C1898. ALOIS MELICHAR Cond. Berlin Staatsoper Orch.: Bach, Johann Strauss, Tschaikowsky, Verdi, Mascagni, Suppé, Puccini & Sibelius. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-1163, recorded 1931-40. Transfers by Yves St Laurent, using Denis Pelletier tube Equipment.
“Alois Melichar (18 April 1896, in Vienna – 9 April 1976, in Munich) was an Austrian conductor, music critic, film music composer, and arranger. He was a student of Joseph Marx at the Vienna Academy of Music, then of Franz Schreker at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, but later became increasingly culturally conservative. He composed music for several films during the Nazi period. After World War II Melichar became increasingly polemic in his attacks on modern music. His pamphlets include DIE UNTEILBARE MUSIK (‘Indivisible music’ 1952), MUSIK IN DER ZWANGSJACKE (‘Music in the Straitjacket’ 1958), and SCHÖNBERG UND DIE FOLGEN (‘Schönberg and his Consequences’ 1960).
Melichar’s writings are often bitingly sharp, hard to judge, but nonetheless stimulating by the author's extensive knowledge of the literature and his eloquence. He particularly vigorously polemicized against the ‘primitivism’ of Carl Orff and against the twelve-tone method, which he viewed as the wrong path, since it ultimately remains inaccessible to understanding. After all, Melichar was interested in the contemplative understanding of the art of conducting. His last, unfinished book THE PERFECT CONDUCTOR (1981) was dedicated to this idea. He considered the conductors who were also great composers to be the really great followers. Richard Strauss seemed to him to be the greatest, and he also respected Richard Wagner as a great conductor, to whom he granted a kind of salvation of honor in this role. The second part of the book, which was expressly planned in a polemical manner, never came about.
Due to his provocative writings against Arnold Schönberg and other proponents of 20th century's musical avant-garde, Alois Melichar (1896-1976) has gained a reputation as one of the most controversial film composers of his time, which overshadowed the efforts in his primary calling: movie music.
In 1926/27 he worked as a music critic for the Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung in Berlin, from 1927 to 1933 he was a conductor and artistic production consultant for the Deutsche Grammophonesellschaft. From 1933 he mainly created film compositions. In Vienna, between 1946 and 1949 he was at the studio for modern music on the radio station Rot-Weiß-Rot. Later he lived as a freelance composer mostly in Munich, where he was particularly successful with his film scores. Inspired by Joseph Marx, he took on impressionistic traits in his work; he was also greatly impressed by the works of Franz Schmidt. Finally he found a neoclassicism, whereby he stuck to this despite a very strong expansion of the tonality.”