Conrad Beck

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Conrad Arthur Beck (16 June 1901, Lohn, Schaffhausen – 31 October 1989, Basel) was a Swiss composer.

Beck was the son of a pastor. His stay in Paris between 1924 and 1933 proved crucial to his artistic development, where he studied with Jacques Ibert and also made contact with Arthur Honegger, Nadia Boulanger, and Albert Roussel. Returning to Basel in 1933, he headed the music department of Radio Basel for the next thirty years. He helped mediate cultural exchange through his many contacts with Swiss and international musicians.

At the suggestion of Swiss conductor Paul Sacher (1906–1999), who promoted his career more than any other composer, Beck settled in Basel in 1934. During a period of over 50 years, Sacher commissioned his works and conducted their premieres with the chamber orchestra Basler Kammerorchester and the Collegium Musicum Zürich. From 1939 to 1966 Beck worked as music director of Swiss Radio in Basel, a position that enabled him to do a great deal to promote contemporary music.

On the occasion of Paul Sacher's 70th birthday, Beck was asked, together with 11 composer friends (Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Benjamin Britten, Henri Dutilleux, Wolfgang Fortner, Alberto Ginastera, Cristobal Halffter, Hans Werner Henze, Heinz Holliger, Klaus Huber and Witold Lutosławski), by Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich to write a composition for cello which used the notes creating Sacher's name: eS, A, C, H, E, Re (E, A, C, B, E, D). Beck created a three-movement work entitled Für Paul Sacher, Drei Epigramme for cello solo. The compositions were partially presented in Zürich on 2 May 1976. The first complete performance of the "eSACHERe" project will be given by Czech Cellist František Brikcius in Prague this autumn 2010-2011.

His honours include the composition prize of the Schweizerischer Tonkünstlerverein (1954), the Ludwig Spohr Prize of the city of Brunswick (1956) and the Basle Arts Prize (1964).

Beck's music is characterized by a large measure of seriousness, tenacity, and depth of expression, but also by transparency and a sense of harmonic proportion. He composed a number of orchestral and choral works in the style of Arthur Honegger, the best known of which was Der Tod zu Basel, a piece for choir, soloists, speaker, and orchestra. Besides opera, his work extended to all kinds of instrumental and vocal music, including seven symphonies, seven concertos, chamber music, one oratorio, one lyric cantata, one elegy, and one ballet, Der große Bär.

Selected works[edit]

Stage
  • Der große Bär (The Big Bear), Ballet (1935–1936)
Orchestra
  • Aeneas Silvius, Symphony (1957)
  • Concertato (1964)
  • Fantasie (1969)
  • Hommages (1965)
  1. "Dans le lointain..."
  2. "...et dans le présent"
  • Hymne (1952)
  • Innominata (1931)
  • Kammerkonzert (1971)
  • Kleine Suite for string Orchestra (1930)
  • Nachklänge, Tripartita for orchestra (1983)
  • Ostinato (1936)
  • Sonatina (1958)
  • Suite Concertante for winds, percussion and double bass (1961)
  • Symphony No. 3 for string orchestra (1927)
  • Symphony No. 4 "Konzert für Orchester" (1928)
  • Symphony No. 5 (1930)[1]
  • Symphony No. 6 (1950)
Concertante
  • Concertino for clarinet, bassoon and orchestra (1954)
  • Concertino for oboe and orchestra (1962)
  • Concertino for Piano and orchestra (1927–1928)
  • Concerto for clarinet and orchestra (1967–1968)
  • Concerto for piano and orchestra (1930)
  • Concerto for string quartet and orchestra (1929)
  • Concerto for viola and orchestra (1949)
  • Concerto for wind quintet and orchestra (1976)
  • Kammerkonzert for violin and orchestra (1949)
  • Konzertmusik for oboe and string orchestra (1932)
  • Lichter und Schatten (Lights and Shadows), 3 Movements for 2 horns, percussion and string orchestra (1982)
  • Serenade for flute, clarinet and string orchestra (1935)
Chamber music
  • Alternances for clarinet, cello and piano (1980)
  • Duo for 2 violins (1960)
  • Duo for violin and viola (1934–1935)
  • Facetten, Three Impromptus for trumpet and piano (1975)
  • Intermezzo for horn and piano (1948)
  • Légende for clarinet and piano (1963)
  • Nocturne for alto saxophone and piano (1969)
  • Sonata No. 2 for cello and piano (1954)
  • Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano (1948)
  • Sonatina for cello and piano (1928)
  • Sonatina for 2 flutes (1971)
  • Sonatina for flute and 1 or 2 violins
  • Sonatina for flute and piano (1960)
  • Sonatina for oboe and piano (1957)
  • Sonatina for viola and piano (1976–1977)
  • Sonatina for violin and piano (1928)
  • String Quartet No. 3 (1927)
  • String Quartet No. 4 (1935)
  • String Quartet No. 5 (1967)
  • String Trio No. 1 (1928)
  • String Trio No. 2 (1947)
  • Three Epigrammes for cello solo (1976)
  • Trio for flute, oboe and piano (1983)
Piano
  • Sonatina (1928)
  • Sonatina No. 2 (1951)
  • Sonatina for piano 4-hands (1955)
Organ
  • Choral Sonata (1950)
  • Sonatina (1958)
  • Zwei Präludien (2 Preludes) (1932)
Vocal
  • Die Sonnenfinsternis, Cantata (1967)
  • Der Tod des Oedipus, Cantata for soprano, tenor, baritone, mixed chorus, organ, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones and timpani (1928)
  • Der Tod zu Basel, Großes Miserere for soprano, bass, 3 speakers, mixed chorus and orchestra (1952)
  • Elegie, Solo Cantata after Friedrich Hölderlin (1972)
  • Herbstfeuer, 6 Songs for alto and chamber orchestra (1956)
  • 3 Herbstgesänge for voice and piano or organ
  • Kammerkantate after Sonnets of Louise Labé for soprano, flute, piano and string orchestra (1937)
  • Lyrische Kantate for soprano, alto, female chorus and small orchestra (1931)
  • Suite nach Volksliedern im Jahresablauf (1947)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Published by Schott c. 1930 as Sinfonie nr. 5, für Orch. 1930. See Hofmeisters Monatsberichte. ÖNB (Leipzig: Friedrich Hofmeister). January 1931. Retrieved 2014-06-14.  However, the date at that HMB link may simply reflect the 1930 copyright on the score (OCLC 730050049), though the print was received by Hofmeisters Monatsberichte in January 1931.

External links[edit]