The late-Romantic composer Richard Flury (1896-1967) was born in
Biberist, a tiny town outside the Baroque city of Solothurn in
northern Switzerland. He went to school in Solothurn, later taught
there, conducted its orchestra, and had his operas and ballets
performed at the local theatre by its semi-professional ensemble.
But Flury was more than just another conservative composer stuck in
the provinces. His teachers included Ernst Kurth and Joseph Marx of
Vienna, and his music was performed by conductors such as Felix
Weingartner and Hermann Scherchen and star instrumentalists like
Wilhelm Backhaus and Georg Kulenkampff. His first opera was
conducted by a former student of Berg and Schoenberg who became his
staunch advocate, and during the Second World War Flury worked
closely with several Jewish emigre writers and musicians from
Germany and Czechoslovakia. In his music of the early 1930s, the
influence of Berg and Hindemith became apparent as Flury dabbled in
modernism and free tonality before moving back to a more
traditionalist stance; but he was also a fine tunesmith who loved
writing Viennese waltzes and violin miniatures after the manner of
Kreisler. In both his aesthetic and his career, Flury offers a
fascinating case of a man negotiating constantly between the centre
and the periphery - and composing some very good music in the
process.The book includes a 23 track CD of Flury's music. CHRIS
WALTON teaches music history at the Basel University of Music in
Switzerland. He is the author of Othmar Schoeck: Life and Works
(2009) and Richard Wagner's Zurich: The Muse of Place (2007).
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