18. 1969? (ES makes a chapter on Henze out of AP's FT articles)
[HANS WERNER HENZE]
Much obliged for the glimpse into the workshop, which inspires the following random thoughts.
Make this an opera book, reserving orchestral music etc. for a later work. You’ll have enough material for both, and a line has to be drawn somewhere. Besides, opera is your forte (which is not to say that the instrumental is only your piano) and hence a good beginning. Other relevant works can appear en passant.
Each chapter is a composer, no doubt chronologically ("Opera through the ages") rather than alphabetically ("Opera A – Z"). Within each chapter, the operas in date order. I'm afraid this may mean more work(s). But it will make a better, because completer, book ("Omnia Opera"); and also one well suited, I'd say, to yours gifts for painless exposition and instruction. It would be good too, I think, to have new material written explicitly for the present purpose. As a corollary (and also with the practical aim of making room) a book would omit comments on eg performances and focus on what one might call consumer durables, ie what opera-goers will always want to know and be Grateful for. Then one can plan ahead to the second and third editions; the frame permits expansion by simple addition, and avoids rewriting. A serious work, then, but given unity and readability by the personal style and insight.
How bout "Fruit of A Lifetime, by A Porter at Covent Garden"?
As a penance for that, I've ventured in what follows to sketch out a Henze portion from the material provided, and on the lines suggested above. At least my effort might goad you into reshaping it. I trust it may. If so, you will find I think that though a lot of work is involved, it won 't be so demanding as you may have feared. It will be a great deal eased, if I may say so, by a radical change in the filing system. You could make a useful start by simply throwing away all reviews other than your own – already a common practice among the cognoscenti.
I'm returning the relevant documentation herewith; the rest will follow. Or would exchange for some Mozart or Britten pieces.
all ipsissima verba except where otherwise indicated (thus)
all references to FT id.
HANS WERNER HENZE (1926 – )
is the leading composer of his (and my) generation, one to be interpreter and inspiration and prophet for those whose musical understanding was formed after the war. Then Schoenberg (? Webern) and Stravinsky were the old gods, still speaking; but Henze speaks for and with us.
ÖMZ Aug 66
(?with their voices in mind. He later abjured serialism)
he sought to develop a mid-20th–century idiom in which to sing to his contemporaries, in the difficult language of their day, about love and joy and despair, and the beauties of art and nature. He writes in all forms prolifically but his largest (? and most important, and most characteristic because most linguistic) works are his operas. (In these ways and in his) fierce integrity (he is a neo–romantic) unconcerned with commercial success or fashionable cults (preoccupied with) pursuing and pinning down his own (personal) visions.
(At the same time he has always been the most practical of craftsmen) as coach and repetiteur in German theatres and later1as director of ballet) he learnt his craftsmanship at first hand.
(So what about DAS WUNDERTHEATER (1948) (an apt title for the young Henze)
ÖMZ Aug 66
id. P. 373
(This was exactly the right background for) a composer with
opera in his blood, 20th century musical techniques at his fingertips, and the competence to give theatrical and musical form to his visions. Soon the young (sic: 26) Henze exploded on the post-war German scene with his assured and brilliant
BOULEVARD SOLITUDE (1952)
which is of all his operas the most instantly attractive and the one likeliest to succeed with a wide public (It) is Manon Lescaut set in modern Paris, (etc etc; loc. cit.)
(the influences, the scoring and the ballet sequences2 reflect the Henze apprenticeship through the Henze temperement ) (ie the practical visionary)
(But ?this combination is unstable)
(Having thus) hit the jackpot in postwar Germany, Henze retired, like Rolland's Jean-Christophe from the fashionable "music market".to discover new inspiration in Italy. A magic world: what major German creator has not come under its spell?3 For four years he confided as if to a diary, his Mediterranean dreams and adventures ("woke from his summer dreams the blue M.is too good to miss; the West Wind could be woven in hereabouts)
to the long score of his next opera
KÖNIG HIRSCH (1956)
+Il Re Cervo
(This) is a long and elaborate piece etc (loc.cit.)
(bring out contrast of "dreams' and 'brilliance' in scoring)
(?something about Neapolitan Songs 1956?)
(something about Ondine, 1958?)
(? something about Des Kaisers Nachtigall,1959?)
(The cast of Hirsch includes) a young dreamer who mused spellbound amid the wonders of the enchanted forest (leads in to next opera)
Prinz FRIEDRICH VON HOMBURG (1960)
(The work was composed) to honour Igor Stravinsky, loc. cit.
(Less self-indulgence here than in HIRSCH; the developing Henze)
(Development perhaps means the confrontation of the visionary with the practical – or of emotion with responsibility, in general terms? these are Henzean themes)
(Anyhow the responsibility seems to begin to emerge more strongly with the) tauter, more practical (score of) the next opera
ELEGY FOR YOUNG LOVERS(1961)
Each of Henze's operas had been a advance, etc. loc. cit
(The libretto) accepted as poetic truth and turned into music. etc.
(But with respect the bedfellows of the libretto's craft and the music's dreams don't seem all that curious but on the contrary very Henzean. Besides, he knew his Auden well – see the reference to Nones in Mein König Hirsch - and he must have known perfectly well what kind of a libretto he would get and that it would suit him. Isn't the dichotomy "perfection of the life or of the work" (see the Auden/Kallman Genesis of a Libretto) another aspect of the Henzean visionary/craftsman?
(cf also your description of the Laudes, which might be worked in here, as) romantically conceived and intricately crafted.
(Very like love, also! one might work in therefore the) great outpouring of love music etc, loc. cit.
(Can there be any connexion between that and the)
Return to Germany – not to live but to be lionised, conducted by Karajan etc (loc. cit.)
This period is opened by
DER JUNGE LORD (1964)
another fusion of practical man and visionary
which brings Henze back into the bustle of the market place – still unspoiled but again more practical – a vision realised with great sharpness.
(This opera) was commissioned etc (loc. cit)
(More needed here about the social(ist) aspects of Der junge Lord – we're going to need some preparation for the fiery radical Henze, of whom we've as yet had no inkling)
(perhaps Das Ende einer Welt and Der Landarzt help with this?)
(certainly THE BASSARIDS does – but I can't find anything by you about it)
Floss der Meduse goes in here to bring us up to date; material as in loc. cit.)
(Similarly Versuch über Schweine gets a mention)
(Summary – Peroration
Trace history of practical /visionary theme – not surprising that Henze won the Robert Schumann prize
relate to social sense
One might say that the practical visionary is the Communist,
the practical visionary the Catholic
— any signs of Henze's going over to Rome, a well as Neaples?
That's the Walton tie-up, one wonders? (see under Walton, perhaps)
More like Adrian Leverkühn than Jean-Christophe?
Anyhow; the music is self-expressive, neo-romantic. Passionately concerned with people as projections of (?his own) feeling.)
Each character has his own sound-world of instruments and intervals
(Very much influenced by theatre and theatre people — Prinz suggested by Visconti)
(Hence the interesting point that he draws no very clear line between theatre and concert music)
(in the latter also the same practical/visionary pattern prevails)
sound-marvels used as part of a tightly organised and cogent composition (the Double Concerto)
(positive achievement so far)
(ELEGY is) one of the finest operas of our age.
(Der junge Lord will live too)
(So how about a long-range prediction about the direction Henze ought to take and the heights to which he might then attain?)
(About time he tackled Faust and Hamlet perhaps?)