The composer at his desk in April 2008
28 June 1925|
5 October 2009 (aged 84)|
|Organization||Hochschule für Musik Detmold|
|Awards||Academy of Arts|
Giselher Wolfgang Klebe (28 June 1925 – 5 October 2009) was a German composer, and an academic teacher. He composed more than 140 works, among them 14 literary operas, eight symphonies, 15 solo concerts, chamber music, piano works, and sacred music.
Giselher Klebe was born in Mannheim, Germany. He received musical tuition early in his life from his mother, the violinist Gertrud Klebe. The family relocated in 1932 to Munich, where his mother's sister, Melanie Michaelis, continued the training. His father's profession required a further relocation in 1936 to Rostock.
Following the separation of his parents, Klebe moved with his mother and sister to Berlin. During 1938, the 13-year-old sketched his first compositions. In 1940, he began studies in violin, viola, and composition, supported by a grant from the city of Berlin.
After serving his Reichsarbeitsdienst (labour service), Klebe was conscripted to military service as signalman. After the German surrender, he was taken prisoner of war by the Russian forces. Due to ill health, he was soon released.
Having convalesced, Klebe continued his music studies in Berlin (1946–1951), first under Joseph Rufer, then in master classes by Boris Blacher. He worked for the radio station Berliner Rundfunk until 1948, when he began to work full-time as a composer.
Klebe was inspired and influenced by works of authors and artists, especially his contemporaries. In 1951 he composed Die Zwitschermaschine Op. 7, (The Twittering Machine), based on the well-known painting by Paul Klee. His first opera, based on Friedrich Schiller's play Die Räuber (The Robbers), was produced in 1957. He composed two operas based on plays by Ödön von Horváth.
In 1957, Klebe succeeded Wolfgang Fortner as docent for the subjects of Composition and Music Theory at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold. He was appointed professor in 1962 and, over the years, taught many students who went on to become well-known composers: Theo Brandmüller, Peter Michael Braun, Hans Martin Corrinth, Matthias Pintscher, and Lars Woldt.
Honors and legacy
- In 1964 Klebe was appointed member of the West Berlin Akademie der Künste (Arts Academy).
- In 1965 he received the Westfälischer Musikpreis (later named the Hans-Werner-Henze-Preis).
- In 2002, the city of Detmold, where he lived, made him an honorary citizen.
Marriage and family
On 10 September 1946 Klebe married the violinist Lore Schiller. They had two daughters, Sonja Katharina and Annette Marianne. Lore Klebe wrote the librettos for some of his operas, including Der Jüngste Tag (Doomsday).
Klebe died on 5 October 2009 in Detmold at the age of 84 after a long illness.
|4||Piano sonata||Piano sonata|
|13||Wiegenlieder für Christinchen||Piano|
|22||Elegia appassionata||Piano trio|
|25||Die Räuber||The Robbers||Opera|
|27||Die tödlichen Wünsche||The Deadly Wishes||Opera|
|29||Cello Concerto No. 1||Cello concerto|
|32||Die Ermordung Cäsars||The Murder of Caesar||Opera|
|37||Adagio and Fugue with a motif from Wagner's Die Walküre||Orchestral|
|39||9 Duettini per pianoforte e flauto||Duo|
|40||Figaro lässt sich scheiden||Figaro Gets Divorced||Opera|
|49||Jacobowsky und der Oberst||Jacobovsky and the Colonel||Opera|
|50||Concerto a cinque||Concerto|
|53||Symphony No. 3 (1966)||Symphony|
|55||Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie||The Fairy Tale of the Fair Lily||Opera|
|69||Ein wahrer Held||A True Hero||Opera|
|72||Das Mädchen aus Domrémy||The Girl from Domrémy||Opera|
|75||Symphony No. 5 (1976–77)||Symphony|
|76||9 Piano pieces for Sonja||Piano|
|82||Der Jüngste Tag||Doomsday||Opera|
|87||String Quartet No. 3||String quartet|
|90||Die Fastnachtsbeichte||Carnival Confession||Opera|
|120||Symphony No. 6 (1996)||Symphony|
|149||Chlestakows Wiederkehr||Khlestakov's Return||Opera|
- Erik Levi, "Klebe, Giselher", in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
- Michael Herbert Rentzsch (with Erik Levi): "Klebe, Giselher", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy, Oxford University Press (subscription required)