REIZENSTEIN (1911 - 1968)
'When Franz Reizenstein died the British musical scene lost one
of its best-loved and most respected personalities...' (RECORDS
warm tribute sums up the esteem which this gifted musician earned
during a life sadly cut short at the height of his powers. He
was renowned as a composer of many fine works in all genres, as
a superb concert pianist with a large repertoire, and as an inspiring
teacher. He enjoyed the company of eminent musical colleagues
with whom he played Chamber music, and for whom he frequently
wrote works. His music is completely twentieth-century in harmony
and melodic invention and shows a mastery of technique and form
with an innate lyrical core. Alongside his seriousness of purpose
he had a keen sense of humour, which led him to being inveigled
by Gerard Hoffnung to write two works for the Hoffnung concerts.
in Nuremberg and prodigiously gifted as a child, Franz Reizenstein
began to compose at the age of 5, and by 17 had written several
works, including a string quartet. Much encouraged by his artistic
family, he played a great deal of Chamber music at home and gave
public performances on the piano. At 18 he entered the Berlin
Hochschule fur Musik, where he studied compositon with Paul Hindemith
and piano with Leonid Kreutzer.
Hindemith was one of the many distinguished non-Jews who loathed
the nazi ideology and chose to flee from Germany. In 1934, at
the age of 23, Reizenstein decided to flee as well and came to
London to study at the Royal College of Music with Vaughan Williams.
The seeds of his basic style were now sown - a basic contrapuntal
skill from Hindemith with its austerity mellowed by the warm expansive
idiom of Vaughan Williams.
Reizenstein remained in England for the rest of his life, adopting
British nationality. He became a Professor at the Royal Academy
of Music, Royal Manchester (now the Royal Northern) College of
Music, and visiting Professor of Composition at Boston University
in 1966. His devoted students, many of whom have themselves achieved
distinction, and his fine works are testimony to his vast knowledge
of music and his ability to inspire.
Chamber: Piano trio, string quartet, piano quintet, violin/viola/'cello
sonatas, wind duo/trio, clarinet & string quartet, trio for
flute/oboe/piano, oboe sonatina
2 sonatas, 12 Preludes and Fugues, Scherzo, Arnold's English Dances
for piano duo.
Genesis ( '...cause for congratulation is Mr. Reizenstein's effective
understanding of English verse, which he loves...')
Concerto for String Orchestra, Overture 'Cyrano de Bergerac',
Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Violin Concerto ('one of the finest
Violin Concertos of recent years'), Cello Concerto ('one of the
finest examples of virtuoso cello writing in contemporary music'