In 1922 he met Gustav Mahler's daughter, Anna, and her mother, Alma, who asked Krenek to complete her late husband's Symphony No. 10. Krenek helped edit the first and third movements but went no further. In 1924 he married Anna, only to divorce her before the first anniversary. His music was targeted in Germany by the Nazi Party with its inclusion in the 1938 Degenerate Music exhibition.
He moved to the United States of America in 1938 where he taught music at various universities, including Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota from 1942-1947. He became an American citizen in 1945. His students included George Perle and Robert Erickson. He died in Palm Springs, California. Krenek's music is in a variety of styles.
His early work is in a late-Romantic idiom, showing the influence of his teacher Franz Schreker. He later embraced atonality, but a visit to Paris, during which he became familiar with the work of Igor Stravinsky and Les Six, led him to adopt a neo-classical style. His opera Jonny spielt auf (Johnny Strikes Up, 1926), which is influenced by jazz, was a great success in his lifetime, playing all over Europe. In spite of Nazi protests, it became so popular that even a brand of cigarettes, still on the market today in Austria, was named "Johnny".
He then started writing in a neo-Romantic style with Franz Schubert as a model, with his Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen as prime example, before using Arnold Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique; the opera Karl V (1931-33) is entirely written using this technique, as are most of his later pieces. In the Lamentatio Jeremiae prophetae (1941–42) he combined twelve-tone writing with 16th century techniques of modal counterpoint. He also composed electronic and aleatoric music. Read more on Last.fm.
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|I. Allegro moderato|
|Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae for Mixed Chorus a Capella, Op. 93: I. In Coena Domini, Lectio Prima|
|Piano Sonata No.3, Op. 92 No.4|