Eduard Künneke

Eduard Künneke (also seen as Edward and spelled Künnecke) (27 January 1885 – 27 October 1953 in Berlin) was a German composer notable for his operettas, operas, theatre music and some orchestral works.

Kuenneke was born in Emmerich, Lower Rhine. After obtaining his school diploma he moved in 1903 to Berlin where he studied musicology and the history of literature; he translated Beowulf into German. He was subsequently accepted into Max Bruch's master-school for musical composition attached to the Royal Academy of Arts. By 1907 Kuenneke was already a repetiteur and chorus master at a Berlin operetta theatre, the Neues Operettentheater am Schiffbauerdamm, but relinquished his post as chorus master after his opera Robins Ende (1909) was premiered in Mannheim and Coeur-As (1913) in Dresden. Thereafter he received productions at 38 German opera houses. From 1908 to 1910 he also worked as a music director for Odeon Records and conducted (without label credit) two of the earliest complete symphony recordings, the Beethoven Fifth and Sixth Symphonies with the "Grosses Odeon Streich-Orchester".

In 1911 Künneke became a conductor of the German Theatre in Berlin, where he wrote incidental music for Max Reinhardt including music for Reinhardt’s staging of Part Two of Goethe's Faust. With the coming of The Great War he became a horn player and conductor in a regimental band. In 1916 the focus of his interests began to shift to musical comedy. However, due to financial woes he took a post as serial conductor for Heinrich Berté's prettified Schubert pastiche Das Dreimaderlhaus (Blossom Time). This inspired him to write an equally maudlin singspiel Das Dorf ohne Glocke (The Village without a Bell)(1919). Subsequently he composed one operetta after another, altogether more than a dozen, and all at a high level of craftsmanship. He toured the US but, as one writer put it, "his experiences were not exactly positive". During the National Socialist years he advanced to become the "Master of German Operetta".

The trauma of the war years had its effect upon Künneke and with a heart complaint he withdrew into the solitude of his study as an "independent scholar". He died on 27 October 1953. At the funeral ceremony in Berlin he was lauded as the last great figure and noblest musician of Berlin operetta.

Künneke's graceful music is distinguished by its rhythm and striking harmonies. His best-known work is the 1921 operetta Der Vetter aus Dingsda; many of his songs are still familiar today.

In 1926, when his operetta Lady Hamilton was premiered in Breslau, he formed what became a long friendship with the conductor Franz Marszalek. Marszalek was a dedicated advocate of Künneke's music, and during his tenure at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne (1949–65) made numerous recordings of his works (many currently unavailable) with the Cologne Radio Orchestra and the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Künneke's daughter was the actress and singer Evelyn Künneke.

Birth and Death Data: Born January 27, 1885 (Emmerich am Rhein), Died October 27, 1953 (West Berlin)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1923 - 1937

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-27496 10-in. 2/16/1923 Man in the moon The Troubadours Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor B-27559 10-in. 2/20/1923 Man in the moon Lucy Isabelle Marsh Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-27629 10-in. 2/28/1923 Caroline Great White Way Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor B-31798 10-in. 2/3/1925 The love song you will forget Hugo Frey ; The Troubadours Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor CVE-32196 12-in. 4/1/1925 Gems from The love song Victor Light Opera Company Vocal chorus and soloists, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 80895 10-in. 3/12/1923 Argentine Ray Miller Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W140446 10-in. 3/18/1925 Love song Xylo-Rimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W98174 12-in. 5/12/1925 Vocal gems from The love song Columbia Light Opera Company Mixed vocal chorus and soloists, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 76878 12-in. 2/15/1923 Cousin from nowhere, selection, part 1 Albert W. Ketelbey ; London Theatre Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Columbia 76879 12-in. 2/15/1923 Cousin from nowhere, selection, part 1 Albert W. Ketelbey ; London Theatre Orchestra Orchestra composer  
OKeh S-71456 10-in. April 1923 Argentine Markel's Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh S-73213 10-in. Mar. 1925 The love song (You will forget) Hotel Pennsylvania Orchestra ; Vincent Lopez Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick 10194-10196 10-in. 3/28/1923 Argentine Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick DB99 10-in. 10/18/1928 Somewhere Pete Mandell Dance Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick BB134 10-in. 11/13/1928 Somewhere Mayfair Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Edison 8884 10-in. 3/20/1923 Argentine Atlantic Dance Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Edison 10209 10-in. 2/18/1925 The love song (You will forget) Herbert Soman Salon Orchestra Instrumental ensemble composer  
Gramophone 0RA579 10-in. 5/7/1935 Wenn sich zwei Herzen gut versteh’n Goldene Sieben Jazz/dance band composer  
Gramophone 0RA580 10-in. 5/7/1935 Lilli, liebe süsse kleine Lilli Goldene Sieben Jazz/dance band composer  
Gramophone 0D1174 10-in. 11/10/1932 Liebe kommt einmal von irgendwo her Orchester Lewis Ruth Jazz/dance band, with vocal composer  
Gramophone 0D1698 10-in. 9/12/1933 Kommt das Glück erst spät zu dir Kapelle Ludwig Rüth ; Walter Simlinger Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Gramophone 0D1761 10-in. 10/9/1933 Es gibt nur eine Liebe Walther Ludwig ; Orchester Ludwig Rüth Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band composer  
Gramophone 0RA2158 10-in. 6/30/1937 Madeira Barnabáš von Géczy Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Künneke, Eduard," accessed July 24, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103580.

Künneke, Eduard. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103580.

"Künneke, Eduard." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 24 July 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103580

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