Paul von Klenau

Danish composer and conductor Paul August von Klenau was born in Copenhagen on 11 February 1883. He studied with Danish composer, organist and teacher Otto Malling and then left Denmark for study and work in Germany and Austria.

He wrote a series of nine symphonies, initially inspired by Bruckner, but later coming under the influence of French impressionism, Richard Strauss, Alban Berg and Schoenberg's serial technique. Klenau invented his own method of serial composition, a 'key-determined twelve-tone system'.

His other output included three string quartets, a Rilke setting and seven operas, the last of which, Elisabeth von England, was probably the first twelve-tone opera to be performed at the Royal Theatre in Denmark.

Klenau also had a rather ambiguous relationship with the Nazis, so that, for example, his three twelve-tone operas were performed without any problems from the regime.

Paul von Klenau died in Copenhagen on 31 August 1946, aged sixty-three.


A selection of articles about Paul von Klenau

CD Spotlight. Freshness and Vitality - Geoff Pearce explores the music of Paul von Klenau. '... a most welcome recording of music by what is today a relatively little-known composer.'