Unlike many of his contemporaries, Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963) subscribed to no school or circle of fellow-composers; he was never a teacher and so developed no followers. Thus he was an individual artist whose influences came from Bruckner, Mahler and Reger. He also had an affinity with Stravinsky and Bartók. Although Webern was one of his teachers (it was from Webern that Hartmann developed his love of detail) it was more to the romantic music of Berg that Hartmann looked for inspiration.
Whilst the Nazi party were in power in Germany, although remaining there, Hartmann withdrew himself from German musical life and refused to let his works be performed there. After the defeat of Hitler Hartmann became active again and soon became a prominent musician and administrator in Germany, winning many awards. He was instrumental in reintroducing the German public to 20th-century music, especially that that had been banned by the Nazis, and he created opportunities for younger composers to come to the fore.
Towards the end of his life adminstration took up more and more of Hartmann's time and, with no conductor to champion his music, it soon largely vanished from attention. Only recently has it begun to re-emerge, mainly through the help of conductors like Mariss Janssons and Ingo Metzmacher, whose important complete cycle of Hartmann's symphonies here makes a welcome return to the catalogues.
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