Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen, WWV 86, is a cycle of four German-language epic music dramas composed by Richard Wagner. The works are based loosely on characters from the Nibelungenlied; the composer termed the cycle a "Bühnenfestspiel", structured in three days preceded by a Vorabend. It is referred to as the Ring Cycle, Wagner's Ring, or The Ring. Wagner wrote the libretto and music over the course of about twenty-six years, from 1848 to 1874; the four parts that constitute the Ring cycle are, in sequence: Das Rheingold Die Walküre Siegfried Götterdämmerung Individual works of the sequence have been performed separately, indeed the operas contain dialogues that mention events in the previous operas, so that a viewer could watch any of them without having watched the previous parts and still understand the plot. However, Wagner intended them to be performed in series; the first performance as a cycle opened the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876, beginning with Das Rheingold on 13 August and ending with Götterdämmerung on 17 August.
Opera stage director Anthony Freud stated that Der Ring des Nibelungen "marks the high-water mark of our art form, the most massive challenge any opera company can undertake." Wagner's title is most rendered in English as The Ring of the Nibelung. The Nibelung of the title is the dwarf Alberich, the ring in question is the one he fashions from the Rhine Gold; the title therefore denotes "Alberich's Ring". The "-en" suffix in "Nibelungen" can occur in a genitive singular, accusative singular, dative singular, or a plural in any case, but the article "des" preceding makes it clear that the genitive singular is intended here. "Nibelungen" is mistaken as a plural, but the Ring of the Nibelungs is incorrect. The cycle is a work of extraordinary scale; the most outstanding facet of the monumental work is its sheer length: a full performance of the cycle takes place over four nights at the opera, with a total playing time of about 15 hours, depending on the conductor's pacing. The first and shortest work, Das Rheingold, has no interval and is one continuous piece of music lasting around two and a half hours, while the final and longest, Götterdämmerung, takes up to five hours, excluding intervals.
The cycle is modelled after ancient Greek dramas that were presented as three tragedies and one satyr play. The Ring proper ends with Götterdämmerung, with Rheingold as a prelude. Wagner called Das Rheingold a Vorabend or "Preliminary Evening", Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung were subtitled First Day, Second Day and Third Day of the trilogy proper; the scale and scope of the story is epic. It follows the struggles of gods and several mythical creatures over the eponymous magic ring that grants domination over the entire world; the drama and intrigue continue through three generations of protagonists, until the final cataclysm at the end of Götterdämmerung. The music of the cycle is thick and richly textured, grows in complexity as the cycle proceeds. Wagner wrote for an orchestra of gargantuan proportions, including a enlarged brass section with new instruments such as the Wagner tuba, bass trumpet and contrabass trombone. Remarkably, he uses a chorus only briefly, in acts 2 and 3 of Götterdämmerung, mostly of men with just a few women.
He had a purpose-built theatre constructed, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, in which to perform this work. The theatre has a special stage that blends the huge orchestra with the singers' voices, allowing them to sing at a natural volume; the result was that the singers did not have to strain themselves vocally during the long performances. The plot revolves around a magic ring that grants the power to rule the world, forged by the Nibelung dwarf Alberich from gold he stole from the Rhine maidens in the river Rhine; the Ring itself as described by Wagner is a Rune-magic taufr intended to rule the feminine multiplicative power by a fearful magical act termed as'denial of love'. With the assistance of the god Loge, Wotan – the chief of the gods – steals the ring from Alberich, but is forced to hand it over to the giants and Fasolt in payment for building the home of the gods, Valhalla, or they will take Freia, who provides the gods with the golden apples that keep them young. Wotan's schemes to regain the ring, spanning generations, drive much of the action in the story.
His grandson, the mortal Siegfried, wins the ring by slaying Fafner – as Wotan intended – but is betrayed and slain as a result of the intrigues of Alberich's son Hagen, who wants the ring for himself. The Valkyrie Brünnhilde – Siegfried's lover and Wotan's daughter who lost her immortality for defying her father in an attempt to save Siegfried's father Sigmund – returns the ring to the Rhine maidens as she commits suicide on Siegfried's funeral pyre. Hagen is drowned. In the process, the gods and Valhalla are destroyed. Details of the storylines can be found in the articles on each music drama. Wagner created the story of the Ring by fusing elements from many German and Scandinavian myths and folk tales; the Old Norse Edda supplied much of the material for Das Rheingold, while Die Walküre was based on the Völsunga saga. Siegfried contains elements from the Völsunga saga and Thidrekssaga; the final Götterdämmerung, draws from the 12th-century German poem, the Nibelungenlied, which appears to have been the original inspiration for
Colmar is the third-largest commune of the Alsace region in north-eastern France. It is the seat of the prefecture of the Haut-Rhin department and the arrondissement of Colmar-Ribeauvillé; the town is situated on the Alsatian Wine Route and considers itself to be the "capital of Alsatian wine". The city is renowned for its well-preserved old town, its numerous architectural landmarks, its museums, among, the Unterlinden Museum, with the Isenheim Altarpiece. Colmar was founded in the 9th century and is mentioned as Columbarium Fiscum by the monk Notker Balbulus in a text dated 823; this was the location where the Carolingian Emperor Charles the Fat held a diet in 884. Colmar was granted the status of a free imperial city by Emperor Frederick II in 1226. In 1354 it joined the Décapole city league. In 1548 Josel of Rosheim urged the Reichskammergericht court to repeal the Colmar market ban on Jewish merchants; the city adopted the Protestant Reformation in 1575, long after the northern neighbours of Strasbourg and Sélestat.
During the Thirty Years' War, it was taken by the Swedish army in 1632. In 1634 the Schoeman family started the first town library. In 1635 the city's harvest was spoiled by Imperialist forces while the residents shot at them from the walls; the city was conquered by France under King Louis XIV in 1673 and ceded by the 1679 Treaties of Nijmegen. With the rest of Alsace, Colmar was annexed by the newly formed German Empire in 1871 as a result of the Franco-Prussian War and incorporated into the Alsace-Lorraine province, it returned to France after World War I according to the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1940, reverted to French control after the battle of the "Colmar Pocket" in 1945. Colmar has been continuously governed by conservative parties since 1947, the Popular Republican Movement, the Union for French Democracy and the Union for a Popular Movement, has had only three mayors during that time; the Colmar Treasure, a hoard of precious objects hidden by Jews during the Black Death, was discovered here in 1863.
Colmar is 64 kilometres south-southwest of Strasbourg, at 48.08°N, 7.36°E, on the Lauch River, a tributary of the Ill. It is connected to the Rhine in the east by a canal. In 2013, the city had a population of 67,956, the metropolitan area of Colmar had a population of 126,957 in 2009. Colmar is the center of the arrondissement of Colmar-Ribeauvillé, which had 199,182 inhabitants in 2013. Colmar has a sunny microclimate and is one of the driest cities in France, with an annual precipitation of just 607 mm, making it ideal for Alsace wine, it is considered the capital of the Alsatian wine region. The dryness results from the town's location next to mountains, which force clouds arriving from the west to rise, much of their moisture to condense and fall as precipitation over the higher ground, leaving the air warmed and dried by the time it reaches Colmar. Spared from the destructions of the French Revolution and the wars of 1870–1871, 1914–1918 and 1939–1945, the cityscape of old-town Colmar is homogenous and renowned among tourists.
An area, crossed by canals of the river Lauch is now called "little Venice". Colmar's secular and religious architectural landmarks reflect eight centuries of Germanic and French architecture and the adaptation of their respective stylistic language to the local customs and building materials. Maison Adolph – 14th century Koïfhus known as Ancienne Douane – 1480 Maison Pfister – 1537. Ancien Corps de garde – 1575 Maison des Chevaliers de Saint-Jean – 1608 Maison des Têtes – 1609 Poêle des laboureurs – 1626 Ancien Hôpital – 1736–1744 Tribunal de grande instance – 1771 Hôtel de ville – 1790 Colmar prison –- 1791 a convent built in 1316. Cour d'Assises – 1840 Théâtre municipal – 1849 Marché couvert – 1865; the city's covered market, built in stone and cast iron, still serves today. Préfecture – 1866 Water tower – 1886. Oldest still preserved water tower in Alsace. Out of use since 1984. Gare SNCF – 1905 Cour d'appel – 1906 Église Saint-Martin – 1234–1365; the largest church of Colmar and one of the largest in Haut-Rhin.
Displays some early stained glass windows, several Gothic and Renaissance sculptures and altars, a grand Baroque organ case. The choir is surrounded by an ambulatory opening on a series of Gothic chapels, a unique feature in Alsatian churches. Église des Dominicains – 1289–1364. Now disaffected as a church, displays Martin Schongauer's masterwork La Vierge au buisson de roses as well as 14th century stained glass windows and baroque choir stalls; the adjacent convent buildings house a section of the municipal library. Église Saint-Matthieu – 13th century. Gothic and Renaissance stained glass windows and mural paintings, as well as a wooden and painted ceiling. Couvent des Antonins – 13th century. Disaffected church and convent buildings notable for a richly ornate cloister. Now housing the Unterlinden Museum. Église Sainte-Catherine – 1371. Disaffected church and convent buildings now used as an assembly festival venue. Chapelle
Béatrice et Bénédict
Béatrice et Bénédict is an opéra comique in two acts by Hector Berlioz. Berlioz wrote the French libretto himself, based on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Berlioz had been interested in setting Shakespeare's comedy since his return from Italy in 1833, but only composed the score of Béatrice et Bénédict following the completion of Les Troyens in 1858, it was first performed at the opening of the Theater Baden-Baden on 9 August 1862. Berlioz conducted the first two performances of a German version in Weimar in 1863, where, as he wrote in his memoirs, he was "overwhelmed by all sorts of kind attention." It is the first notable version of Shakespeare's play in operatic form, was followed by works by among others Árpád Doppler, Paul Puget and Reynaldo Hahn. Berlioz biographer David Cairns has written: "Listening to the score's exuberant gaiety, only momentarily touched by sadness, one would never guess that its composer was in pain when he wrote it and impatient for death". Berlioz described the premiere of Béatrice et Bénédict as a "great success" in a letter to his son Louis.
Although it continued to be staged in German cities in the years after the premiere, the first performance in France only took place on 5 June 1890 at the Théâtre de l'Odéon, promoted by the Société des Grandes auditions musicales de France, conducted by Charles Lamoureux, with Juliette Bilbaut-Vauchelet and Émile Engel in the lead roles. Paul Bastide conducted a notable production of Bénédict in Strasbourg in the late 1940s, it was produced at the Paris Opéra-Comique in 1966 conducted by Pierre Dervaux but with recitatives by Tony Aubin, in February 2010 under Emmanuel Krivine. The UK premiere was on 24 March 1936 in Glasgow under Erik Chisholm; the English National Opera opened a production on 25 January 1990, with wife and husband Ann Murray and Philip Langridge in the title roles. The work was first performed in New York in 1977 as a concert performance at Carnegie Hall, Seiji Ozawa conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Although rather infrequently performed and not part of the standard operatic repertoire, recent productions have included Amsterdam and Welsh National Opera tour in 2001, Prague State Opera in 2003, Santa Fe Opera in 2004, Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg in 2005, Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2007, Houston Grand Opera in 2008, Opera Boston in 2011, Theater an der Wien in 2013, Glyndebourne in 2016.
The first Swedish production of the opera was at Läckö Castle in 2015. The overture alludes to several parts of the score without becoming a pot-pourri; the opera opens with Sicilienne. Héro has a two-part air where she looks expectantly to the return of Claudio; the sparring between Béatrice and Bénédict begins in a duo. An allegretto trio of "conspiratorial humour" for Don Pedro, Claudio and Bénédict, consists of the latter expounding his views on marriage to which the others pass comment. After Somarone has rehearsed his Epithalame grotesque, Bénédict's fast rondo reveals that he has fallen for the plot and will try to be in love; the act ends with a nocturne for Héro and Ursule – a slow duo in 6/8 which W. J. Turner described as "a marvel of indescribable lyrical beauty" and which Grove compares to "Nuit d'ivresse" in Les Troyens; the second act opens with a drinking song for Somarone and chorus with guitar and tambourine prominent. Next, in an extended air across a wide melodic span, Béatrice acknowledges that she too is powerless against love and in the following trio Héro and Ursule join her to extol the joys of marriage.
There is a marche nuptiale and the work ends with a brilliant duet marked scherzo-duettino for the title characters whose "sparkle and gaiety" end the comedy perfectly. Woodwind: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons Brass: 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 1 cornet à piston, 3 trombones Percussion: timpani, glasses Strings: strings, guitar Harp: 2hp Time: The 16th century. Place: Messina, Sicily. Don Pedro, prince of Aragon, is visiting Messina after a successful military victory over the Moors, celebrated by all of Sicily, he is joined by Claudio and Bénédict. They are greeted by Léonato, governor of Messina, together with his daughter, Héro, niece, Béatrice. Héro awaits the return of her fiancé, Claudio and rewarded for his valour. Béatrice scorns Bénédict, they trade insults, as they have in previous meetings, tease each other. Bénédict swears to his friends. Claudio and Pedro scheme to trick Bénédict into marrying Béatrice. Knowing that he is listening, Léonato assures Pedro. Upon hearing this, Bénédict resolves that Béatrice's love must not go unrequited, so he decides to pursue her.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, Héro and her attendant, manage to play a similar trick on Béatrice who now believes that Bénédict is secretly in love with her. To celebrate the pending wedding of Claudio and Héro, Léonato hosts a masquerade party. A local music teacher, leads the group in song and everybody enjoys themselves except Béatrice who realizes that she has fallen in love with Bénédict. With Héro and Ursule she sings of the happiness of a bride about to be wed; as she turns to leave she is met by Bénédict, prompting an exchange in which they both attempt to conceal their love for each other. A notary solemnizes the marriage of Claudi
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery and sometimes dance or ballet; the performance is given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor. Opera is a key part of the Western classical music tradition. Understood as an sung piece, in contrast to a play with songs, opera has come to include numerous genres, including some that include spoken dialogue such as musical theater, Singspiel and Opéra comique. In traditional number opera, singers employ two styles of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style and self-contained arias; the 19th century saw the rise of the continuous music drama. Opera originated in Italy at the end of the 16th century and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Heinrich Schütz in Germany, Jean-Baptiste Lully in France, Henry Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century.
In the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate most of Europe, attracting foreign composers such as George Frideric Handel. Opera seria was the most prestigious form of Italian opera, until Christoph Willibald Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his "reform" operas in the 1760s; the most renowned figure of late 18th-century opera is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who began with opera seria but is most famous for his Italian comic operas The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, as well as Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Magic Flute, landmarks in the German tradition. The first third of the 19th century saw the high point of the bel canto style, with Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini all creating works that are still performed, it saw the advent of Grand Opera typified by the works of Auber and Meyerbeer. The mid-to-late 19th century was a golden age of opera and dominated by Giuseppe Verdi in Italy and Richard Wagner in Germany; the popularity of opera continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Giacomo Puccini and Richard Strauss in the early 20th century.
During the 19th century, parallel operatic traditions emerged in central and eastern Europe in Russia and Bohemia. The 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles, such as atonality and serialism and Minimalism. With the rise of recording technology, singers such as Enrico Caruso and Maria Callas became known to much wider audiences that went beyond the circle of opera fans. Since the invention of radio and television, operas were performed on these mediums. Beginning in 2006, a number of major opera houses began to present live high-definition video transmissions of their performances in cinemas all over the world. Since 2009, complete performances are live streamed; the words of an opera are known as the libretto. Some composers, notably Wagner, have written their own libretti. Traditional opera referred to as "number opera", consists of two modes of singing: recitative, the plot-driving passages sung in a style designed to imitate and emphasize the inflections of speech, aria in which the characters express their emotions in a more structured melodic style.
Vocal duets and other ensembles occur, choruses are used to comment on the action. In some forms of opera, such as singspiel, opéra comique and semi-opera, the recitative is replaced by spoken dialogue. Melodic or semi-melodic passages occurring in the midst of, or instead of, are referred to as arioso; the terminology of the various kinds of operatic voices is described in detail below. During both the Baroque and Classical periods, recitative could appear in two basic forms, each of, accompanied by a different instrumental ensemble: secco recitative, sung with a free rhythm dictated by the accent of the words, accompanied only by basso continuo, a harpsichord and a cello. Over the 18th century, arias were accompanied by the orchestra. By the 19th century, accompagnato had gained the upper hand, the orchestra played a much bigger role, Wagner revolutionized opera by abolishing all distinction between aria and recitative in his quest for what Wagner termed "endless melody". Subsequent composers have tended to follow Wagner's example, though some, such as Stravinsky in his The Rake's Progress have bucked the trend.
The changing role of the orchestra in opera is described in more detail below. The Italian word opera means "work", both in the sense of the labour done and the result produced; the Italian word derives from the Latin opera, a singular noun meaning "work" and the plural of the noun opus. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Italian word was first used in the sense "composition in which poetry and music are combined" in 1639. Dafne by Jacopo Peri was the earliest composition considered opera, it was writt
Virtual International Authority File
The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
The data are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting protocol; the file numbers are being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata. VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month; as more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records. Authority control Faceted Application of Subject Terminology Integrated Authority File International Standard Authority Data Number International Standard Name Identifier Wikipedia's authority control template for articles Official website VIAF at OCLC
Mulhouse is a city and commune in eastern France, close to the Swiss and German borders. With a population of 112,063 in 2013 and 284,739 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 2012, it is the largest city in the Haut-Rhin département, the second largest in the Alsace region after Strasbourg. Mulhouse is the principal commune of the 33 making up the communauté d'agglomération Mulhouse Alsace Agglomération. Mulhouse is famous for its museums the Cité de l’Automobile and the Musée Français du Chemin de Fer the largest automobile and railway museums in the world. An industrial town nicknamed "the French Manchester", Mulhouse is the main seat of the Upper Alsace University, where is found the secretariat of the European Physical Society. Mulhouse is the chief city of an arrondissement of the Haut-Rhin département, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Legends mention the origin of Mulhouse in 58 BC, but the first written records of the town date from the twelfth century, it was part of the southern Alsatian county of Sundgau in the Holy Roman Empire.
From 1354 to 1515, Mulhouse was part of the Décapole, an association of ten Free Imperial Cities in Alsace. The city joined the Swiss Confederation as an associate in 1515 and was therefore not annexed by France in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 like the rest of the Sundgau. An enclave in Alsace, it was a free and independent Calvinist republic, known as Stadtrepublik Mülhausen, associated with the Swiss Confederation until, after a vote by its citizens on 4 January 1798, it became a part of France in the Treaty of Mulhouse signed on 28 January 1798, during the Directory period of the French Revolution. Starting in the middle of the eighteenth century, the Koechlin family pioneered cotton cloth manufacturing. André Koechlin built machinery and started making railroad equipment in 1842; the firm in 1839 employed 1,800 people. It was one of the six large French locomotive constructors until the merger with Elsässische Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft Grafenstaden in 1872, when the company became Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques.
After the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War, Mulhouse was annexed to the German Empire as part of the territory of Alsace-Lorraine. The city was occupied by French troops on 8 August 1914 at the start of World War I, but they were forced to withdraw two days in the Battle of Mulhouse; the citizens of Alsace who unwisely celebrated the appearance of the French army were left to face German reprisals, with several citizens sentenced to death. After World War I ended in 1918, French troops entered Alsace. Germany ceded the region to France under the Treaty of Versailles. After the Battle of France in 1940, it was occupied by German forces until its return to French control at the end of World War II in May 1945; the town's development was stimulated first by the expansion of the textile industry and tanning, subsequently by chemical and Engineering industries from the mid 18th century. Mulhouse was for a long time called the French Manchester; the town has enduring links with Louisiana, from which it imported cotton, with the Levant.
The town's history explains why its centre is small. Two rivers run through both tributaries of the Rhine. Mulhouse is 100 kilometres away from Strasbourg and Zürich, it lies close enough to Basel and Freiburg, Germany to share the EuroAirPort international airport with these two cities. Mulhouse's climate is temperate oceanic, but its location further away from the ocean gives the city colder winters with some snow, hot and humid summers, in comparison with the rest of France. Medieval Mulhouse consists of a lower and an upper town; the lower town was the inner city district of merchants and craftsmen. It developed around the Place de la Réunion. Nowadays this area is pedestrianised; the upper town developed from the eighteenth century on. Several monastic orders were established there, notably the Franciscans, Poor Clares and Knights of Malta; the Nouveau Quartier is the best example of urban planning in Mulhouse, was developed from 1826 on, after the town walls had been torn down. It is focused around the Place de la République.
Its network of streets and its triangular shape are a good demonstration of the town's desire for a planned layout. The planning was undertaken by the architects G. Félix Fries; this inner city district was occupied by rich families and the owners of local industries, who tended to be liberal and republican in their opinions. The Rebberg district consists of grand houses inspired by the colonnaded residences of Louisiana cotton planters; this was the town's vineyard. The houses here were built as terraces in the English style, a result of the town's close relationship with Manchester, where the sons of industrialists were sent to study. Hôtel de Ville; the town hall was built in 1553 in the Rhenish Renaissance style. Montaigne described it as a "palais magnifique et tout doré" in 1580, it is known for its trompe l'œil paintings, its pictures of allegories representing the vices and virtues. Workers' qu
Hans Erich Pfitzner was a German composer and self-described anti-modernist. His best known work is the post-Romantic opera Palestrina, loosely based on the life of the sixteenth-century composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Pfitzner was born in Russia where his father played violin in a theater orchestra; the family returned to his father's native town Frankfurt in 1872, when Pfitzner was two years old, he always considered Frankfurt his home town. He received early instruction in violin from his father, his earliest compositions were composed at age 11. In 1884 he wrote his first songs. From 1886 to 1890 he studied composition with Iwan Knorr and piano with James Kwast at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, he taught piano and theory at the Koblenz Conservatory from 1892 to 1893. In 1894 he was appointed conductor at the Stadttheater in Mainz; these were all low-paying jobs, Pfitzner was working as Erster Kapellmeister with the Berlin Theater des Westens when he was appointed to a modestly prestigious post of opera director and head of the conservatory in Straßburg in 1908, when Pfitzner was 40.
In Strasbourg, Pfitzner had some professional stability, it was there he gained significant power to direct his own operas. He viewed control over the stage direction to be his particular domain, this view was to cause him particular difficulty for the rest of his career; the central event of Pfitzner's life was the annexation of Imperial Alsace—and with it Strasbourg—by France in the aftermath of World War I. Pfitzner lost his livelihood and was left destitute at age 50; this hardened several difficult traits in Pfitzner's personality: an elitism believing he was entitled to sinecures for his contributions to German art and for the hard work of his youth, notorious social awkwardness and a lack of tact, a sincere belief that his music was under-recognized and under-appreciated with a tendency for his sympathizers to form cults around him, a patronizing style with his publishers, a feeling that he had been slighted by Germany's enemies. His bitterness and cultural pessimism deepened in the 1920s with the death of his wife in 1926 and meningitis of his older son Paul, committed to institutionalized medical care.
In 1895, Richard Bruno Heydrich sang the title role in the premiere of Hans Pfitzner's first opera, Der arme Heinrich, based on the poem of the same name by Hartmann von Aue. More to the point, Heydrich "saved" the opera. Pfitzner's magnum opus was Palestrina, which had its premiere in Munich on 12 June 1917 under the baton of Jewish conductor Bruno Walter. On the day before he died in February 1962, Walter dictated his last letter, which ended "Despite all the dark experiences of today I am still confident that Palestrina will remain; the work has all the elements of immortality". The most celebrated of Pfitzner's prose utterances is his pamphlet Futuristengefahr, written in response to Ferruccio Busoni's Sketch for a New Aesthetic of Music. "Busoni," Pfitzner complained, "places all his hopes for Western music in the future and understands the present and past as a faltering beginning, as the preparation. But what if it were otherwise? What if we find ourselves presently at a high point, or that we have passed beyond it?"
Pfitzner had a similar debate with the critic Paul Bekker. Pfitzner dedicated his Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 34 to the Australian violinist Alma Moodie. She premiered it in Nuremberg on 4 June 1924, with the composer conducting. Moodie became its leading exponent, performed it over 50 times in Germany with conductors such as Pfitzner, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Hans Knappertsbusch, Hermann Scherchen, Karl Muck, Carl Schuricht, Fritz Busch. At that time, the Pfitzner concerto was considered the most important addition to the violin concerto repertoire since the first concerto of Max Bruch, although it is not played by most violinists these days. On one occasion in 1927, conductor Peter Raabe programmed the concerto for public broadcast and performance in Aachen but did not budget for copying of the sheet music. Nationalistic in his middle and old age, Pfitzner was at first regarded sympathetically by important figures in the Third Reich, in particular by Hans Frank, with whom he remained on good terms.
But he soon fell out with chief Nazis, who were alienated by his long musical association with the Jewish conductor Bruno Walter. He incurred extra wrath from the Nazis by refusing to obey the regime's request to provide incidental music to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream that could be used in place of the famous setting by Felix Mendelssohn, unacceptable to the Nazis because of his Jewish origin. Pfitzner maintained that Mendelssohn's original was far better than anything he himself could offer as a substitute; as early as 1923, Pfitzner and Hitler met. It was while the former was a hospital patient: Pfitzner had undergone a gall bladder operation when Anton Drexler, who knew both men well, arranged a visit. Hitler did most of the talking, but Pfitzner dared to contradict him regarding the homosexual and antisemitic thinker Otto Weininger, causing Hitler to leave in a huff. On, Hitler told Nazi cultural architect Alfred Rosenberg that he wanted "nothing further to do with this Jewish rabbi."
Pfitzner, unaware of this comment, believed Hitler to be sympathetic to him. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Rosenberg recruited Pfitzner, a notoriously bad speaker, to lecture for the Militant League fo