German composer, pianist and teacher Walter Braunfels was born in Frankfurt on 19 December 1882, and was first taught music by his mother, great-niece of Louis Spohr. Braunfels later studied piano with James Kwast at Dr Hoch's Koservatorium-Musikacademie, in Vienna with Theodor Leschetizky and in Munich with Felix Mottl and Ludwig Thuille.
He worked as a pianist for many years and was also co-founder and first director of the Hochschule für Musik Köln.
Between World Wars I and II, Braunfels became well-known as a composer, but during the Hitler period his music was marked as degenerate because he was half-Jewish, and his output was rather forgotten after his death on 19 March 1954, aged seventy-one, until his 1920 opera Die Vögel (based on Aristophanes' play The Birds) was revived in the 1990s.
CD Spotlight. A Unique Orchestral Mastery - Music by Walter Braunfels, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Gregor Bühl ... marshalls his forces with full-blooded conviction, and his orchestra responds brilliantly to Braunfels' luscious musical language ...'
Ensemble. Recovered Voices - Two operas in Los Angeles over the Easter weekend, enjoyed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Distant Sound - LA Opera's 'Recovered Voices', reviewed by Maria Nockin