Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
Julius Bittner is still living in Vienna. Altho his works have not been as frequently performed outside of Austria and Germany as they deserve, he enjoys an enormous popularity as one of the most gifted opera composers of his country. He has also distinguished himself as the editor of that excellent music magazine, Merker, and as a member of the Wiener Academie der Tonkust.Principal works by Julius Bittner:
OPERA: Die Rote Gret; Der Musikant; Der Bergsee; Das Höllische Gold; Die Kohlheimerin; Das Rosengärtlein, etc.
Songs, pieces for piano, etc.

About Julius Bittner:

Specht Richard. Julius Bittner: Eine Studie.

Musikblütter des Anbruch 6:138April 1924; Neue Musikzeitung 41:24October 16, 1919.


Arthur Bliss 1891-

ARTHUR BLISS was born in London on August 2, 1891. After an intensive education at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he received his degrees in music and his B.A., he entered the Royal College of Music for a term, during which period he had lessons in composition from Stanford, and advice and encouragement from Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst. The War interrupted his studies in 1914. Obtaining a commission in the army, Bliss served in France with the Thirteenth Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, and then with the First Battalion, Grenadier Guards. In 1916, he was wounded in Somme, and, two years later, gassed at Cambrai.

While he was in the army, two of his early works--the String Quartet in ,A- Major and the Piano Quartet in A- Minor--were performed for the first time, and one of these works was awarded a prize at the War Emergency Concerts. These works, as Eugene Goossens tells us, "were necessarily experimental and rather immature, but evidences are not wanting . . . of a certain fantasy of treatment and freshness of harmonic speech which so strongly characterize his later productions." Both these works reached publication, but as is characteristic of Arthur Bliss' strong self-criticism, the plates for both works were destroyed when he returned to musical life.

By 1923, Arthur Bliss had acquired a soaring reputation as a composer, as a result of several important performances of his works. In 1919, his incidental music to As You Like It was performed in Stratford-on-Avon. A year later, his Rhapsody (for soprano and tenor, flute, cor anglais, string quartet and bass) received first hearing-- subsequently being chosen by the International Society for Contemporary Music for performance at Salzburg. With Rout, which also made its appearance in 1920, Bliss came to full maturity. "The success of Rout," writes Norman Demuth, "will long be remembered, and the reasons are not hard to find. It was like nothing else. Its novel conception and design, its amazing vitality, placed it and its composer immediately in the forefront and stamped him as a highly original mind."

In the Spring of 1923, Bliss left England for a prolonged trip to the United States. He remained here for two years--settling in Santa Barbara. California--conducting, lecturing and composing. While in America, Bliss composed several important songs, a string quartet and piano pieces. It was during his American stay that Bliss was married.

-24-

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