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Regenbogen (Rainbow)

Regenbogen (Rainbow) (Rainbow). Composed by Hans von Bulow (1830-1894). For SATB choir, a cappella. Secular. Moderately easy. Octavo. 8 pages. Published by E.C. Schirmer Publishing (EC.6620).

Hans von Bulow (1830-1894) was one of the 19th century's foremost musicians. His most lasting musical contribution was as a conductor. Bulow gave the premiere performances of many of the 19th century's most important works, such as Brahms' Symphony No. 4 and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.

Bulow was a powerful advocate of Liszt. Richard Pohl was another of Liszt's devotees, a tireless champion of the New German School in general and of Liszt's music in particular. Pohl and Bulow were part of Liszt's inner circle and each undoubtedly became acquainted with the other's genius during those years.

Bulow set Pohl's poems in 1861-62 while he was living and teaching in Berlin. The five were published by C. F. Kahnt of Leipzig in 1867.

These five choral pieces are almost unknown today, even though they are excellent examples of the High Romantic style. Bulow's harmonic language does not approach the extreme chromaticism of Wagner or Liszt; nevertheless, it is innovative. The most notable feature of these works, however, is his use of mixed meters in Wanderziel.

Pohl's texts typify the Romantic aesthetic: the artist as outsider, a preoccupation with nature, intense self-consciousness, a tendency towards melancholy, a fascination with and romanticized view of death - all imbued with deeply felt (almost maudlin at times) emotional expression. Attuned to Pohl's textual accents and use of heightened language, Bulow interchanges duple and triple meters to great effect at a time when composers were conservative in their use of meter even as they were stretching tonality to its limits. - Paraphrase of program notes by David Friddle

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Regenbogen (Rainbow)


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