Pfitzner, Hans

(1869-1949)
   musician and composer; rejected the mu-sical forms of the avant-garde in favor of late nineteenth-century romanticism. Born in Moscow to a family of musicians, he was raised in Frankfurt and studied piano at the Hoch Conservatory. After several years as a music director and conductor in Berlin* and Munich, he directed Strassburg's opera during 1908-1916. While in Strassburg he composed the musical legend Palestrina, his best-known work. He returned to Berlin in 1920 and taught a composition master class at the Prussian Academy of Arts. In 1925 he received the Pour le Mérite (Peace Class) and was appointed senator of the German Academy. He was named full professor in 1928 at Munich's Academy of Music; his retirement was forced in 1934. Despite his reactionary penchant, he detested National So-cialism.
   Although Pfitzner perceived himself a romantic composer in the tradition of Robert Schumann and Carl Maria von Weber, he is more often linked with Wagner and Richard Strauss* (whom he disliked). Vehemently opposed to the idea that creativity is largely an unconscious act, he disputed the new theories emanating from Berlin's Ferruccio Busoni* and from Vienna's Alban Berg and Arnold Schoenberg.* His writings stressed the importance of inspiration, aes-thetics, and craftsmanship over artistic creation. Next to Palestrina (1916), his principal compositions included the cantata Von deutscher Seele (From the German soul, 1921) and the choral fantasy Das dunkle Reich (The dark empire, 1929).
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon;Müller-Blattau, Hans Pfitzner; New Grove, vol. 14; Newsom, "Hans Pfitzner"

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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