Hans Pfitzner was one of the composers who carried the German Romantic tradition well into the 20th century. Unlike those of his contemporaries Mahler and Richard Strauss, his reputation never seemed to extend beyond the borders of his homeland. Yet there is much that is individualistic and much to admire from his body of work -- particularly in his best-known work, the opera Palestrina. Born in Russia of German parents, Pfitzner moved with his family to Frankfurt when he was three. His musical talent manifested itself early on, and he received his first training from his parents. At 14 he entered the Hoch Conservatory, studying composition with Knorr and piano with Kwast. He then began his music career as a teacher, taking a position as a theater conductor in Mainz; the latter proved to be a strategic move, for although it was an unpaid ...
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