Hans Werner Henze – In Memoriam: Die Weisse Rose (1965)

The London Sinfonietta
Hans Werner Henze

Winter 1964-65, while at work with the composition of “The Bassarids”, I wrote this work as a contribution to the Congress of the European Antifascist Resistance, held in Bologna in March 1965. I chose the occasion to remind audiences of one of the groups who attempted open resistance to the Nazi regime inside Germany. This movement was called “The White Rose” and the same name appeared on the numerous antifascist leaflets composed by their founders, the students Hans and Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, Willy Graf, and the Munich University Professor, Kurt Huber. The movement began its activities in 1942 in Munich, but quickly spread to other important
cities and gained a membership number of more than a hundred. A year later the founders were arrested, tried, condemned, executed. They defended themselves with great courage and died proudly for their ideas.

My work in their honour is a double fugue, and obviously inspired by and composed in the sense of Bach’s “Musikalisches Opfer” structures.
–Hans Werner Henze

Art: Monument to the “Weiße Rose” in front of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

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