CD Spotlight. A Very Joyous Disc - Brahms arranged by Kenneth Woods impresses Alice McVeigh. '... this is an excellent performance representing a useful, joyful and even inspired addition to the orchestral repertoire.'
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The German composer Hans Werner Henze was born in Gütersloh on 1 July 1926. As a child, he witnessed the branding of modern art, literature and music by the Nazis, which probably encouraged his later political and social engagement. (His choral ninth symphony of 1997 has been described as a defiant rejection of Nazi barbarism.)
As a radio officer in the war, serving at the Eastern Front, he was captured by the British and spent much of World War II in a prisoner of war camp. After the war he left Germany for Italy, disappointed with the political climate, and settled on the island of Ischia, where he was encouraged in his composing by William Walton.
His diverse gifts have drawn forth a formidable list of music covering most genres, including ten symphonies and more than forty stage works. His music theatre works have received special attention.
Henze died in Dresden on 27 October 2012, aged eighty-six.
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