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

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
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odies. While this new form is, in these Jewish operas, definitely in an experimental stage, it holds much promise; for it has filled Gniessin's operas with a new naturalism which make these works more vibrant and full of meaning to us.Principal works by Michael Gniessin:
OPERA: Youth of Abraham; The Maccabeans.
ORCHESTRA: After Sheiley; Vroubel (for voice and orchestra); The Conqueror Worm (for tenor and orchestra); Symphonic Movement; Danses Funèbres; music to The Rose and the Cross; Triumph of Revolution (symphony).
CHAMBER MUSIC: 'Cello Sonata; Piano Quintet.

About Michael Gniessin:

Drosdow. Gniessin; Ewen David. Hebrew Music; Montagu-Nathan Montagu. Contemporary Russian Composers; Sabaneyev Leonid . Modern Russian Composers.


Eugene Goossens 1893-

EUGENE GOOSSENS was born in London on May 26, 1893, into a family of outstanding musicians. Both his grandfather and father had been recognized as operatic conductors of merit; his brother, Leon, is one of the great oboeists of our time; two of his sisters are extraordinary harpists. Music, therefore, was destined as Eugene's life career even before he began to show any particular aptitude for the art. At the age of twenty, he entered the Bruges Conservatory of Music, and, three years later, continued his studies at the Liverpool College of Music where his talent for music first revealed itself unmistakably. A scholarship soon brought him to the Royal College of Music where, under Stanford in composition and Rivarde in viola, he ripened into full maturity. Upon graduating from the Royal College of Music, he served a valuable apprenticeship in the Queen's Hall Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham (subsequently becoming Beecham's assistant), and as a member of the Philharmonic String Quartet.

It was not long before he graduated into the class of conductors. In 1916, he was given an opportunity to conduct Stanford opera, The Critic, which he did with such authority and musicianship that he was urged, by leading musicians, to adopt conducting as a career. It was not until 1921, however, that he became a full-fledged orchestral conductor. In that year, he founded his own orchestra and gave six concerts of such interest, performed with such remarkable musical insight and interpretative talent, that he immediately impressed the English music world as a conductor of first importance. After that inaugural season, invitations from the leading orchestras of the world to direct their organizations became more and more numerous. Goossens has conducted almost every significant symphonic body in Europe, and always with remarkable success, establishing himself as one of the major orchestral leaders of present-day England. Since 1931, he has been the principal conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, in America.

During the early days of the War, his earliest compositions--two trios-- were performed at the War Emergency Concerts, and attracted considerable attention because of the originality of their idiom. The trios were followed by several string quartets which inspired even greater bewilderment among the bulk of music lovers. Goossen's unorthodox style--his confusing rhythms, his sharp- pointed dissonances and his strange melodic lines--puzzled the audiences; but there were a few who could recognize the talent that flashed thru these early works. For Goossens' first compositions had a craftsmanship, a sureness of touch, and a vitality of idiom which were impressive, once the ear became accustomed to the novel vocabulary he employed. "From the outset of his career," as R. H. Hull elucidates, "Goossens has been endowed with impressive skill to a degree attained, more frequently, only after prolonged and careful study. In the earliest published works, we may look in vain for signs of tentative craftsmanship common to the efforts of an apprentice. His facility caused amazement when Goossens was first heard. It seemed uncanny that so young an artist should manifest such complete dexterity. . . . From the beginning, Goossens has never lacked

____________________
Goosens : go+o+̄sềns

-91-

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