Karl Amadeus Hartmann (2 August 1905 – 5 December 1963) was a German composer. Some have lauded him as the greatest German symphonist of the 20th century, although he is now largely overlooked, particularly in English-speaking countries. A sinewy counterpoint drives much of Hartmann's music, whether in the neo-baroque piano pieces from the 1920s, or his final two symphonies. But he could also pack a considerable punch as in the Piano Sonata, inspired by the sight of a procession of concentration camp victims from Dachau.
As is well known, the Third Reich drove many of its gifted composers into exile, to early deaths or to the concentration camps. But a significant responsibility devolved on another group, who became ‘internal exiles’, remaining in Germany, but refusing to become cultural ornaments of the Nazi regime. Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905–1963), in Bavaria, consistently kept the spirit of modernism and human commitment alive in his own work.
Karl Amadeus Hartmann was born on 2 August 1905 in Munich and came into contact with art and music at an early stage. He studied trombone and composition at the Staatliche Akademie der Tonkunst in Munich from 1924 to 1929. Hartmann presented his first composition which displayed influences of jazz, Dadaism, persiflage technique and New Objectivity within the framework of the Opera Studio at the Bavarian State Opera…
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