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Herman David Koppel
1908 - 1998
H.D. Koppel
Herman David Koppel (01/10/1908 - 14/07/1998), a Danish composer (from Copenhagen). He was born of Jewish parents who lived in Blaski in Poland. In 1930 Koppel made his debut as a pianist and included some of his own music. During World War II he worked and lived in Sweden. Koppel wrote 7 symphony's, 4 piano concerto, 6 stringquartets, balletmusic, a requiem, etc.
Author:David C.F. Wright
There are three elements in my art and my life - the creative, the practical, and the pedagogical - that I strive constantly to bring into harmony. This demands considerable strength; I teach, I play, I compose, my days are full, 24 hours seem insufficient, but if the inspiration is sufficiently strong even the pressure from the outside world will eventually find its way onto the music paper, in spite of every physical and psychological barrier. In 1966 Herman D. Koppel gave this description of himself. The description would have been equally apt 30 years earlier or 20 years later since it mirrors the fact that for more than half a century Koppel managed to be among the best, as pianist and teacher as well as composer. In the 18th and 19th century, this was common practice, but in our modern age, it is highly unusual. Herman D. Koppel's personal and artistic repertoire was enormous. He would get up at five in the morning in order to compose before making breakfast for his children, as was his custom. Having got through these basic tasks, he felt ready to tackle the business of the day. He created more than 250 compositions ranging from symphonies and oratorios to short, pedagogical pieces, film music, and the popular song, Sangen om Larsen (The Song about Larsen). Besides covering a wide spectrum of musical styles Herman D. Koppel also managed to embrace two widely different cultures. The son of Jewish immigrants Koppel grew up with the conflict between Judaism with its rigid rules and strict regularity and an increasingly individualistic secularised Denmark. Isak Koppel - Herman D. Koppel's father - was a tailor, a Polish Jew who taught his children that politeness and industriousness were sine qua non for success in life. Herman D. Koppel did not choose to become an artisan like his father, and later in life, he even gave up his membership of The Jewish Community, but he still adhered to his father's rule of conduct throughout his life. Herman was the first-born of Isak and Manja Koppel, and even before his birth on October 1, 1908, they had bought him a piano. Neither of the parents played, and music did not play a more prominent role in their home than in other homes of the period, but both parents saw the profession of pianist as one that might lead to fame and wealth. Manja Koppel had a beautiful singing voice and it is from one of her songs that Herman D. Koppel has borrowed the theme for the only work of his which links up with his Jewish roots: the string trio, Variationer over en jødisk Folkedans (Variations on a Jewish Folkdance, 1932). Herman had his first piano lessons at five, and when he was twelve, he started improvising, and composing short pieces, that were written down in slim, black music-books. In 1925, seventeen year old, Herman D. Koppel became a pupil of Rudolph Simonsen, one of the leading pianists of the time, and in a few months, Simonsen had prepared him to take the entrance examination admitting him to the Copenhagen Conservatory. For his examination, he played the third movement of Bach's Italian Concerto and a little piece from one of his own music-books, Gammel Dans (An Old Dance), a small composition in three parts in a cheerful, popular strain. Carl Nielsen, who was on the admittance board, went up to Koppel and looked with interest over his shoulder while he was playing. When Koppel had finished playing Carl Nielsen exclaimed, "You have an excellent sense of form, Mr. Koppel". Forty years earlier Niels W. Gade, the dominant figure in Danish musical life at the time, had said the same to the young Carl Nielsen.
Author:Esben Tange Kristensen
Composed in:1966
Musical form:free
Label(s):Danacord DACOCD 571
Herman D. Koppel's Requiem, Op.78, was written in 1965-66, the composer having begun the work one year after the completion of the oratorio Moses (1963-64). Moses was the legend about God's prophet, Moses; it started with the legend about the creation of man and ended with the death of Moses in the land of Moab. Beside Moses stood the narrative tenor and the lyrical soprano, each individualized, living their own life, having their own thoughts and feelings. In Requiem there is no principal character like Moses, and although both the tenor and the soprano reappear as persons of the same character as in Moses, they resolve more and more, getting involved in each other's actions and in other people's situations just as we all, wilfully or against our will, interfere in each other's fate. Where Moses was a dream, Requiem is a rude awakening: nothing is any longer what it ought to be, nobody is fully and completely himself, everybody carries each other in unsteady hands. Moses began with creation, but Requiem begins at the point where, apparently, man stands alone beyond God's protection and His reach - at the births of Cain and Abel. The work contains five stories from the Old Testament, all dealing with the relationship between a few human beings in situations where we live as each-other's brothers, daughters, and parents; there are the stories about brothers (Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brethren), stories about father and daughter (Jephthah and his daughter), about the completely isolated man (Job), and finally about a man in harmony with God but in confict with the others (Moses on Mount Sinai). All these stories have been broken into several independent movements, intermingled as in everyday life, forming together a world of actions and words rent by hatred, despair, loneliness, and fear. In the last movement but one, with words from i.a. the Sermon on the Mount, we perceive for a second the harmony and bliss coming from ourselves, which might be ours if only we could be oblivious of what we have seen and heard in the preceding movements and live with each other again. But the last movement reveals what was hidden to us all before: God's face, which, together with us but without our knowing it, has heard and seen all what happened to Abel, Joseph, Moses, and Jephthah's daughter, and the inexorability of his voice irredeemably takes away the possibility in ourselves, which is our last hope. Now we are really alone and, like the last movement of the Requiem, this loneliness will last forever.
Author:Anders Koppel
A requiem for choir and orchestra.
Contributor:Ole Nielsen
Requiem for solo voices, chorus and orchestra Opus 78 (1965-1966)
1. Kain und Abel I. (Mo. I, 4, 1-2) 3:02
2. Hiob I. (Hiob III, 1-7) 2:45
3. Joseph. (Mo.I, 37, 12-28) 7:23
4. Kain und Abel II. (Mo. I, 4, 3-5) 2:47
5. Hiob II. (Hiob VI. 14-15, XVI, 18) 4:36
6. Jephtah. (Richter XI, 30-36) 6:36
7. Kain und Abel 111. (Mo. 1. 4, 6-8) 4:20
8. Hiob III. (Hiob XXX, 16-18, 20-23) 3:05
9. Psalm. (Psalm 27, 7 - 8 - 9) 6:34
10. Mose. (Mose II. 34. 29-32) 2:23
11. Matthäus - Jesaja – David 7:31
12. Psalm. (Psalm 33, 13-15) 2:49
Contributor:Arye Kendi and Pierre Zimmermann