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Jürg Baur (Composer)

Born: November 11, 1918 - Düsseldorf, Germany
Died: January 31, 2010 - Düsseldorf, Germany

Jürg Baur was a German composer and teacher. He rose to prominence at the age of 18 when his first string quartet was given its premiere by a professional quartet at the Düsseldorf Hindenburg secondary school. Between 1937 and 1948 he attended the Cologne Musikhochschule as a pupil of Jarnach (composition), Karl-Hermann Pillney (piano) and Michael Schneider (organ and sacred music), though his studies were interrupted by the war; he later studied musicology at Cologne University (1948-1951). In 1946 he was appointed lecturer in music theory at the Düsseldorf Conservatory and from 1952 to 1960 he was choirmaster and organist at St Paulus, also in Düsseldorf. During 1960 Baur held a scholarship from the Federal German government to study at the Villa Massimo in Rome for six months; he returned to Rome for a second stay in 1968 and was guest of honour there in 1980. He was director of the Düsseldorf Conservatory (1965-1971) and was appointed professor in 1969. In 1971 he succeeded B.A. Zimmermann as teacher of composition at the Cologne Musikhochschule, remaining there until 1990. Baur’ s many distinctions include the Recklinghausen Young Generation Prize (1956), the Robert Schumann Prize of the city of Düsseldorf (1957), the Federal Cross of Merit (first class, 1970), and honorary membership of the German Music Council (1988), the North Rhine-Westphalia Service Award and the City of Duisburg Music Prize (1994).

Born in the generation between Blacher and Henze, Jürg Baur achieved widespread recognition as a composer fairly late in his career. Under the influence of Jarnach, he had already encountered the music of Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky and Paul Hindemith in the late 1930's, but after the war he heeded Jarnach’s advice in avoiding the more extreme manifestations of the musical avant garde. The works of the early 1950's maintain Jarnach’s principles of economy of means and formal clarity, with Bart?k as the most obvious stylistic model. Baur only gradually turned his attention to dodecaphonic techniques, studying the music of Anton Webern with particular intensity. However, although serial structures influenced his musical thinking, especially in the String Quartet no.3 (1952), the Quintetto sereno (1958), also notable for its use of aleatory effects, the Sonata for two pianos (1957) and the Ballata romana (1960), Baur’s sound world seems far removed from the Expressionism of the Second Viennese School. During the early 1960s Baur strove to achieve an accessible yet modern style that remained independent of the avant garde. His most successful works at this time include the exhilarating Concerto romano for oboe and orchestra (1960-1961) and Romeo und Julia (1962-1963), in which the tragic elements of Shakespeare’s play are distilled into a powerful and cohesive entity. In accordance with his desire to maintain links with past traditions, Baur then developed a strong predilection for the quotation of earlier music in his work, though without the ironic, dissociative tone of many of the collage compositions of this period. The range of musical inspiration is surprisingly wide, encompassing such composers as Robert Schumann, Dvorak, Béla Bartók, Johann Strauss, Gesualdo, W.A. Mozart and Schubert. Primarily a composer of orchestral and instrumental music, Baur has produced some radical works for less mainstream instruments such as the recorder and the accordion. Although he has rare ly written for the theatre, his vocal music demonstrates a remarkable sensitivity to poetic texts, the extended choral work Perch? (1967-8, after Ungaretti) numbering among his most powerful compositions.


Conc., str, 1941–8; Overture, 1946–50; Partita über ‘Wie sch?n leuchtet der Morgenstern’, tpt, str, 1946–91; Carmen Variations, 1947; Va Con., 1951– 2; Musik, str, 1952; Sinfonia montana, 1953; Concertante Music, pf, orch, 1958; Concertino, fl, ob, cl, str, timp, 1959; Conc. romano, ob, orch, 1960–61; Romeo und Julia, 1962–3; Piccolo mondo, 1963; Lo specchio, 2 cycles, 1965– 6; Sym. Prologue, 1966; Pentagramm, wind qnt, orch, 1966; Abbreviaturen, 13 str, 1969; Conc. ticino, cl, orch, 1970, arr. a sax, orch, 1995; Giorno per giorno, in memoriam B.A. Zimmermann, 1971; Musik m it Robert Schumann, 1972; 4 Portraits, vc, orch, 1972; Sinfonia breve, 1974; Triton-Sinfonietta, chbr orch, 1974; Conc. da camera ‘Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Zeit’, rec, orch, 1975; Conc. no.1 ‘Ich sage ade’, vn, orch, 1976; Conc. no.2, vn, orch, 1978; Sentimento del tempo, wind trio, orch, 1980; Sinfonische Metamorphosen über Gesualdo, 1981; Sinfonie einer Stadt (Patetica), 1983; Fresken, 1984; Konzertante Fantasie, org, str, 1984–5; Sym. no.2 ‘ Aus dem Tagebuch des Alten’, 1987; Sinfonietta Sentieri musicali (Auf Mozarts Spuren), 1990; Frammenti-Erinnerungen an Schubert, 1995/6; Sinfonia sine nomine, 1998

3 str qts: 1938, 1942–6, 1952
Other chbr: Choralsuite über ‘Erhalt uns Herr bei deinen Wort’, brass, 1950; Reminiszenen, Ostinato und Trio, wind qnt, 1950–80; Conc. trautonium, str qt, 1955– 6, rev. accdn, str qt, 1987; Quintetto sereno, wind qnt, 1958; Metamorphosen, pf, vn, vc, 1959; Kontraste, str trio, 1964; Movimenti, trio, 1969–70; Cinque impressioni, str qt, 1970; Tre studi per quattro, rec qt, 1972; Nonett-Skizzen, 1973; Skizzen, wind qnt, 1974; Kontrapunkte 77 über das Thema des Musikalischen Opfers von J.S. Bach, fl, eng hn, bn, 1978; Pour rien: ostinato senza fine, wind sextet, 1980; Echoi, 2 ob, eng hn, 1980; Festliche Musik, brass, 1982; Ricordi, 3 rec, 1983; Ritratti, perc ens, cel, bass, 1984; Salutio und Jubilus, brass, 1985–6; Cinque fogli, sax qt, 1986; Quintetto pittoresco – passeggiata con M. Ravel, wind qnt, 1986; Passacaglia, 4 tpt, 4 trbn, 1989; Str Qt ‘et respice finem’, 1992; Petite Suite, 4 fl, 1992; Improvisation und Ostinato, bn qt, 1996
1–2 insts: Erinnerungen, vc, pf, 1941/2, rev. 1985; Sonata in A, vn, pf, 1948; Music, vc, pf, 1950; Fantasy, ob, pf, 1954, rev. eng hn, org, 1994; Suite, hpd, 1956; Ballata romana, cl, pf, 1960, rev. a sax, pf, 1987; Incontri, fl/rec, pf, 1960; Divertimento, hpd, perc, 1961/2, rev. accdn, perc, 1995; Sonata, vn, 1961– 2; Dialoge, vc, pf, 1962; Mutazioni, a rec/fl, 1962; 3 Fantasies, gui, 1963; 6 Bagatelles, cl/b cl, 1964; Pezzi uccelli, rec, 1964; Sonata, va, 1969, rev. vc, 1995; Moments musicaux, vn, pf, 1976; 3 Landschaftsbilder, accdn, 1985; 3 Toccatas, accdn, 1985–6; Arabesken, Girlanden, Figuren, double bn, 1990; Marginalien über Mozart, gui, 1991; Reflexionen, gui, org, 1991, arr. gui, accdn, 1992

Org: Fantasy B–A–C–H, 1935; 4 Chorale Preludes, 1948; Orgelmusik in E (Toccata, Trio and Passacaglia), 1950; 4 Chorale Preludes, 1954–9; 5 Chorale Preludes, 1959–61; Partita ‘Aus tiefer Not’, 1965; Choral-Triptychon (‘Christ ist erstanden’), 1970; 3 Ricercare über das Thema des Musikalischen Opfers von J.S. Bach, 1977; 2 free org movts and 2 chorale preludes, 1977; Meditazione sopra Gesualdo, 1977; Chorale Prelude ‘Verleih uns Frieden gn?diglich’ , 1980; Fantasia nuova, 1984; 3 Toccatas, 1985/6; Kaleidoskop, 1989; 2 Chorale Preludes on ‘Wie sch?n leuchtet der Morgenstern’, 1990; Fragment mit Frescobaldi, 1992
Pf: Ostpreussensuite, 1939; 3 Pieces in the Olden Style, 1941–3; Aphorisms, 1942–6; Sonata, 2 pf, 1952–7; Capriccio, 1953; Variations, 1956; Heptameron, 7 pieces, 1964–5
Hpd: Suite, 1956

Choral (mixed chorus unless otherwise stated): 2 Humoresques (C. Morgenstern, W. Busch), 1948; Triptychon (R.M. Rilke, C.F. Meyer), chorus, orch, 1948–9; 2 Kinderlieder, 1949; 2 Chorals?tze, 1950; Wir glauben all an einen Gott, 19; O süsser Herre Jesu Christ, 1950; 2 Volkslieds?tze, 1952; Pfingstmotette ‘Wer mich liebt’, Bar, chorus, 1955; Abschied, 1955; 2 M?nnerch?re (Meyer), male chorus, 1957; Du selber bist das Rad (A. Silesius), 1958; Verleih uns Frieden gn?diglich, chorus, insts, 1965, rev. 1980; Perch? (G. Ungaretti), S, T, chorus, orch, 1967–8; Perch? (Ungaretti), 6 Fragments, S, T, chorus, 1969; Die Blume des Scharon, 3 motets, SATB, 1979; Verleih uns Frieden gn?diglich, SATB, 1980
Other vocal: 12 einsame Lieder (various texts), S, pf, 1942–3; Im Waldesschatten, 5 songs (J.F. von Eichendorff), Bar, pf, 1952, rev. Bar, str qt, 1980; Vom tiefinnern Sang, 4 Songs (F.G. Lorca), S, pf, 1957, rev. 1v, cl, str qt, 1989; Herz, stirb oder singe (J.R. Jim?nez), 4 songs, S/T, fl, pf, 1960, rev. S, fl, str orch, 1965, rev. S, fl, str qt, 1984; Mit wechselndem Schlüssel, song cycle (P. Celan), Bar, pf, 1967; Senza speranza (M.A. Bustos, Ungaretti), 1v, pf, 1982

Incidental music
Anna, Königin für 1000 Tage, 1949; Das Haus der Angst (B. von Heiseler), chorus, orch, 1950; Die R?uber (F. Schiller), 2 songs, 1v, hpd, 1951; Morgen kommt ein neuer Tag (P. Calder?n de la Barca), 1952; Audhumla (Segen der Herde), film score, 1952

Principal publishers:
Breitkopf & Härtel, Leuckart, Littolf, Peters, Schott, Tonger

‘Wir unterhalten uns über moderne Musik’, Der helle Morgen , ed. H. Mentzel (Essen, 1950), 230–39
‘Tonsatzlehren auf neuen Wegen’, Melos , xx (1953), 43–5
‘Anton Weberns Bagatellen für Streichquartett’, Neue Wege der musikalischen Analyse , ed. R. Stephan (1967), 62–8
‘Das Finale in der Musik des 19. Jahrhunderts: eigenwillige Gedanken zu Wagners “Götterdämmerung”’, Götterd
?mmerung (Düsseldorf, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, 1991), 1-7 [programme notes]

Source: Grove Music Online © Oxford University Press 2006 (Author: Erik Levi)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (February 2006)

Jürg Baur: Short Biography | Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Aus tiefer Not, Chorale Partita for Organ

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir


Choral-Triptychon on Christ ist erstanden

Christ ist erstanden


Chorale Suite for brass band on Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort (composed: 1980; München Verband Deutscher Musikerzieher u. Konzertierender Künstler 1984)

Erhalt uns, Herr bei deinem Wort


Links to other Sites

Jürg Baur im Verlag Dohr [German]
Jürg Baur (Wikipedia) [German]
Portrait des Komponisten Jürg Baur (uni-protokolle) [German]

nmz 2004/02: Dem Komponisten Jürg Baur zu seinem 85 [German]
GEMA Nachrichten 168 - In Fortsetzung der Tradition [German]
15. Festival Orgel PLUS 2003: Jürg Baur [German]


H. Krellmann : ‘Kalkulierte Vision’, Musica , xxii (1968), 432–5
H. Krellmann: Ich war nie Avantgardist: Gespr
?che mit dem Komponisten Jürg Baur (Wiesbaden, 1968)
J. Baur: ‘Baur, Jürg’, Rheinische Musiker, vi, ed. D. K
?mper (Cologne, 1969)
J. Alf: ‘Zwischen den Generationen: Jürg Baur’, Studien zur Musikgeschichte des Rheinl
?ndes (Cologne, 1978), 55–71
W. Falcke: ‘Zum Chorschaffen von Jürg Baur’, Lied und Chor , lxxix/8 (1987), 170 only
K. Lang: ‘Gespr
?ch mit Jürg Baur’, NZfM, cxliv/10 (1983), 18–20
A. Rössler: ‘Über die Orgelwerke von Jürg Baur’, Kirchenmusiker , xl/1 (1991), 11–18
L.-W. Hesse, A. Klaes and A. Richter, eds.: Jürg Baur: Aspekte seines Schaffens (Wiesbaden, 1993)

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