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
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
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Composers of Today:A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations.
Contributors: David Ewen - Editor, David Ewen - Compiler.
Publisher: H. W. Wilson.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1934.
Page number: 136.
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