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The composer Herbert Baumann died in Munich at the age of 94

As the composer's family reports, the composer Herbert Baumann died in Munich on the night of January 20/21, 2020 at the age of 94.
Baumann's work, especially his ballet music for "Alice in Wonderland" and "Rumpelstilzchen", but also his chamber music and orchestral works, has reached a large audience. In his cheerful manner and healthy optimism, Herbert Baumann tended to dance, rhythmic and lively in his music. He also composed for laypeople, often writing pieces that were accessible and practically easy to implement, and his goal was always to introduce people to music.
Herbert Baumann was born on July 31, 1925 in Berlin and had a carefree childhood there even in the shadow of the Second World War. Despite his early inclination to music, he enrolled two years later at his father's request to study architecture, but soon afterwards began to study conducting with Sergiu Celibidache in his first season with the Berlin Philharmonic, and finally switched entirely to music. He came to compose through a self-written little piece intended as a conducting exercise, which Celibidache passed on to the composition teacher Paul Höffer, who then offered Baumann free composition lessons.
Baumann studied for two years at the International Music Institute in Berlin with Paul Höffer and after his death with Boris Blacher. He also composed as head of stage music for the open-air theater on the Waldsee. When the position of director for stage music at the Deutsches Theater Berlin became vacant, Höffer proposed the 22-year-old for them, and for the next six years Baumann wrote many stage music for the Deutsches Theater; He also worked as a guest on many other theaters across Germany. In 1953 he moved to the State Theater in West Berlin and moved to Munich in 1970, where he worked on the Bavarian State Theater and composed for three theaters at the same time. Baumann has been composing freelance since 1979. In 1998 he founded the Herbert Baumann Foundation, originally to promote plucked music through concerts, competitions and festivals. In the meantime, other music is also supported there.
In Daniela Weidenthaler's book “Duetto Concertante: Herbert and Marianne Baumann - a composer's life” (2013, Allitera Verlag) you can experience Baumann's people and composers up close, partly in direct quotes, partly in the form of a narrative with short historical excursions. In addition to the more than 500 stage music, Baumann also wrote a lot of music for radio and television plays and documentaries and feature films, as well as orchestral works, chamber music and organ and choir compositions. What makes Herbert Baumann's music so special and captivating is the naturalness and ingenuity with which he sometimes combined echoes of various musical styles in unusual chamber music ensembles. His 78 chamber music compositions also include unusual instrumentations. For example in the "Con una marcetta" work for two oboes and cor anglais. For recorder, the "Spielmusik" is available in seven movements for recorder and the "Dance inventions" (1953) for three recorders. In 1960 Baumann wrote a divertimento for oboe, clarinet and bassoon. There is a rhythmically playful and dancing string quartet in C (1961), which is musically based on the divertimento of the 18th century and a wind quintet (1982). In the stanzas for two cellos, the composer used the folk song "A Dark Cloud Is Coming In". In "Rondo" with Mozart for oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon from 1992, Baumann played musically with a minuet by the eight-year-old child prodigy.
His two ballets are also significant: "Alice in Wonderland" was premiered on December 23, 1984 at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden. It tells a story of how the Alice novel came about - Lewis Carroll, as a math teacher, teaches rebellious students every day and, in his spare time, takes refuge in a fantasy world in which he imagines the girl Alice and experiences her fantastic adventures. Due to the multicolored and high-contrast compositional design (the percussion consists of 26 individual instruments!), Many very different moods are created and colorful pictures are painted. The music is easy to understand even for children. After the premiere, Helge Thoma, director of the Städtische Bühnen Augsburg, commissioned Herbert Baumann with the next ballet for the pre-Christmas period 1986 - "Rumpelstilzchen". Just like "Alice in Wonderland", this ballet was also very successful with over two hundred and fifty performances. This work, designed for families, contains imaginative and catchy melodies, supported by quotes from folk or children's songs. Baumann mainly worked with leitmotifs. There is also a version of this story for narrators and orchestras, which was once published on CD with Elmar Guntsch as spokesman for Thorofon.
 

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