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Listen Up: Franz Mittler Unsung

New in Listen Magazine

Franz Mittler: An Affair of the Ear

The twentieth-century jack found many musical trades.

You might describe Mittler as the Francis Poulenc of Entartete Musik. His settings of poems by Wilhelm Busch—the godfather of cartoons—are priceless. And his adopted homeland didn't remain un-composed: The Manhattan Suite (1947) includes a "Song of the Subway" and "Waltzing in Central Park."

Despite the Brahms pedigree, Mittler had no time for excessive seriousness. Even the severe form of the string quartet refuses furrowed brows and gets infused with Mittlerian vivaciousness: The 1909 Quartet No. 1 sounds like an old acquaintance from its very first notes—in a happy, not derivative, sort of way...

Available in the current issue of Listen Magazine and digitally here.

Picture is a detail from Chi Birmingham's illustration of the article.

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