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

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
(partly) Schönberg. It bears the impress of great taste, a fine mastery, a subtle mind, and much ingenuity, but at the same time one discovers in it comparatively little inner temperament, more intellectuality than inspiration, and a tendency to put creative problems in a rational form. Knipper is more particularly prominent as a fine and ingenious colorist, an indefatigable seeker of new orchestral colors and combinations. In this respect, he comes very near to the Stravinsky of Le Sacre du Printemps. His harmonic world is remarkable for its extravagance; he works with the most intricate and fantastic tonal combinations. He writes chiefly for the orchestra to which his coloristic talent attracts him, but he has also written a great deal for the piano, and more especially vocal music."According to Belaiev, Knipper possesses "a natural gift for interesting instrumentation. . . . A satirical disposition is common to him. His satire is biting and impulsive. He displays romantic tendencies, altho short-sighted critics consider him as yet a more intellectual than emotional composer." Knipper's music is not altogether unfamiliar in America. Leopold Stokowski introduced his Opus no. 1-- The Legend of a Plaster God--with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra in 1930. A few of his shorter pieces for orchestra were broadcast by the Radio City Symphony Orchestra, when Erno Rapee conducted an entire program of Soviet music. In Russia, he is considered one of the ranking composers of our time.Principal works by Lyof Knipper:
ORCHESTRA : Legend of a Plaster God; Two Revolutionary Episodes; First Symphony; Praeludium-Scherzo.
BALLET : Santanella.
CHAMBER MUSIC : Two Poems.
OPERA : Til Eulenspiegel; Northwind; Cities and Years.

About Lyof Knipper:

Cobbett, W. W. Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music; Sabaneyev, Leonid. Modern Russian Composers.


Zoltan Kodály 1882-

ZOLTAN KODÁLY, whose name is invariably associated with that of Béla Bartók as Hungary's outstanding modern composer, was born in Keczkemét on December 16, 1882. He has described his own childhood picturesquely: "My father was station-master in the tiny townlet of Kecskmét. . . .He adored music. When the last 'rapide' thundered down the valley . . . he would hasten home, seize his violin and, with friends equally enamored, begin to play quartets. Those distant evenings of my childhood! I have only to close my eyes and they return in all their vividness: the dark, rapt faces above the music racks, the sweep of bow, the twang of pizzicati, and myself standing big-eyed in the corner, completely enthralled. Thus I learned the quartets of Haydn. . . .

"Apart from my father's music, and that of his friends, I listened to the gypsy orchestra, the only 'professional' music one could hear in a little Magyar town. These, then, were my first teachers: my father's violin, the gypsies, and the rhythmic rumble of great trains which passed, stopping a moment before our little station."

At the age of eighteen he entered the Budapest Conservatory, studying under Hans Koessler. In the compositions produced by him during his scholastic

____________________
Zoltan Kodály: zŭl'tăn kō-dī'yȧ.

-142-

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