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German Music

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Author Topic: German Music  (Read 6217 times)
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« on: September 04, 2012, 05:11:32 pm »

Music of Heinrich Kaminski

1 Intro
2. Dorishche Musik (1933)

Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Jan Koetsier, Conductor

3. Intro
4. Concerto Grosso
5. Outro

Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
Othmar Maga, conductor

Radio Broadcasts, Dates Unknown

From the collection of Karl Miller

Essay about Dorian Music from Classical Iconoclast

Who was Heinrich Kaminski (1886-1946)? Admired by Arnold Schoenberg and a leading figure in German music circles, he's largely forgotten today, though there are signs of a major revival. Listen to Kaminski's Dorische-musik (Dorian Music) on the Berliner Philharmoniker website. Star conductor Andris Nelsons conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker, soloists Amihai Grosz,  Ludwig Quandt and Andreas Buschatz.

It's a gloriously affirmative work, passionately reasserting the ideals of Bach and Beethoven. "Music", Kaminski said, should motivate people to "trace the roots of life and the meaning of human existence". He saw his duty as "bearing witness to the light".

Kaminski's Dorian music starts without hesitation and goes straight into full development, buoyed up by confident purpose. This isn't abstract music for its own sake. Beethovenian forward thrust, direct quotes from Bach. To quote the Berliner Philharmoniker notes "from polyphonic concentration....Kaminski creates free flowing spatial music characterized by extreme tempo and rhythmic shifts....It is a genuinely forward-looking work, gripping in its unique mix of eruptive energy and mystical immersion".
It's amazingly uplifting, and spiritually powerful. Yet, note, it was written and first performed in 1934, by Herrmann Scherchen in Switzerland. What, one might think was there to be so confident about? Kaminski's response was, on July 4, 1933, to create an “order of those that love”. The rules of this order demanded that its members “hate no one and nothing, and must not be seduced into hate by evil willfulness or abusive actions. Hate is to be overcome by No-Hate”. Advocates of non-violence, like Gandhi, and Aung San Suu Kyi  think that breaking cycles of hate might just work, though Kaminski's faith in the context of the horrors that were to come might seem naive.

Kaminski was involved with the liberal Munich avant garde, from which his ideals may have sprung, but he was also part of the "inner resistance" of K A Hartmann and others. Perhaps, too, Kaminksi's principles may have come from his father. Kaminski senior had been a Catholic priest, who'd quit the priesthood on principle after the First Vatican Council in 1869/70 (the one that introduced papal infallibility). So in a sense, we owe Kaminski's birth to his father's opposition to the Pope. But the Kaminski family were originally Jewish, from Poland. This status seemed to have confounded the Nazis. He lost his job in Berlin in 1933, apparently for political reasons, but his music wasn't banned until 1938. Then the ban was lifted in 1941 because they thought he was a quarter Jew not a half-Jew. Racial stereotypes aren't rational. Life wasn't kind to Kaminski. He lost most of his family during the war and died himself soon after. But when I listen to his Dorian Music, it's vital, humanistic spirit seems unextinguishable. The piece isn't available on CD, though there are clips on Universal Editions. All the more reason to cherish the Berliner-Philharmoniker performance, which is perhaps as good as it gets.
Posted by Doundou Tchil

Wikipedia Bio

Heinrich Kaminski (4 July 1886 - 21 June 1946) was a German composer.

Kaminski was born in Tiengen in the Schwarzwald, the son of an Old Catholic priest of Jewish parentage. After a short period working in a bank in Offenbach, he moved to Heidelberg, originally to study politics. However, a chance meeting with Martha Warburg changed his mind: she recognised his musical gift and became his patroness. In 1909 he went to Berlin and began studying music at the Stern Conservatoire, piano with Severin Eisenberger.

In 1914 he began work as a piano teacher in Benediktbeuern. His friends and contemporaries at this time included the painter Emil Nolde and also Franz Marc, whose wife was among his piano students.

During World War I Kaminski was also active as a choirmaster and teacher of composition. Later he received a professorship at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin, where he became director of a master class in composition (thus treading in the footsteps of Hans Pfitzner). His most significant pupils were Carl Orff, Heinz Schubert und Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling.

His contract was terminated in 1933 with no renewal on the grounds of his "political opinions" and he returned to Benediktbeuern. Various attempts to re-establish his career came to nothing for the same reason. A check of his ancestry - he had been categorised in 1938 as a "half-Jew", and in 1941 declared a "quarter-Jew" - led to an ongoing ban on the performance of his works. He found himself obliged to flee, to France and Switzerland among other places.

Between 1939 and 1945 he lost three children, and died himself in 1946 at Ried, Bavaria.

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