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Engelbert HUMPERDINCK
1 September 1854 - 27 September 1921 (age 67)

German 19th century composer. Engelbert Humperdinck is best known for his opera Handsel and Gretel.

Not to be confused with the British 21st century crooner!

- Family

- Works

- Links


Family

Born: 1 September 1854, Siegburg, near Bonn, Germany
Father: A headmaster.
Sister: Adelheid Wette
Wife: Hedwig Taxer
Daughter Olga, died very young
Son: Wolfram
Died: 27 September 1921 Age 67, Neustrelitz, NE Germany.
Cause of death: heart attack

  



Temperament

Dr. B. J. Kreuzberg writes in his article "Engelbert Humperdinck in Boppard" that, among other things : "Dizzying world success and an excess of recognition have not changed Humperdinck: He remains the same balanced, modest, proper, kind, humorous and loving person, who - like his intellectual and poetic wife Hedwig - valued a simple, private family life and cultivated many hearty friendships this side of the border and beyond."

He loved nature and was a keen gardener spending a lot of time and energy on his garden at Boppard.


Selected Works

Operas:
- Hänsel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel)
- Dornröschen (Sleeping Beauty)
- Die Königskinder (The Royal Children)
- Die sieben Geisslein (The Seven Little Kids)
- Die Heirat wider Willen (The Reluctant Wedding)
- Die Marketenderin (The Provisioner)
Orchestral:
- Die Maurische Rhapsodie (Moorish Rhapsody)
- Gaudeamus igitur
- Incidental music for plays, especially Shakesperian such as the Merchant of Venice

He worked as a teacher and as opera critic for various publications.


Hansel and Gretel
Diana Damrau and Angelika Kirchschlager, Royal Opera House, London 

Hansel and Gretel is one of the most popular and most frequently performed operas. It is based on a well known Grimm's fairy tale and has some memorable melodies. It appeals to all ages.
The idea came from his sister Adelheid who also wrote the libretto.
The premier was just before Christmas 1893 in Weimar and conducted by Richard Strauss who said it was "a masterpiece of the higest quality".
In 1923 the Royal Opera House, London, chose it for the first ever radio broadcast.
In 1931 it was the first opera to be transmitted by New York's Metropolitan Opera for their weekly broadcasts.

Listen to sample tracks on Amazon here

Behind the Scenes at a Royal Opera House production of Hansel and Gretel
A BBC film

Behind the Scenes at a Royal Opera House production of Hansel and Gretel A BBC film

HÄNSEL & GRETEL - Act 2 (3/4)
Metropolitan Opera


A Brief Biography of Engelbert Humperdinck 

Age 7: First composition after receiving piano lessons.
Age 18: Began studying music at Cologne Conservatory, giving up architectural studies which his father had preferred.
Age 22: Won scholarship to study in Munich.
Age 25: Won the first Mendelssohn Award given by the Mendelssohn Foundation. Went to Italy. Met Richard Wagner in Naples.
Age 26/27: Assisted Wagner in production of Parsifal at Bayreuth. Also gave music lessons to Wagner's son Siegfried.
Age 28-36: Tavels to Italy, France and Spain including teaching for two years in Barcelona.
Age 36: Began work on Handsel and Gretel.
Then various teaching appointments in Germany at Frankfurt, Boppard and Berlin.
Age 58: Suffered a severe stroke which left his left arm paralysed.
Age 60: (1914) Applied for post of director of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia but World War 1 made it out of the question for a German to be appointed.
Age 64: Completed his work Gaudeamus with the help of his son Wolfram.
Age 67: died of a heart attack.


Königskinder (The Royal Children)


String Quartet


Links - where to go for more information

Answers A selection of reference sites including Wikipedia

Boppard Museum a brief biography

Engelbert Humperdinck : at Bach Cantatas - a brief biography


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