Günter Bialas (1907-1995), German Composer and Music Theorist

During his time as an editor at Bärenreiter, Heinz Moehn worked with Günter Bialas, creating the piano reduction for the vocal score of Bialas’ opera, Hero und Leander. On 2 May 1966, Bialas wrote to Karl Vötterle, the founder of Bärenreiter-Verlag, to express his pleasure with Moehn’s exceptional work:

"A few days ago, I was able to correct the last few pages of the piano reduction of HERO and LEANDER, and I feel compelled to tell you what outstanding work Mr. Moehn has done here. Proofreading is indeed a horrible task for every composer, but this time it brought me joy, since I could detect with every page how musical, clever, but also handy for playing, the complicated sound of the [full] score was transferred to the piano. […] I would like to say that, here, over and above what is necessary, there exists an exceptional achievement of which the publisher also can be proud."

("Vor einigen Tagen konnte ich die letzten Seiten des Klavierauszugs von HERO und LEANDER korrigieren, und es drängt mich, Ihnen zu sagen, welche hervorragende Arbeit hier Herr Moehn geleistet hat. Korrekturlesen ist wohl für jeden Komponisten eine schreckliche Arbeit, aber diese hat mir Freude gemacht; denn ich konnte mit jeder Seite feststellen, wie musikalisch, gescheit, aber auch handlich zum Spielen hier das komplizierte Klangbild der Partitur auf das Klavier übertragen wurde. […][I]ch möchte sagen, dass hier über das Notwendige hinaus noch eine besondere Leistung vorliegt, auf die auch der Verlag stolz sein kann.")

Moehn and Bialas seem to have maintained a friendly acquaintanceship throughout their lives. In 1987, Bialas wrote to Moehn to thank him for the eightieth birthday greetings he had sent.

In his younger years, Bialas held positions in music theory at the University of Breslau (1933-1941), and the Weimar Musikhochschule (1947-1950). His development as a composer was interrupted when he was called for military service in 1941 until the end of the war, and it was only after the Second World War that he began to gain recognition as a significant compositional figure. Along with this new standing came appointments as professor of composition at the Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie in Detmold (1950-1959) and at the Musikhochschule in Munich (1959-1974). As a composer, Bialas is most well known for his chamber operas and song-plays, but he also composed numerous orchestral, choral, solo vocal, chamber, and solo instrumental works.

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Bialas, Günter. Günter Bialas to Heinz Moehn, 28 December 1965. Letter.

---. Günter Bialas to Karl Vötterle, 2 May 1966. Letter.

---. Günter Bialas to Heinz Moehn, 14 March 1967. Letter.

---. Günter Bialas to Heinz Moehn, 1/26 August 1987. Letter.

---. Hero und Leander. Piano reduction by Heinz Moehn. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1966.

Dennison, Peter. “Organ Music.” The Musical Times 108, no. 1490 (1967): 353. https://www- jstor-org.cyber.usask.ca/stable/953913

Levi, Erik. “Bialas, Günter.” In Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed 1 May, 2019. https://doi-org.cyber.usask.ca/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.03011

Strimple, Nick. Choral Music in the Twentieth Century. Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 2002.