Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique, without equal in his generation."Chopin was born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin in the Duchy of Warsaw and grew up in Warsaw, which in 1815 became part of Congress Poland. A child prodigy, he completed his musical education and composed his earlier works in Warsaw before leaving Poland at the age of 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising. At 21, he settled in Paris. Thereafter—in the last 18 years of his life—he gave only 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon, he supported himself by selling his compositions and by giving piano lessons, for which he was in high demand. Chopin formed a friendship with Franz Liszt and was admired by many of his other musical contemporaries. In 1835, Chopin obtained French citizenship.
After a failed engagement to Maria Wodzińska from 1836 to 1837, he maintained an troubled relationship with the French writer Amantine Dupin. A brief and unhappy visit to Majorca with Sand in 1838–39 would prove one of his most productive periods of composition. In his final years, he was supported financially by his admirer Jane Stirling, who arranged for him to visit Scotland in 1848. For most of his life, Chopin was in poor health, he died in Paris in 1849 at the age of 39 of pericarditis aggravated by tuberculosis. All of Chopin's compositions include the piano. Most are for solo piano, though he wrote two piano concertos, a few chamber pieces, some 19 songs set to Polish lyrics, his piano writing was technically demanding and expanded the limits of the instrument: his own performances were noted for their nuance and sensitivity. Chopin invented the concept of the instrumental ballade, his major piano works include mazurkas, nocturnes, polonaises, études, scherzos and sonatas, some published only posthumously.
Among the influences on his style of composition were Polish folk music, the classical tradition of J. S. Bach and Schubert, the atmosphere of the Paris salons of which he was a frequent guest, his innovations in style and musical form, his association of music with nationalism, were influential throughout and after the late Romantic period. Chopin's music, his status as one of music's earliest superstars, his association with political insurrection, his high-profile love-life, his early death have made him a leading symbol of the Romantic era, his works remain popular, he has been the subject of numerous films and biographies of varying historical fidelity. Fryderyk Chopin was born in Żelazowa Wola, 46 kilometres west of Warsaw, in what was the Duchy of Warsaw, a Polish state established by Napoleon; the parish baptismal record gives his birthday as 22 February 1810, cites his given names in the Latin form Fridericus Franciscus. However, the composer and his family used the birthdate 1 March, now accepted as the correct date.
Fryderyk's father, Nicolas Chopin, was a Frenchman from Lorraine who had emigrated to Poland in 1787 at the age of sixteen. Nicolas tutored children of the Polish aristocracy, in 1806 married Tekla Justyna Krzyżanowska, a poor relative of the Skarbeks, one of the families for whom he worked. Fryderyk was baptized on Easter Sunday, 23 April 1810, in the same church where his parents had married, in Brochów, his eighteen-year-old godfather, for whom he was named, was Fryderyk Skarbek, a pupil of Nicolas Chopin. Fryderyk was only son. Nicolas was devoted to his adopted homeland, insisted on the use of the Polish language in the household. In October 1810, six months after Fryderyk's birth, the family moved to Warsaw, where his father acquired a post teaching French at the Warsaw Lyceum housed in the Saxon Palace. Fryderyk lived with his family in the Palace grounds; the father played the violin. Chopin was of slight build, in early childhood was prone to illnesses. Fryderyk may have had some piano instruction from his mother, but his first professional music tutor, from 1816 to 1821, was the Czech pianist Wojciech Żywny.
His elder sister Ludwika took lessons from Żywny, played duets with her brother. It became apparent that he was a child prodigy. By the age of seven Fryderyk had begun giving public concerts, in 1817 he composed two polonaises, in G minor and B-flat major, his next work, a polonaise in A-flat major of 1821, dedicated to Żywny, is his earliest surviving musical manuscript. In 1817 the Saxon Palace was requisitioned by Warsaw's Russian governor for military use, the Warsaw Lyceum was reestablished in the Kazimierz Palace. Fryderyk and his family moved to a building. During this period, Fryderyk was sometimes invited to the Belweder Palace as playmate to the son of the ruler of Russian Poland, Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia. Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, in his dramatic eclogue, "Nasze Przebiegi", attested to "little Chopin's" popularity. From September 1823 to 1826, Chopin
Piano Concerto No. 1 (Chopin)
The Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, is a piano concerto written by Frédéric Chopin in 1830, when he was twenty years old. It was first performed on 11 October of that year, in Warsaw, with the composer as soloist, during one of his “farewell” concerts before leaving Poland, it was the first of Chopin's two piano concertos to be published, was therefore given the designation of Piano Concerto “No. 1” at the time of publication though it was written after the premiere of what was published as Piano Concerto No. 2. The concerto is scored for solo piano, pairs of flutes, oboes and bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, tenor trombone and strings. A typical performance lasts about 40 minutes; the piano concerto is dedicated to Friedrich Kalkbrenner. While writing it, Chopin wrote to Tytus Woyciechowski, saying, “Here you doubtless observe my tendency to do wrong against my will; as something has involuntarily crept into my head through my eyes, I love to indulge it though it may be all wrong.” Undoubtedly, this sight must have been the well-known soprano Konstancja Gładkowska, the “ideal” behind the Larghetto from Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto.
Opinions of the concerto differ. Some critics feel that the orchestral support as written is dry and uninteresting, notably the critic James Huneker, who wrote in Chopin: The Man and his Music that it was “not Chopin at his best.” On the other hand, many others feel that the orchestral backing is and deliberately written to fit in with the sound of the piano, that the simplicity of arrangement is in deliberate contrast to the complexity of the harmony. Robert Schumann reviewed Chopin’s concerti in 1836 for the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik that “Chopin introduces the spirit of Beethoven into the concert hall” with these pieces; the premiere, on 12 October 1830, was “a success.... A full house.” There was “an audience of about 700,” according to the Kurier Warszawski. The concerto, with Chopin himself at the piano and Carlo Evasio Soliva conducting; the piece was followed by “thunderous applause.” Seven weeks in Paris, following the political outbreaks in Poland, Chopin played his concerto for the first time in France at the Salle Pleyel.
It was received once again. François-Joseph Fétis wrote in La Revue musicale the next day that “There is spirit in these melodies, there is fantasy in these passages, everywhere there is originality.” It contains the three movements typical of instrumental concertos of the period: Allegro maestoso Romanze – Larghetto Rondo – Vivace in E major Allegro maestoso — typical performance lasts 20 minutes Both the first and second movements feature unusual modulations. This tonal relation between the second and the third theme occurs in the recapitulation, where an actual i-I modulation would have been expected, producing a different effect; the first movement of the E minor concerto has three themes. The piano plays the first theme, followed by the lyric second theme, accompanied by the main motif of the first theme in bass counterpoint; the third theme is in E major, introduced in the exposition by the orchestra and taken over by the piano. The development begins with the piano opening with the second theme.
The recapitulation begins in bar 486 again with the orchestra playing its opening theme. Romanze – Larghetto — typical performance lasts about 10 minutes The Romanze, although not in sonata form, has its second theme of the exposition ascribe to the classical model of modulating to the dominant, when it returns, it modulates to the mediant. Chopin wrote in the same letter to Tytus, it is a kind of reverie in the moonlight on a beautiful spring evening.” The second movement has been described as "unashamedly heart-on-your-sleeve stuff." Rondo – Vivace — typical performance lasts about 10 minutes Written with much procrastination and difficulty, the third movement features Krakowiak rhythms, a syncopated, duple-time popular dance in contemporary Krakow. It became one of the last pieces written by Chopin before the political turmoil in Poland that prevented him from returning. When, after completing the Rondo in August 1830, he played it — first with a string quartet and a small orchestral ensemble — he said proudly, “Rondo – impressive.
Allegro – strong.” The 1976 film The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane featured this Concerto, performed by pianist Claudio Arrau and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A performance of the Piano Concerto No. 1 features prominently in the 2015 British film The Lady in the Van. The second movement is featured at the climax of Don Hertzfeldt's 2012 film "It's Such a Beautiful Day"; this movement is featured in the 1998 movie, The Truman Show, as well as in the soundtrack for the movie. Piano Concerto No. 1: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project Piano Concerto No. 1, Mov. 2 performance by Alexis Weissenberg on YouTube Piano Concerto No. 1 sheet music available at Musopen.com European Archive Copyright free LP recording of the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Alexander Brailowsky, William Steinberg and RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra at the European Archive
Louis Brassin was a Belgian pianist and music educator. He is best known now for his piano transcription of the Magic Fire Music from Wagner's Die Walküre. Louis Brassin was born in Aix-la-Chapelle in 1840, his father was a baritone named de Brassine, whose career his family abroad. Louis gave his first concert in Hamburg. At age seven he entered the Leipzig Conservatory as a pupil of Ignaz Moscheles. In 1852 he went on concert tours with his two brothers. In 1857 he adopted the surname Brassin. In 1866-67 he taught at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin, succeeding Hans von Bülow resumed concertising, he was piano professor at the Brussels Conservatoire 1868-78, played an important role in the musical life of the country. Among his pupils there were Arthur De Greef, Franz Rummel and Alfred Wotquenne. In 1878 he took over the piano class of Theodor Leschetizky at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where his pupils included Vasily Safonov, Wassily Sapellnikoff and Genary Korganov, he died in Saint Petersburg in 1884, aged 43.
Brassin's piano transcription of the Magic Fire Music from Wagner's Die Walküre was long a concert favourite, has been recorded many times. His other Wagner transcriptions from the Ring Cycle were: Valhalla, Siegmund's Love Song, Ride of the Valkyries, Forest Murmurs. Pianists who have recorded these pieces include Josef Hofmann, Ignaz Friedman, Isador Goodman, Michael Ponti, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Denis Plutalov and Severin von Eckardstein, he transcribed: J. S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 the Soldiers' Chorus from Gounod's Faust 3 pieces after Domenico Scarlatti. Brassin wrote two piano concertos and two German operettas, as well as many smaller, now forgotten piano pieces. Première grande polonaise Deuxième grande polonaise, Op. 18 3eme Grande Polonaise Feuillet d'album Étude de concert Impressions d'Automne Trois etudes Menuet, Gavotte et Gigue Polka de la Princesse Sérénade Rêverie pastoral Rêverie Second Galop de Concert fantastique Les Adieux, morceau caractéristiques Grandes Etudes de Concert.
Op. 12 Mazurka de Salon, Op. 14 Au clair de la lune, Nocturne, Op. 17 Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists, pp. 269, 342 Eric Blom, ed. Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed, 1954, Vol. 1, p. 918 Works by or about Louis Brassin at Internet Archive
Piano Concerto No. 1 (Liszt)
Franz Liszt composed his Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, S.124 over a 26-year period. The concerto consists of four movements and lasts 20 minutes, it premiered in Weimar with Liszt at the piano and Hector Berlioz conducting. The main themes of Liszt's first piano concerto are written in a sketchbook dated 1830, when Liszt was nineteen years old, he seems to have completed the work in 1849, yet made further adjustments in 1853. It was first performed at Weimar in 1855, with the composer at the piano and Hector Berlioz conducting. Liszt made yet more changes before publication in 1856. Béla Bartók described it as "the first perfect realisation of cyclic sonata form, with common themes being treated on the variation principle"; the concerto consists of four short movements: The orchestra introduces the main theme of the piece with a powerful motif. It has been said that, to mock his critics and his son-in-law, Hans von Bülow, put the words Das versteht ihr alle nicht, haha! to the notes of the opening two bars.
The piano comes in with an octave passage, spanning 4 octaves.:A duet ensues between the piano and the clarinet in a quiet and peaceful passage, soon taken over again by the main theme. Following this, the piano plays fast, downward chromatic octaves, before recapitulating a section from earlier in the movement, this time in G major; the movement finishes with the main theme played by the strings while the piano imitates a harp with fast, quiet arpeggios, culminating with an upwards chromatic scale in sixths, diminishing to ppp volume. The cellos and double basses introduce the Adagio section in a serene, unison cantabile, before the rest of the string section joins. Again, the cellos and double basses descend before the piano joins, in una corda; the piano uses the string theme and develops it further, playing in a nocturne-like style with soft, flowing left hand arpeggios and a cantabile melody in the right hand. The section reaches a climax where a strong fortissimo is played followed by a descending diminuendo scale.
After a brief general pause, the whole orchestra resumes, again playing the same theme. A cello plays the theme while the piano answers hurriedly with a developmental recitative section; this leads into a passage where solos in the woodwind section play a new theme while the piano plays long trills in the right hand and spread chords in the left. The passage is ended by the clarinet in duet; the triangle starts the movement with the string section following it. The piano develops the theme further; this occurs throughout the whole movement, however previous themes from the last two movements are re-introduced and combined together to give this concerto its unique rhapsody-like form. This movement is decidedly jocular in character, with the performance direction at the start of the piano line of "capriccioso scherzando", delicate, playful duets between the woodwind and piano occurring throughout; the second half of the movement, takes a darker turn, when the piano, after concluding the scherzo section, plays an eerie, tremolando passage in the lower registers, with a development of the first theme played above, at pp dynamic.
After this, the downward chromatic octaves reappear, but this time at p level, before the orchestra plays an ascending chromatic section, leading into a tonal recapitulation of the first theme. The movement ends with similar music as the first movement begins, with a blistering piano passage ending in an F diminished seventh chord. A descending E-flat major scale is played before the orchestra plays the theme of the Adagio in thematic transformation; the piano follows this with a blistering solo octaves passage before joining in duet with various solo woodwind instruments in a dainty, lively section. The movement continues bringing in all the themes from throughout the concerto and combining them sequentially. In the final few passages, a new chromatic theme is introduced in which the piano is playing semiquavers and triplet quavers at the same time, an exercise in polyrhythm, while in unison with the strings; the piece ends in Liszt's bravura style, with the now-familiar downward chromatic octaves theme, played in this recapitulation at breakneck presto speed, before changing to contrary chromatic octaves, reaching the tonic key of E-flat major and fff dynamic.
The orchestra alone has the last two notes, which Liszt utilised to highlight the importance of the orchestra in the piece, not just as an accompanying device for the piano. This concerto is scored for a small orchestra and calls for the following instruments: Solo piano Woodwinds: Piccolo Two flutes Two oboes Two clarinets in B-flat Two bassoonsBrass: Two horns in F Two trumpets in B-flat Three trombones Percussion: Timpani Cymbals TriangleStrings: First and second violins Violas Cellos Double basses Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 Analysis and description of Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major Piano.ru – Sheet music download Piano Concerto No. 1: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
Anatoly Andreyevich Brandukov was a Russian cellist who premiered many cello pieces of prominent composers including Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Born as Russian classical music was flourishing in the middle of the 19th century, he worked with many of the important composers and musicians of the day, including performances with Anton Rubinstein and Alexander Siloti; as a soloist, he excelled in performance and was noted for stylish interpretations, his refined temperament, beautiful, expressive tone. In his years, he became a professor at Moscow Conservatory, continued to perform well into his life. Although his popularity is obscured by the more famous composers and virtuosos, his influence on those composers' most prominent compositions is evident. Anatoliy Andreyevich Brandukov was born in Moscow on January 6, 1859, his father died soon after his birth, so he was raised by his mother and aunt. His first exposure to classical music was the Bolshoi Theater, but the most decisive influence on him was hearing Hector Berlioz conduct Beethoven's Fifth Symphony when the French composer visited St Petersburg and Moscow in 1867-68.
He learned the cello, at age eight, began to attend Moscow Conservatory. While there, he attracted the attention of professionals and the public, he became a student of German cello virtuoso Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, discussed music theory with Tchaikovsky, played in string quartets with celebrity musicians. He graduated in 1877 with the Gold Medal. On March 5, 1878, he gave his first solo concert, sponsored by Nikolai Rubinstein, but unable to secure a permanent audience, he went abroad. Although he had marginal success alone, he decided to go to the musical mecca of the time—Paris. From 1881 to 1889 he lived in France. Contemporary pianist and composer Alexander Goldenweiser said of him, "His vivid, emotional performances were alien abstraction and judgment." He assisted writer Ivan Turgenev, through him made many friends and connections, among them pianists Anton Rubinstein, Anna Yesipova, Alexander Siloti, conductor Leopold Auer. After a performance of Saint-Saëns' Cello Concerto No. 1 in 1881, he was invited to a celebratory concert highlighting his achievement in Angers, France.
In 1890, Tchaikovsky urged the Moscow Conservatory to hire him as cello professor, but the Director of the school, Vasily Safonov, believing him too young for the job. Brandukov spent time in Lausanne and helped the 19-year old Sergei Rachmaninoff give his first independent concert, by playing some new works in his debut in 1892. At this time he wrote fourteen pieces for two for cello and orchestra. In 1906, he was appointed professor and director of the Moscow Philharmonic School of Music and Drama, became a professor at the Moscow Conservatory in 1921, turning down an offer to work at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. One of his pupils was Ukrainian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, who would go on to be hailed as "the last great Romantic." In Moscow he had a son, Alexander. During World War I, which started in 1914, he spoke at charity events for wounded soldiers; as a professor, he enjoyed interacting with his students on a personal level. A student, known only as A. V. Brouna, commented that, "Brandukov was not a teacher in the conventional sense.
This was a close friend, generously spreading his spiritual wealth, whose lessons became a revelation..." After the 1917 October Revolution, he became a member of the Bolshoi Theater, organizing the symphony orchestra and speaking at concert events. Heinrich Neuhaus, one of his partners at the Theater, reported that in 1919, on the way to a concert, Brandukov slipped and fell on his cello; when the cover was removed, Neuhaus recalls, Brandukov "embraced his cello, as a living creature and tears from his eyes."In his years, he continued to perform and give lectures, last speaking with Neuhaus on January 30, 1930. He died in Moscow on February 16, 1930, aged 71. Brandukov had a beneficial relationship with Sergei Rachmaninoff. In Rachmaninoff's first independent concert on February 11, 1892, Brandukov performed his Trio elégiaque No. 1 and the Prélude from his Prélude et Danse orientale. The cellist performed a revised version of the Trio on February 25, 1907. Rachmaninoff dedicated his Cello Sonata to Brandukov, who premiered this piece with the composer in Moscow on December 15, 1901.
At Rachmaninoff's wedding on May 12, 1902, Brandukov was his best man. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was instrumental in securing Brandukov's success. Tchaikovsky admired Brandukov's playing, in the summer of 1887 sent a few pages of the Pezzo Capriccioso to him for his opinion, he modified it without consulting the composer, gave the Paris premiere in 1888. It was published in this form, dedicated to Brandukov. Cello Sonata, Op.19, Pezzo Capriccioso, Op.62: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project Anatoliy Brandoukov
The Moscow Conservatory officially Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory is an educational music institution located in Moscow, Russia. It grants graduate diplomas in musical performance and musical research; the conservatory offers various degrees including Bachelor of Music Performance, Master of Music and PhD in research. It was co-founded in 1866 as the Moscow Imperial Conservatory by Nikolai Rubinstein and Prince Nikolai Troubetzkoy, it is the second oldest conservatory in Russia after the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was appointed professor of harmony at its opening. Since 1940 the conservatory bears his name. Prior to the October Revolution the choral faculty of the conservatory was second to the Moscow Synodal School and Moscow Synodal Choir, but in 1919 both were closed and merged into the choral faculty; some of the students now listed as being of the conservatory were in fact students of the Synodal School. The renovation of the hall was completed in 2011; the Moscow Conservatory.
Information Booklet. Second Edition. Moscow, 2001. ISBN 5-89598-111-9. Moscow Conservatoire. Moscow, 1994. ISBN 5-86419-006-3. Moscow Conservatory: Traditions of Music Education and Science 1866–2006. Moscow: "Moskovskaya Konservatoriya" Publishing House, 2006. Loomis, George, "Moscow's Great Hall Turns 100", International Herald Tribune Moscow Conservatory website Moscow Conservatory website
Joseph Willem Mengelberg was a Dutch conductor, famous for his performances of Mahler and Strauss with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Mengelberg was the fourth of fifteen children of German-born parents in Netherlands, his father was the well-known Dutch-German sculptor Friedrich Wilhelm Mengelberg. After studies in Utrecht with the composer and conductor Richard Hol, the composer Anton Averkamp and the violinist Henri Wilhelm Petri, he went on to study piano and composition at the Cologne conservatory, where his principal teachers were Franz Wüllner, Isidor Seiss and Adolf Jensen. In 1891, when he was 20, he was chosen as General Music Director of the city of Lucerne Switzerland, where he conducted an orchestra and a choir, directed a music school, taught piano lessons and continued to compose. Four years in 1895, when he was 24, Mengelberg was appointed principal conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, a position he held until 1945. In this position, Mengelberg was to premiere a number of masterpieces.
For example, in 1898, Richard Strauss dedicated his tone poem Ein Heldenleben to Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, telling journalists that he "had at last found an orchestra capable of playing all passages, so that he no longer needed to feel embarrassed when writing difficulties." Among other notable premieres were those on 29 March 1939, when Mengelberg conducted the premiere of the Violin Concerto no. 2 by Béla Bartók with violinist Zoltán Székely, on 23 November 1939, he premiered the Peacock Variations of Zoltán Kodály. Mengelberg founded the long-standing Mahler tradition of the Concertgebouw, he met and befriended Gustav Mahler in 1902, invited Mahler to conduct his Third Symphony in Amsterdam in 1903, on 23 October 1904 Mahler led the orchestra in his Fourth Symphony twice in one concert, with no other work on the program. Mahler wrote to his wife Alma Mahler that this programming idea was a "stroke of genius." Mahler visited The Netherlands to introduce his work to Dutch audiences, including his First and Seventh Symphonies, as well as Das Klagende Lied and Kindertotenlieder.
Mahler edited some of his symphonies while rehearsing them with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, making them sound better for the acoustics of the Concertgebouw. This is one reason that this concert hall and its orchestra are renowned for their Mahler tradition. In 1920, Mengelberg instituted a Mahler Festival in which all the composer's music was performed in nine concerts. Mengelberg founded, in 1899, the annual Concertgebouw tradition of performing the St. Matthew Passion of Johann Sebastian Bach on Palm Sunday. One criticism of Mengelberg's influence over Dutch musical life, most articulated by the composer Willem Pijper, was that Mengelberg did not champion Dutch composers during his Concertgebouw tenure after 1920. Mengelberg was music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1922 to 1928. Beginning in January 1926, he shared the podium with Arturo Toscanini. Mengelberg made a series of recordings with the Philharmonic for both the Victor Talking Machine Company and Brunswick Records, including a 1928 electrical recording of Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben, reissued on LP and CD.
One of his first electrical recordings, for Victor, was a two-disc set devoted to A Victory Ball by Ernest Schelling. Mengelberg was described by Fred Goldbeck as "the perfect dictator/conductor, a Napoleon of the orchestra". In years his behaviour became extreme, there are extraordinary stories of abusive verbal exchanges between him and his players at rehearsal". Berta Geissmar records an incident in 1938 when Mengelberg rehearsed the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the Vorspiel und Liebestod from Tristan and he gave them tortuous lectures as though they had never seen the music before; the most controversial aspect of Mengelberg's biography centers on his actions and behaviour during the years of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands between 1940 and 1945. His biographer Fritz Zwart writes of an "interview Mengelberg had given with the Völkische Beobachter, the German Nazi newspaper...the gist of it was that, on hearing of the Dutch surrender to the German invaders on May 10, 1940, he had brought a toast with a glass of champagne had spoken about the close bond existing between the Netherlands and Germany."
Zwart notes that Mengelberg conducted in Germany and in German-occupied countries throughout the war, was photographed in the company of Nazis such as Arthur Seyss-Inquart. Explanations have ranged from political naiveté in general, to a general "blind spot" for criticism of anything German, given his own ancestry. After the war, in 1945, the Netherlands' Honour Council for Music banned him from conducting in the Netherlands for life; this notwithstanding, he continued to draw a pension from the orchestra until 1949 when cut off by the city council of Amsterdam. Mengelberg retreated in exile to Zuort, Switzerland, where he remained until his death in 1951, just two months before the expiration of his exile order. Willem Mengelberg was the uncle of the musicologist and composer Rudolf Mengelberg and of the conductor and critic Karel Mengelberg