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Karl Höller (1907-1987): Music for Violin, Cello and Organ / William Preucil, Violin; Roy Christensen, Cello; Barbara Harbach, Organ

Album Summary

>Höller, Karl : Phantasie for violin & organ, Op 49
>Höller, Karl : Triptychon for organ, Op 64
>Höller, Karl : Improvisation Über "Schönster Herr Jesu" for cello & organ, Op 55
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Karl Höller was born on 25 July 1907 in Bamberg, one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Germany. He embodied the fourth generation of a family of gifted musicians. His grandfather, Georg Höller, son of the organist Peter Höller, was the focal point of musical life in Würzburg. Georg Höller's daughter, Gretchen, was a gifted composer who succeeded her father as the organist of the Würzburg cathedral; she was one of the first female professional organists of the time. Her three sisters pursued the same careers. Höller's father, Valentin, was organist at the cathedral of Bamberg, and his mother, Anna Margaretha Drausnick, was the daughter of the director of the Bamberg Oratory Choir and an accomplished musician herself. Karl Höller's parents lived in a medieval complex of buildings close to the cathedral, whose mighty spires tower above everything, drawing people's eyes upward. The droning peals of the huge bronze bells penetrated even the thickest walls and the ancient oak floors carry the vibrations to the furthest chamber. Thus, Karl Höller was born into a world of music.

At the age of six, Höller became a choir boy and at eight he began to substitute for his father at the cathedral's huge organ. After college, he studied under Herrmann Zilcher in Würzburg and then continued his studies in Munich where Joseph Haas was his mentor. In 1937, he accepted an offer to teach at the Frankfurt Music Academy. During World War II, he was lucky enough not to be drafted, though he escaped by a hair's breadth. Höller withdrew from the terrible wartime reality into the world of music. In the midst of hunger, despair and air raids, he composed one masterpiece after another. To Höller, it was nothing short of a miracle that he survived that apocalypse, weakened, but relatively unharmed. In the last days of the war, Höller had taken refuge in Bamberg. There, on New Year's Eve in 1944, he gave the last concert before capitulation - an organ concert in St. Michael's Cathedral. Then again, on the 21st of July 1945, he performed in the first post-war concert in the Bamberg cathedral - the United States government even lifted the curfew for the event.In 1949, Höller accepted an offer to teach at the Munich Music Academy, which was nearly destroyed during the war. In 1954, he became president of that institution, turning it into one of Europe's finest music academies in a surprisingly short amount of time. Höller was the head of the Academy for 18 years, and during this time built up contacts all over the world. He arranged exchange concerts and participated on the Jury of numerous music competitions, including the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium and the Long-Thibaut Competition in Paris.

Also an outstanding conductor, Höller sought to conduct as many of his orchestral works as possible. However, his everincreasing responsibilities at the Academy and throughout the music scene-at-large soon made conducting impossible. He therefore concentrated on his most fundamental talent, composing, and created a large and distinguished oeuvre of which his organ works are particularly notable. Höller was an undisputed master of the great instrument, having loved it all his life. Owing to his heritage and lifelong involvement with the old masters of counterpoint, Höller's work is modern in the best sense: adventuresome, but always rooted in tradition.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: First Church of Christ Scientist in Buffalo, New York (1989).



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Works Details

>Höller, Karl : Phantasie for violin & organ, Op 49
  • Performers: Barbara Harbach (Organ); William Preucil (Violin)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Höller, Karl : Triptychon for organ, Op 64
  • Performer: Barbara Harbach (Organ)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Höller, Karl : Improvisation Über "Schönster Herr Jesu" for cello & organ, Op 55
  • Performers: Roy Christensen (Cello); Barbara Harbach (Organ)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern