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date: 20 November 2019

Fitelberg, Jerzylocked

  • Bogusław Schaeffer

Extract

(b Warsaw, Poland, May 20, 1903; d New York, April 25, 1951). Polish composer, active in the United States. He studied with Franz Schreker (1922–6) at the Prussian Academy in Berlin, where he remained until 1932. From 1933 to 1939 he lived in Paris, and from 1940 in New York. His awards included the Coolidge Prize and a prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1945). The success he gained as a young composer was marked by numerous performances at festivals, including those of the ISCM (1932, 1937).

In style Fitelberg combined Baroque motor rhythm with a romanticism bordering on the overtly emotional, but he was far from the conventional neoclassicism, which he began to adopt only in the late 1930s. Some of his early works are reminiscent of the young Hindemith, with whom Fitelberg may also be linked in his enthusiasm for counterpoint and his use of expressive, energetic rhythms. In his later works may be seen, alongside the Parisian style, a tendency to imbue the music with elements of Polish folklore. Among his best compositions, most of which predate his New York residence, are the concertos and chamber works, including the cycle of five quartets....

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