Siegfried Matthus (13 April 1934 – 27 August 2021) was a German composer, conductor, and festival founder and manager. Some of his operas, such as Judith, were premiered at the Komische Oper Berlin in East Berlin. In 1991, he founded the chamber opera festival Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg and directed it until 2018. In 2005, he composed a Te Deum for the reopening of the Dresden Frauenkirche. Matthus is considered one of Germany's most often performed contemporary composers.[1]

Siegfried Matthus
Matthus in 1990
Born(1934-04-13)13 April 1934
Died27 August 2021(2021-08-27) (aged 87)
EducationHochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler"
Occupation(s)Composer, conductor, festival manager

Biography edit

Matthus was born in Mallenuppen [de] (now in Ozyorsky District), East Prussia.[2][3] His father was a farmer and played for entertainment and dancing.[4][5] His father made sure that the son received piano lessons.[4] In 1944, his parents fled with him to Läsikow [de] in the Ruppin district.[6] Matthus attended secondary school in Rheinsberg, followed by studies at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.[7] After graduating, he continued his studies in composition with Rudolf Wagner-Régeny and Hanns Eisler, and was shortly thereafter made the youngest composer in residence in the history of the Komische Oper Berlin by Walter Felsenstein.[8]

Stage works edit

Matthus composed more than a dozen stage works.[9] The opera Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (Cornet Christoph Rilke's song of love and death ) after Rainer Maria Rilke was completed in 1983, first performed in Dresden in 1985, and performed also by the Glyndebourne Touring Opera in 1993.[10] The opera Graf Mirabeau (1987–88) is set during the French Revolution.[11] It was commissioned for the 200th anniversary of Bastille Day and enjoyed simultaneous productions in both East and West Germany as well as Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union and France.[11] The opera was recorded by the Berlin State Opera.[11] Other opera recordings include his Old Testament-based "opera vision" Judith (1984) by Komische Oper Berlin and Der letzte Schuss with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2003 he composed music for both a ballet and an opera adaptation of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story.[1]

Orchestral music edit

Matthus was a prolific composer of works for orchestra as well as chamber and recital compositions. In 1979, Responso, a four-movement symphony was played by the Dresdner Staatskapelle in front of the UN in New York City with a worldwide broadcast.[4][12] He enjoyed a close working relationship with conductor Kurt Masur who presented many world premieres of his music. Masur also conducted what Matthus called "the commission of my life", a Te Deum for the reopening of the Dresden Frauenkirche after restoration, broadcast live on 11 November 2005.[13] His works are featured on more than twenty recordings by several of Germany's leading symphony orchestras and chamber music ensembles. His 1975 Cello Concerto and his Second Symphony were recorded in 1978 by cellist Josef Schwab and the orchestra of the Komische Oper, conducted by the composer. A reviewer described the works as "deeply honest, uncompromising though highly communicative".[14] For the occasion of his 70th birthday in 2004, a recording combined three concertos with orchestra recorded earlier with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken: the 1982 Concerto for Trumpet and Percussion, the 1994 Manhattan Concerto, and Der Wald (The forest), a 1984 percussion concerto.[15] On 25 January 2009, Leon Botstein conducted Responso at the Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, with the American Symphony Orchestra.[16]

Festival edit

In 1991, Matthus founded the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg festival. He was its artistic director until 2018.[17] He was an honorary citizen of Rheinsberg.[1]

Personal life edit

Since 1957, Matthus was married to the singer Helga Matthus. They had a son, Frank Matthus [de] (born 1964), and lived in Stolzenhagen [de], part of Wandlitz, near Berlin.[18][19] Matthus died in his home on 27 August 2021 at the age of 87 after a protracted illness.[17]

Compositions edit


Matthus composed more than 600 works.[12][4] His oeuvre includes 14 operas, over 60 large orchestral works, numerous chamber music, ballet scenes and film music.[12]

Opera edit

  • 1960–63 Lazarillo von Tormes
  • 1966/67 Der letzte Schuss (The Last Shot)
  • 1971 Noch einen Löffel Gift, Liebling? (Another Spoonful of Poison, Darling?) (Comic crime opera by Peter Hacks after the comedy Risky Marriage by Saul O'Hara)
  • 1972–74 Omphale (text by Hacks)
  • 1974 Mario the Magician
  • 1983/84 Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (Cornet Christoph Rilke's song of love and death ) (text after Rainer Maria Rilke)
  • 1982–84 Judith (after the play by Friedrich Hebbel)
  • 1987/88 Graf Mirabeau
  • 1990 "Judith" American Premiere at the Santa Fe Opera
  • 1990/91 Desdemona und ihre Schwestern (Desdemona and her Sisters) (text after Christine Brückner)
  • 1998 Farinelli oder die Macht des Gesanges (Farinelli or The Power of Singing)
  • 1998/99 Kronprinz Friedrich [de] (libretto by Thomas Höft)
  • 2003 Die unendliche Geschichte (after Michael Ende's The Neverending Story commissioned by the Department for Culture of Rhineland-Palatinate, libretto by Anton Perrey)
  • 2007: Cosima, reconstruction of an opera fragment by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • 2019: Effi Briest, after the novel by Theodor Fontane commissioned by Staatstheater Cottbus, to a libretto by Frank Matthus [de][21]

Awards edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Music Associates of America Roster ~ Siegfried Matthus Biography".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Matthus". Akademie der Künste, Berlin (in German). Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b Liedtke, Ulrike (2001). "Matthus, Siegfried". Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.18104. ISBN 9781561592630. (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c d Mauró, Helmut (30 August 2021). "Von Mallenuppen nach Manhattan". Sü (in German). Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  5. ^ "Matthus, Siegfried". Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur (in German). Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Komponist Siegfried Matthus ist tot". Norddeutscher Rundfunk (in German). 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Komponist Siegfried Matthus mit 87 Jahren gestorben". Berliner Morgenpost. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  8. ^ Baumgartner, Edwin (30 August 2021). "Nachruf Siegfried Matthus". Klassik – Wiener Zeitung Online (in German). Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  9. ^ Matthus, Siegfried on the operone website
  10. ^ "Glyndebourne Touring Opera". Archived from the original on 4 April 2010.
  11. ^ a b c "ZEITVERGLEICHE". Die Tageszeitung. 17 July 1989. p. 20. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  12. ^ a b c "Komponist Siegfried Matthus mit 87 Jahren gestorben". Sü (in German). dpa. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  13. ^ Te Deum von Siegfried Matthus – Uraufführung in der Frauenkirche zu Dresden premiere in the Frauenkirche, Deutschlandradio, 11 November 2005 (in German)
  14. ^ Culot, Hunert (February 2002). "Siegfried Matthus (born 1934) / Cello Concerto (1975)". Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  15. ^ Barnett, Rob (November 2004). "Siegfried Matthus (b. 1934) / Manhattan Concerto – For the 70th Birthday of Siegfried Matthus". Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  16. ^ Miller, Michael (15 February 2009). "Music of the Other Germany: American Symphony Orchestra". Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  17. ^ a b Komponist Siegfried Matthus gestorben (in German) FAZ 30 August 2021
  18. ^ "In Stolzenhagen wohnt der bekannteste lebende Komponist Deutschlands". Willkommen – Informationsbroschüren "kompakt" in Internet (in German). Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  19. ^ Buddeke, Regine (25 January 2019). "Leben für die Musik: Die Matthus-Familie". Märkische Allgemeine (in German). Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  20. ^ Liedtke, Ulrike (2016). "Matthus, Siegfried". In Heister, Hanns-Werner; Sparrer, Walter-Wolfgang (eds.). Komponisten der Gegenwart (in German). (subscription required)
  21. ^ "EFFI BRIEST | Staatstheater Cottbus" (in German).

External links edit