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Hans Werner Henze was among the most prolific and successful of contemporary German composers. His systematic study of music only began after the war, with Wolfgang Fortner, and later with visits to Darmstadt and absorption of serial technique, to be used with great originality in a musical language that was also influenced by Stravinsky. In 1953 he moved to Italy, and gradually developed his leaning towards the political New Left, reflected in some of his music and choices of texts and themes. His festival activities at Montepulciano and his involvement with the Munich Biennale, among other things, enabled him to exercise a strong influence on the course and promotion of contemporary music. In Italy he had eventually settled in a villa near Rome, where he lived with his partner Fausto Moroni, who helped him recover from a serious illness but died himself in 2007, to be remembered in Henze’s Elogium Musicum, a work for chorus and orchestra.

Stage Works

Henze’s immensely successful operas range from the 1951 Kafka radio opera, with its Trakl settings, Der Landarzt (The Country Doctor) to König Hirsch (King Stag), the Kleist Prinz von Homburg, Elegy for Young Lovers, with a libretto by WH Auden and Chester Kallmann, Der junge Lord (The Young Lord), based on a tale by Wilhelm Hauff, The Bassarids, with Auden and Kallmann, based on Euripides, and We Come to the River and The English Cat, with texts by Edward Bond. Der verratene Meer (Treacherous Oceans), based on Yukio Mishima’s Gogo no eiko, translated as The Sailor who fell out of Grace with the Sea, had its première in 1990, to be followed by Venus and Adonis, a fifteenth opera L’Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe (The Hoopoe and The Triumph of Filial Love), an Arabian fairy-tale, and, in 2007, Phaedra, a reworking of the tragedy of Phaedra and her stepson Hippolytus. Henze also provided music for a series of ballets and incidental music for the cinema and the theatre. His work continued with the opera Gisela! or the Strange and Memorable Ways of Happiness, staged in 2010, after the first performance earlier in the same year of Immolazione (Sacrifice), based on Franz Werfel’s long poem Das Opfer.

Orchestral Music

An exceptionally wide range of orchestral music includes ten symphonies, with a seventh drawing on Hölderlin and an eighth on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Henze has written concertos for piano, for violin and, for Gary Karr, a double bass concerto, as well as a double concerto for oboe and harp for Heinz and Ursula Holliger.

Chamber & Instrumental Music

In addition to his string quartets Henze has written music for a variety of ensembles, including sonatas for violin, for viola and for flute and piano. Music for solo instruments includes the useful Lucy Escott Variations for harpsichord, works for various solo instruments, for violin, double bass, cello, marimba and trumpet, as well as a set of pieces for solo guitar, These last include his two Royal Winter Music, with movements based on characters from Shakespeare.

Vocal & Choral Music

Vocal and choral music by Henze is equally varied and remarkable, with Novae de infinito laudes (New Praises of the Infinite) with a text from Giordano Bruno, the Virgilian Muses of Sicily and the controversial Das Floss der ‘Medusa’ (The Raft of the Medusa), as well as the revolutionary El Cimarrón (The Fugitive).

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
GLASS Of Beauty and Light (US Version) Naxos 8.503202
PÄRT The Silence of Being Naxos 8.506015

View by Role: Classical Composer | Conductor
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BACH, J. / HINDEMITH / SANDSTROM: Music for Brass Ensemble BIS
Chamber Music
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE II (THE)- Opera, Ballet and Theatre Highlights (Blu-ray, HD) Opus Arte
Ballet DVD
GRONDONA, Stefano: Guitar Works by Bach, Henze, Petrassi Dynamic
Guitar Recital: Gregoriadou, Smaro - PEYROT, F. / BARRIOS, A. / HENZE, H.W. / KOSHKIN, N. (El Aleph: 20th and 21st Century Guitar Music) Delos
Guitar Recital: Jeffrey McFadden Naxos
HENZE, H.: Symphony No. 7 / 7 Boleros / Overture for a Theatre / L’heure bleue (Gürzenich Orchestra, Stenz) Oehms Classics
HENZE, H.W.: Guitar Music, Vol. 1 (Halasz) - Royal Winter Music No. 2 / 3 Tentos / Neue Volkslieder und Hirtengesange Naxos
Instrumental, Vocal, Chamber Music, Instrumental
HENZE, H.W.: Guitar Music, Vol. 2 (Halasz) - Royal Winter Music No. 1 / Carillon, Recitatif, Masque / Ode an eine Aolsharfe Naxos
Instrumental, Chamber Music
HENZE, H.W.: Il Vitalino Raddoppiato / Violin Concerto No. 2 (Sheppard Skærved, Longbow, Parnassus Ensemble, Henze) Naxos
HENZE, H.W.: Ondine (Royal Ballet, 2009) (Blu-ray, HD) Opus Arte
Ballet DVD
HENZE, H.W.: Ondine (Royal Ballet, 2009) (NTSC) Opus Arte
Ballet DVD
HENZE, H.W.: Symphony No. 8 / Nachtstucke und Arien / Die Bassariden: Adagio, Fuge und Manadentanz (Barainsky, Cologne Gurzenich Orchestra, Stenz) Phoenix Edition
Vocal, Orchestral
HENZE, H.W.: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 3 / 5 Night-Pieces (Sheppard Skaerved, Shorr, Saarbrucken Radio Symphony, Lyndon-Gee) Naxos
Concertos, Chamber Music
HENZE: L'autunno / HINDEMITH: Kleine Kammermusik BIS
Chamber Music
HENZE: Prinz von Homburg (Der) (PAL) Arthaus Musik
Opera DVD
HENZE: Symphony No. 7 / Ariosi on Poems by Torquato Tasso SWR Klassik
Vocal, Orchestral
JOB FLOW JOB - Afterwork Classics (Sampler for MÄNNER Magazine) Naxos
LEAVING HOME: Orchestral Music in the 20th Century (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
Classical Documentary
LEAVING HOME: Orchestral Music in the 20th Century, Vol. 7: Threads (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
Classical Documentary
LINDBERG, M.: Mano a mano / TAKEMITSU, T.: Mori no naka de / HENZE, H.: Guitar Sonata No. 1 (Korhonen) Ondine
RATTLE, Simon: Sir Simon Rattle Conducts and Explores Music of the 20th Century (3-Blu-ray Disc Box Set) Arthaus Musik
Classical Documentary
RATTLE, Simon: Sir Simon Rattle Conducts and Explores Music of the 20th Century (5-DVD Box Set) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
Classical Documentary
REVOLUTION DER KLANGE (DIE): Musik im 20. Jahrhundert (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
Classical Documentary
REVOLUTION DER KLANGE (DIE): Musik im 20. Jahrhundert, Vol. 7: Zu neuen Ufern (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
Classical Documentary
SEASONS (The) (Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet) BIS
Chamber Music
SONIC REBELLION - Alternative Classical Collection Naxos
Chamber Music
Trumpet Recital: Friedrich, Reinhold - STRAVINSKY, I. / HONEGGER, A. / HENZE, H.W. / HINDEMITH, P. / WOLPE, S. / SKALKOTTAS, N. Capriccio
Violin Recital: Doll, Barbara - ENESCU, G. / SCHUBERT, F. / SCHOENBERG, A. / HENZE, H.W. ArcoDiva
Chamber Music
WAGNER GALA (THE) (Kaufmann, Thielemann) (Blu-ray, HD) C Major
Classical Concert
WAGNER GALA (THE) (Kaufmann, Thielemann) (NTSC) C Major
Classical Concert

Role: Conductor 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 

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