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

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work marked by both strength and weakness. "The work, as a whole, thrills the listeners with passages that remain in the memory long after the last note has sounded. The setting of the opening stanza is one of these passages, where a harmony device, a 'fifth succession' suggested by the poet's 'heavenly harmony,' from which 'this universal fame began' unfolds successive vistas of harmonies and of tone colors of voices and instruments which do indeed respond to the thought and mood of Dryden's ode. In other hands this device might have become a piece of trifling pedantry. Mr. Josten's poetic spirit and the integrity of his creative impulse turn the device into beauty and wonder. But what is one to say of the banality of the battle music . . . of the conventionality of this passage, the distinction of that, the unevenness of style and content, coupled with some admirable writing for voices and instruments? Only that we are listening to a composer of exceptional gift finding himself."The second of the two works, introduced in 1929, revealed greater strength and less weakness. It was the Jungle, for orchestra, performed by Serge Koussevitsky at Boston. "Mr. Josten," wrote Philip Hale, "not only has musical ideas in plenty; he has imagination. . . . From the beginning to the end there is the assurance of a savagery, a wildness in tones that does not depend at all on laboriously sought-out dissonances or ear-splitting tonal explosions. . . . Jungle is an uncommonly interesting work."That Werner Josten is growing in stature as a composer was clearly proved when Leopold Stokowski performed his Concerto Sacro in 1933. This work, based on medieval mysticism, "has an effect"--I am quoting Olin Downes again--"at once severe and sensuous, much as a primitive religious woodcut conveys emotion because of its very stiffness and naiveté, the while that a child-like smile transfigures the stiff design. . . . With inspiration, with faith, the music reaches its climax, following the proclamation, at first very softly, by the piano, in primitive fifths and fourths, of a call which is like an Alleluia. . . . This is pure music, of a mystical andtender mood which is conveyed with remarkable success."While Werner Josten's compositions, to date, can be counted upon the fingers of one hand, there is already every indication that he is a composer to reckon with. His style is constantly flowering, his speech constantly gaining greater and greater sureness, his imagination continually opening up new vistas of beauty. He should assert himself strongly in modern music; what he has already composed promises an enormous richness in his future creation.
Principal works by Werner Josten:

CHORAL: Ode for St. Cecilia's Day.

BALLET: Batoula; Joseph and his Brethren; Endymion.
ORCHESTRA: Concerto Sacro no. I and II; Jungle.

About Werner Josten:

Howard J. T. Our American Music.

New York Sun October 28, 1933; New York Times October 25, 1933.


Paul Juon 1872-

PAUL JUON, son of a prominent Moscow official, was born in Moscow on March 9, 1872. While his musical studies were begun at the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied violin under Hrimaly and composition under Taneiev and Arensky, Juon's edu

Juon: zho + ̅'U016Dn

-136-

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