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Kreiten's Passion

By misfit13b in Culture
Thu Dec 04, 2003 at 01:37:41 AM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)

On September 19, 2003, the world premiere of Dutch composer Rudi Martinus van Dijk's Kreiten's Passion was held at the Tonhalle in Duesseldorf, Germany.

The symphonic piece, written for orchestra, mixed choir and baritone, tells the story of Karl Robert Kreiten, a young German pianist who was imprisoned and executed by the Nazis in 1943.

Karl Robert Kreiten was born in June of 1916 to a musical family. His parents, Theo and Emmy Kreiten, were both professional concert musicians, and Karl learned to play piano and the violin very early in his life. By the age of twelve, he was enrolled in the college of music in Cologne. He was urged by one of his music teachers, Hedwig Rosenthal Kanner, to leave Germany and go to the United States, but Karl decided that he would prefer to stay in his homeland and add to Germany's musical culture and growth.

That is exactly what he did. Kreiten was widely acclaimed as one of the best young German pianists in a lifetime, and his reputation continued to grow.

However, Karl expressed his dissaproval of Adolf Hitler, who he thought was a madman who would lose the war, subsequently causing Germany's cultural decline and eventual fall. Word got around of Kreiten's statements, and they eventually landed on the wrong ears. On May 3, 1943, under an hour before he was to perform a concert, Kreiten was arrested by the Nazis for the comments that he had made. He was tried and given the death sentence on September 3rd. The German government was going to make an example of him.

Kreiten was moved to the Berlin prison Ploetzensee after his appeals and the pleas from his family bore no fruit. There he stayed, keeping in contact with his parents through letters. His parents promised to continue the fight for his release.

Due to Allied bombing runs, the German Ministry of Justice and prison officials decided that it would be better to execute their prisoners ahead of schedule, rather than allow one of the enemy bombs to carry out the sentences. There was also additional pressure from higher ranking Nazi officials that the executions were not being carried out quickly enough, so a decision was made. From September 7th to the 9th, prisoners were led continuously in small groups to the prison's execution shed, only breaking in the early morning to change shifts. When the slaughter ended, a total of 360 prisoners were executed.

Meanwhile, on September 8th, Karl's mother had advanced far enough through the legal system to be granted a suspension of Karl's execution sentence. She was unaware that they were one full day into the massacre at the prison, and by the time word arrived there, it was too late. Karl Robert Kreiten, 27, was already dead.

After Karl's death, his parents fled Dusseldorf for the rest of the war, afraid of the possiblity that they could be the Nazi's next targets. Theo wrote the book, "Whom the Gods Love" about his son in 1945.

The opening of van Dijk's Kreiten's Passion in Dusseldorf this September was a great tribute to this young fallen pianist. Sadly, it was to be van Dijk's last work, as he passed away this past Saturday, just two months after the world premiere performances.

http://www.fkoester.de/kreiten/home/seite1. html (German)
http://www.labournet.de/rechten/allg/krei ten.html (German)


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Related Links
o Rudi Martinus van Dijk's
o Tonhalle
o http://www .fkoester.de/kreiten/home/seite1. html
o http://www .labournet.de/rechten/allg/krei ten.html
o Also by misfit13b

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Kreiten's Passion | 28 comments (13 topical, 15 editorial, 2 hidden)
Divided (2.00 / 7) (#4)
by Easyas123 on Wed Dec 03, 2003 at 11:43:47 AM EST

While I can say that I have no real interst in the subject matter, the peice seems well written and sincere. +1 sec.

As the wise men fortold.

Few times .... (2.25 / 4) (#17)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Dec 03, 2003 at 05:44:11 PM EST

.... an article posted here talks about something truly important.

This submission manages to touch very interesting topics, with the insight only granted to an insider.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?

I am not familiar with him (1.75 / 4) (#19)
by Captain Jean Luc Picard on Wed Dec 03, 2003 at 09:29:25 PM EST

Could you please share more information with us? I must admit I do not like post 19th century classical music and I detest pretty much every piece written in the 20th century (in particular atonal music holds a rather chilly part of my heart).

If this gentleman's music is in a more traditional style, I would be interested in hearing it.

Yup. (1.00 / 11) (#21)
by qpt on Wed Dec 03, 2003 at 10:35:26 PM EST

You're a square. Nobody is interested in the crude attempts of long-dead composers.

Really, put aside your prejudice and learn to appreciate the product of contemporary genius correcting the mistakes of the past.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

This is bullshit, -1 (1.37 / 8) (#20)
by RyoCokey on Wed Dec 03, 2003 at 10:34:07 PM EST

There wasn't a single snippet of information about our beloved Red Dwarf android in the entire piece!

The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick
A online sample would be nice (2.25 / 4) (#24)
by cestmoi on Wed Dec 03, 2003 at 11:45:22 PM EST

I'd be interested in hearing a sample of what the music sounds like.

Listen, I left Germany a long time ago (none / 2) (#25)
by mami on Thu Dec 04, 2003 at 09:10:20 AM EST

but I still remember Werner Hoefer as host of the "Fruehschoppen" and I was not aware about the release of documents from East Germany, which finally and belatedly caused his resignation in 1987.  

In how far was Werner Hoefer a "brown denunciator" for Kreiten? I don't have time to read through all of your links, but why didn't you openly present this IMO much more interesting background story about Hoefer?  

I understand that it would be a lot of work to translate your links at the Kreiten ome site, but actually this article presents a very educative and interesting story within the story about the role of Werner Hoefer in Germany, which should be told. Time consuming but very worthwhile to do so.

BTW the denunciation story you have on his home site reminded me very much of the denunciation story my grandfather went through, though it had less dramatic consequences.

I missed to vote on your story.  If you would write about Werner Hoefer's role during the war and afterwards in context with Kreiten, you would definitely get a passionate +1FP from me in hindsight.

You're right, such were my limitations. (none / 1) (#26)
by misfit13b on Thu Dec 04, 2003 at 10:19:04 AM EST

The primary reason I left a lot of that out was that it was very difficult for me to both translate and then comprehend the German source material. A lot of the info on the first resource link about this is in scanned, difficult to decipher newspaper cuttings. I gathered that Hoefer denounced Kreiten, and then perhaps tried to deny it later (?) but not enough to sustain the thought sufficiently in the article.

I ended up saying to myself, either get it right, or leave it out. A compromise I felt I had to make.

Since there was absolutely nothing that I could find RE: Kreiten in English, I thought to at least try to fill in the major points for those who had never even heard of Kreiten. Rudi's passing also wanted me to frame the article more around his work as well. I wrote the article to describe the story in as much as his piece covered.

Hope you liked it anyways, thanks for your comments.

[ Parent ]
Are you saying (none / 0) (#27)
by mami on Thu Dec 04, 2003 at 11:14:48 AM EST

you can not read and undestand the German links you gave, or just barely?

[ Parent ]
My German (none / 0) (#28)
by misfit13b on Thu Dec 04, 2003 at 11:31:11 AM EST

leaves much to be desired.

[ Parent ]
Kreiten's Passion | 28 comments (13 topical, 15 editorial, 2 hidden)
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