Stamp of the Month: September 2021

Engelbert Humperdinck

The German composer Engelbert Humperdinck was born on September 1, 1854 in Siegburg. He died on September 27, 1921 in Neustrelitz. September 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of his death.

Germany 9.9.2004

Engelbert Humperdinck received piano lessons at a very early age and began to compose at the age of 12. From 1872 he studied with Ferdinand Hiller at the Cologne Conservatory. The Mozart Prize of the City of Frankfurt (1876) enabled him to study with Franz Lachner and Josef Rheinberger in Munich. On a trip to Italy he visited Richard Wagner, who offered him the opportunity to work on the world premiere of “Parsifal”. Humperdinck accepted the offer and worked closely with him until Wagner’s death in 1833. After a job as Kapellmeister in Cologne and teaching assignments in Barcelona and Frankfurt, he achieved an initially surprising but lasting success in 1893 with the opera “Hansel and Gretel”, which enabled him to devote himself entirely to composing in the following years. Unfortunately, however, none of his other five operas had the similar success of “Hansel and Gretel”. In December 1900, Humperdinck moved to Berlin, where he took a master class for composition at the Musikhochschule and, in close collaboration with Max Reinhardt, composed several pieces of drama for the German Theater.

The video shows the final scene of the opera “Hansel and Gretel” with Daniela Sindram (Hansel), Ileana Tonca (Gretel) and the children’s choir of the opera school of the Vienna State Opera. The recording is from a live broadcast by the 3Sat TV channel in 2016.