der Luft or L’enfant changé en jeune homme, ballet (1995-96; Schwetzingen, May 25, 1997). ORCH.: Chamber Concerto for Piano, Flute, and Strings (Darmstadt, Sept. 27, 1946); Concertino for Piano, Winds, and Percussion (Baden-Baden, Oct. 5, 1947); 10 syms.: No. 1 (Bad Pyrmont, Aug. 25, 1948; version for Chamber Orch., 1963; Berlin, April 9, 1964, composer conducting; rev. version, Berlin, Oct. 2, 1991, composer conducting), No. 2 (Stuttgart, Dec. 1, 1949), No. 3 (1949-50; Donaueschingen, Oct. 7, 1951), No. 4 (1955; Berlin, Oct. 9, 1963, composer conducting), No. 5 (1962; N.Y., May 16, 1963), No. 6 (Havana, Nov. 26, 1969, composer conducting; new version, Munich, Dec. 8, 1994), No. 7 (1983-84; Berlin, Dec. 1, 1984), No. 8 (1992-93; Boston, Oct. 1, 1993), No. 9 for Chorus and Orch. (1995-97; Berlin, Sept. 11, 1997), and No. 10 (2000); 3 violin concertos: No. 1 (1947; Baden-Baden, Dec. 12, 1948), No. 2 (1971; Basel, Nov. 2, 1972), and No. 3 (Berlin, Sept. 12, 1997); 2 piano concertos: No. 1 (1950; Düsseldorf, Sept. 14, 1952, Mewton-Wood soloist, composer conducting) and No. 2 (1967; Bielefeld, Sept. 29, 1968); Ode an den Westwind for Cello and Orch. (Bielefeld, April 30, 1954); Quattro Poemi (Frankfurt am Main, May 31, 1955); 3 Symphonische Etüdien (Hamburg, Feb. 14, 1956; new version, 1964); Maratona, suite for 2 Jazz Bands and Orch., after the ballet (1956; WDR, Feb. 8, 1957); Jeux des Tritons, divertissement for Piano and Orch. after the ballet Ondine (1956-57; Zürich, March 28, 1960; new version, Berlin, April 1, 1967); 2 sonatas for Strings: No. 1 (1957-58; Zürich, March 21, 1958) and No. 2 (1995; Leipzig, Nov. 7, 1996); 3 Dithyramen for Chamber Orch. (Cologne, Nov. 27, 1958); Ondine, 2 suites from the ballet (both 1958); Trois Pas de Tritons, after the ballet Ondine (1958; Rome, Jan. 10, 1959); Antifone (1960; Berlin, Jan. 10, 1962); Los Caprichos, fantasia (1963; Duisburg, April 6, 1967); Zwischenspiele, after the opera Der junge Lord (1964; Berlin, Oct. 12, 1965, composer conducting); In memoriam: Die Weisse Rose for Chamber Orch. (Bologna, March 16, 1965); Fantasia for Strings (Berlin, April 1, 1967); Double Bass Concerto (Chicago, Nov. 2, 1967); Musik for Viola and 22 Players, Compases para preguntas ensimismadas (1969-70; Basel, Feb. 11, 1971); Heliogabalus Imperator, allegoria per musica (Chicago, Nov. 16, 1972; rev. 1986; Rome, June 28, 1989); Tristan for Piano, Orch., and Tape (1973; London, Oct. 20, 1974); Ragtimes und Habaneras for Brass Ensemble (London, Sept. 23, 1975); Katharina Blum, concert suite for Small Orch. (1975; Brighton, May 6, 1976, composer conducting); Aria de la folia espanola for Chamber Orch. (St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 17, 1977; also for Orch., Bournemouth, April 23, 1979, composer conducting); // Vitalino raddoppiato, chaconne for Violin and Chamber Orch. (Salzburg, Aug. 2, 1978); Barcarola (1979; Zürich, April 22, 1980); Apollo trionfante, after the dance drama Orpheus (1979; Gelsenkirchen, Sept. 1, 1980); Arien des Orpheus for Guitar, Harp, Harpsichord, and Strings (1979; Gelsenkirchen, Nov. 16, 1980; also for Large String Orch., Chicago, Nov. 25, 1981, composer conducting); Dramatische Szenen aus Orpheus I (1979; Frankfurt am Main, Sept. 12, 1982) and II (1979; Zürich, Jan. 6, 1981, composer conducting); í sentimenti di Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach for Flute, Harp, and Strings, transcription of Bach’s Clavier- Fantasie (1787) (Rome, April 14, 1982); Le Miracle de la Rose for Clarinet and 13 Players (1981; London, May 26, 1982, composer conducting); Liebeslieder for Cello and Orch. (1984-85; WDR, Cologne, Dec. 12, 1986); Kleine Elegien for Early Instrument Chamber Orch. (1984-85; WDR, Cologne, Dec. 13, 1986); Fandango, after Soler (1985; Paris, Feb. 5, 1986; new version, 1992; Prague, Nov. 30, 1995); Cinque piccoli concerti e ritornelli (1987; London, Jan. 24, 1988); Tanz- und Salonmusik for Chamber Orch., after the scenic mimodrama Der Idiot (Bristol, June 5, 1989); Requiem, 9 sacred concertos for Piano, Trumpet, and Orch. (1990-92; Cologne, Feb. 24, 1993); La selva incantata/Der verwunschene Wald (Frankfurt am Main, April 6, 1991); Introduktion, Thema und Variationen for Cello, Harp, and Strings (1992; Salzburg, Aug. 25, 1994); Appassionatamente, fantasy, after the music drama Das verratene Meer (1993-94; Vienna, March 25, 1995); 3 Orchesterstücke, after piano music of Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1995; Munich, July 5, 1996); Voie lactée ô soeur lumineuse for Chamber Orch. (Basel, May 7, 1996); Pulcinellas Erzählungen for Chamber Orch., after the ballet Le disperazioni del Signor Pulcinella (1996; Cologne, Jan. 16, 1998); Zigeunerweisen und Sarabanden, after the ballet Le fils de l’air (1996; Cologne, Jan. 16, 1998); Erlkönig, fantasy after Schubert (1996; Paris, Jan. 31, 1997); 7 Boleros (1998; Las Palmas, Feb. 2, 2000); Fraternité (N.Y, Nov. 11, 1999). CHAMBER: Violin Sonata (1946); Flute Sonata (1947); 5 string quartets: No. 1 (1947), No. 2 (Südwestfunk, Baden-Baden, Dec. 16, 1952), No. 3 (1975-76; Berlin, Sept. 12, 1976), No. 4 (1976; Schwetzingen, May 25, 1977), and No. 5 (1976; Schwetzingen, May 25, 1977); Chamber Sonata for Piano, Violin, and Cello (1948; Cologne, March 16, 1950; rev. 1963); Apollo et Hyazinthus for Harpsichord, Alto, and 8 Instruments (1948-9; Frankfurt am Main, June 26, 1949); Serenade for Cello (1949); Wind Quintet (1952; Radio Bremen, Feb. 15, 1953); 3 Tentos for Guitar (NDR, Hamburg, Nov. 26, 1958); Prison Song for Percussion and Other Instruments (1971); Carillon, Récitatif, Masque, trio for Mandolin, Guitar, and Harp (1974; London, Feb. 2, 1977); Trumpet Sonatina (1974); Royal Winter Music, 2 sonatas on Shakespearean characters for Guitar: No. 1 (1975-76; Berlin, Sept. 20, 1976) and No. 2 (1975-76; Brussels, Nov. 25, 1980); Amicizia!, quintet for Clarinet, Trombone, Cello, Percussion, and Piano (Montepulciano, Aug. 6, 1976); Sonata for Solo Violin (1976-77; Montepulciano, Aug. 10, 1977; rev. 1992); L’autunno for 5 Wind Instruments (1977; London, Feb. 28, 1979); S. Biagio 9 agostro ore 12.07 for Double Bass (1977); 5 Scenes from the Snow Country for Marimba (1978; Süddeutscher Rundfunk, Stuttgart, Oct. 12, 1982); Viola Sonata (1979; Witten, April 20, 1980); Violin Sonatina (1979; London, Dec. 2, 1980); Capriccio for Violin (1981; Linz, Sept. 24, 1983); Canzona for 7 Instruments (Stuttgart, June 6, 1982); Sonata for 8 Wind Instruments (Berlin, Sept. 17, 1983); Sonata for 6 Players (London, Sept. 26, 1984); Selbst- und Zwiegespräche, trio for Viola, Guitar, and Small Organ (1984-85; Brühl, Sept. 29, 1985); Serenade for Violin (Bad Goesberg, June 1, 1986); 5 Nachstücke for Violin and Piano (London, May 16, 1990); Piano Quintet (1990-91; Berkeley, Calif., March 25, 1993); Adagio adagio, serenade for Violin, Cello, and Piano (Darmstadt, March 18, 1993);
Minotauros Blues for 6 Percussionists (1996; Cologne, Jan. 16, 1998); Trauer-Ode für Margaret Geddes, sextet for Cellos (Kron-berg, Oct. 19, 1997); Trio in 3 Sätzen for Violin, Viola, and Cello (1998; Schwetzingen, May 12, 1999). keyboard: piano:Variationen (Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurt am Main, June 17, 1949); Sonata (Berlin, Sept. 26, 1959); Lucy Escott Variations (1963; Berlin, March 21, 1965; also for Harpsichord); Divertimenti for 2 Pianos (N.Y., Nov. 30, 1964); 6 Stücke für junge Pianisten (1980; Stuttgart, Oct. 13, 1982); Cherubino (1980-81; Berlin, Aug. 23, 1981); Une petite phrase (1984); La mano sinistra (1988); Pulcinella disperato (1992; Munich, May 8, 1994); Toccata mistica (Cologne, Nov. 13, 1994). Harpsichord:6 Absences (1961; Mainz, Nov. 7, 1963); Euridice (1981; N.Y., Oct. 2, 1986; rev. 1992). VOCAL: 5 Madrigale for Chorus and 2 Instruments, after Villon (1947; Frankfurt am Main, April 25, 1950); Chor gefangener Trojer for Chorus and Orch., after Goethe (1948; Bielefeld, Feb. 6, 1949; rev. 1964); Whispers from Heavenly Death, cantata for High Voice and 8 Instruments, after Whitman (1948; Stuttgart, June 14, 1950); Vokalsinfonie for Soloists and Orch., after the opera König Hirsch (1955); Szenen und Arien for Soprano, Tenor, Chorus, and Orch., after the opera König Hirsch (1956); Cinque canzoni napoletane [Fünf neapolitanische Lieder for Baritone and Chamber Orch. (Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurt am Main, May 26, 1956); Nachstücke und Arien for Soprano and Orch. (Donaueschingen, Oct. 20, 1957); Kammermusik 1958 for Tenor, Guitar, and 8 Instruments (NDR, Hamburg, Nov. 26, 1958; also for Tenor and Guitar); Novae de infinito laudes, cantata for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus, and Instruments, after Giordano Bruno (1962; Venice, April 24, 1963, composer conducting); Being Beauteous, cantata for Soprano, Harp, and 4 Cellos, after Rimbaud (1963; Berlin, April 12, 1964); Ariosi for Soprano, Violin, and Orch., after Tasso (1963; Edinburgh, Aug. 23, 1964; also for Soprano, Violin, and Piano, Mannheim, Nov. 19, 1965); Cantata della fiaba estrema for Soprano, Chamber Chorus, and 13 Instruments (1963; Zürich, Feb. 26, 1965); Lieder von einer Insel for Chamber Chorus and Chamber Ensemble (1964; Selb, Jan. 23, 1967); Musen Siziliens for Chorus, 2 Pianos, Winds, and Timpani, after Virgil (Berlin, Sept. 20, 1966); Das Floss der Medusa, oratorio for Soprano, Baritone, Speaker, Chorus, and Orch., in memoriam Che Guevara (NDR, Hamburg, Dec. 9, 1968, composer conducting; concert perf., Vienna, Jan. 29, 1971; stage perf., Nuremberg, April 15, 1972; rev. 1990); Versuch über Schweine for Speaker and Orch. (1968; London, Feb. 14, 1969, composer conducting); El Cimarrón for Baritone, Flute, Guitar, and Percussion, after Estéban Montejo (Aldeburgh, June 22, 1970); Voices/Stimmen for Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, and Instrumental Group (1973; London, Jan. 4, 1974, composer conducting); Jephtha, realization of Carissimi’s oratorio, for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (London, July 14, 1976, composer conducting); Orpheus for Speaker and Orch. (1978; Cologne, March 4, 1983, composer conducting); El Rey de Harlem for Mezzo-soprano and Small Ensemble, after Garcia Lorca (1979; Witten, April 20, 1980); Szenen und Arien for 4 Soloists and Orch., after Monteverdi’s opera II ritorno di Ulisse in patria (1981; London, Sept. 4, 1988, composer conducting); Orpheus Behind the Wire/Orpheus hinter dem Stacheldraht for Chorus (1981-83; Southampton, Sept. 10, 1985); 3 Auden Songs for Tenor and Piano (Aldeburgh, June 15, 1983); 3 Lieder über den Schnee for Soprano, Baritone, and 8 Instruments (Frankfurt am Main, Sept. 8, 1989); Paraphrasen über Dostojewsky for Speaker and Instruments (1990; London, Jan. 12, 1991); 2 Konzertarien for Tenor and Small Orch. (Montepulciano, July 28, 1991); Lieder und Tanze for Mezzo-soprano and Chamber Ensemble, after the television opera La Cubana oder Ein Leben für die Kunst (1992-93; Zürich, Sept. 12, 1993); 6 Gesänge aus der Arabischen for Tenor and Piano (1997-98; Cologne, Nov. 23, 1999); Richard Wagnersche Klavierlieder for Mezzo-soprano, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1998-99; Berlin, Aug. 28, 1999).
Musik und Politik: Schriften und Gespräche, 1955-1975 (Munich, 1976; in Eng. as Music and Politics: Collected Writings, 1953-81, London and Ithaca, N.Y., 1982).
K. Geitel, H.W. H. (Berlin, 1968); E. Restagno, ed., H. (Turin, 1986); D. Rexroth, ed., Der Komponist H.W. K: Ein Buch der Alten Oper Frankfurt, Frankfurt Feste ’86 (Mainz and N.Y., 1986); P. Petersen, H.W. H, ein politischer Musiker: Zwölf Vorlesungen (Hamburg, 1988); W. Schottler, “Die Bassariden” von H.W. H.: Der Weg eines Mythos von der antiken Tragödie zur modernen Oper: Eine Analyse von Stoff, Libretto und Musik (Trier, 1992).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
Henze, Hans Werner
Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze (born 1926) is a German composer of unusual productivity and diversity of style. He is best known for unorthodox operas such as Boulevard Solitude (1952), with its unique treatment of the "Manon" story used by Puccini, and the comic opera Der junge Lord (1965). His later works show his political affiliation with socialism, as in a requiem for Che Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary.
Born in Gütersloh, Germany, on July 1, 1926, Hans Werner Henze majored in piano and percussion at the Staatsmusikschule in Braunschweig. He was drafted into the Germany army in 1943 and served in the tank corps before being taken prisoner by the British.
Early Training and Work
After World War II, Henze became a student of composer Wolfgang Fortner at Heidelberg. The style of Henze's first mature compositions—a violin sonata, a chamber concerto, and the First Symphony (1947)—was neoclassic in the manner of Igor Stravinsky and Béla Bartók. After his introduction to the 12-tone technique, Henze's next scores showed his mastery of this technique: the piano variations and a violin concerto (1948); Symphonies no. 2 (1949) and no. 3 (1951); a piano concerto (1950); The Idiot (1952), a ballet; the First String Quartet (1952); and a Wind Quintet (1953). He also exploited jazz idioms in Jack Pudding (1951) and Maratona di danza (1956).
Henze was musical director of the German Theater in Konstanz (1948-1950) and composer and adviser on ballet for the Wiesbaden State Theater (1950-1952).
Later Work and Awards
Henze considers his opera König Hirsch (1952-1956) and the Fourth Symphony (1955-1963) as the end of his "exploratory" period. In his later compositions many styles and techniques are assimilated, including polytonality, neoclassicism, romanticism with elements of jazz, and an Italianate lyricism. Out of these, says Joseph Machlis (1961), Henze "forged an original language marked by brilliance of instrumentation, rhythmic urgency, and lyric intensity." His theatrical works, especially, aroused heated controversy because of the bold librettos and astringent musical idiom.
In 1959 Henze won the Berlin Kunstpreis and in 1962 the Grand Prize for Artists at Hanover. In 1961 he became professor of composition at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Henze's important compositions include Undine (1958), a ballet; The Prince of Homburg (1960), a semihistorical opera; Elegy for Young Lovers (1961), with a libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman; and The Bassarids (1966), an opera with a libretto by Auden and Kallman, which many consider Henze's most felicitous score. He also wrote the Second Piano Concerto (1968); an oratorio, Das Floss der Medusa (1969); Concerto for Double Bass (1969); and the opera El Cimarron (1970).
In 1963 Henze remarked: "The twelve-tone problem does not now play a great part in my music. … I have always been concerned with musical substance, particularly with melody, and have tended to express the most difficult musical processes in the simplest forms I could devise. My music has as much to offer the naive listener as it has for the expert who can base his judgment on extensive technical knowledge."
Henze visited the United States in 1963 for the world premiere of his Fifth Symphony, performed by the New York Philharmonic for the inaugural of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.
Hans Werner Henze continues to capture the attention of music critics. The English National Opera celebrated his 70th birthday in 1996 by performing some of his works. His Symphony no. 7, which was called "bone-rattling and exciting," was reviewed in Stereo Review (April 1994), by David Patrick Stearns, who claims that Henze has "been through more stylistic changes than Madonna."
David Ewen, The World of Twentieth-Century Music (1968), treats Henze briefly but thoughtfully and analyzes six major works; Joseph Machlis, Introduction to Contemporary Music (1961), and Otto Deri, Exploring Twentieth-Century Music (1968), are good background studies.
Stereo Review, April 1994. □
Henze, Hans Werner
Hans Werner Henze (häns vĕr´nər hĕn´tsə), 1926–2012, German composer, b. Gütersloh. Henze was a pupil of Wolfgang Fortner and René Leibowitz. His early works were influenced by Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Bartók. In his first violin concerto (1947) he took up twelve-tone writing, but he did not confined himself to that method (see also serial music). In 1953 he moved to Italy, where his music became more openly emotional. He also founded a music festival in Montepulciano in 1976. Henze's leftist politics of the 1960s and 70s are manifested in works such as the oratorio The Raft of the Frigate Medusa (1968), the Essay on Pigs for baritone and chamber orchestra (1969), and the antiwar opera We Come to the River (1976), one of several collaborations with English playwright Edward Bond. He also wrote ten symphonies, the ninth of which (1997) is a choral work about Nazi terror based on Anna Seghers's The Third Cross. Among his other compositions are concertos for various instruments and the operas Elegy for Young Lovers (1961) and The Bassarids (1965), both to texts by W. H. Auden, The English Cat (1983), and Phaedra (2007). His last major work was Elogium Musicum (2008), a requiem for choir and orchestra.
See his Music and Politics: Collected Writings, 1953–81 (1982) and autobiography, Bohemian Fifths (1995).