Emil Nikolaus (Freiherr) von Reznicek
(Vienna, 4 May 1860 - Berlin, 2 Aug 1945)
Symphony No 4 (1919) 39:00
Symphony No 3 (1918) 30:42
Violin Concerto (1922) 26:25
Serenade for Strings (1924) 21:14
An Austrian late Romantic composer of Czech ancestry, Reznicek studied law and music simultaneously in Graz. He didn't finish his law degree, but continued to study music. Subsequently, he conducted at the theater in Graz, in Berlin and a few other places. From 1886 to 1894 he was Kapellmeister of the 88th Infantry of Prague, and it was here that he saw his greatest triumph with the premiere of Donna Diana (December 16, 1894). In the spring of 1902 he settled in Berlin, touring to Russia and England from time to time. When the Nazi party came to power in 1933, Reznicek tried not to become involved, but stayed in Berlin.
Reznicek was a personal friend of Richard Strauss. However, the relation between the two seems to have been an ambivalent one. Reznicek's symphonic poem Schlemihl (1912) can be seen as a direct parody of Strauss' Ein Heldenleben. The use of (often sarcastic) humor is a feature of much of Reznicek's music, from the jibbering Blaubart in the opera Ritter Blaubart via the sardonic Dance around the Golden Calf from Der Sieger (1913) to the expressionist Tarantella last movement of his Dance Symphony (#5, 1925). This Eulenspiegelei (a reference to the literary prankster Till Eulenspiegel) frequently got him into trouble in a world that was unaccustomed to the use of humour in music and art.
Reznicek's works include orchestral works (five symphonies, suites, serenades, overtures), a violin concerto (1922), operas (Till Eulenspiegel (1902), Ritter Blaubart - A Fairy-Tale Opera in Three Acts (1915-1917), Spiel oder Ernst (1930)), four string quartets and other chamber music.