Paul von Klenau

Paul von Klenau (1883-1946) was born in Copenhagen but spent most of his life in Germany and Austria.

Klenau originally studied music theory and violin in Copenhagen, and in 1902 he travelled to Berlin to study composition with Max Bruch and violin with Carl Halír. From 1904 he took composition lessons in Stuttgart with Max von Schillings. During the period between 1907 and 1914 he was engaged as conductor and rehearser at various German theatres, and in 1913 he was employed as chief conductor at the Freiburg Opera. In addition Klenau organised concerts in Copenhagen from 1919, and in 1920 he became co-founder – and until 1926 leader – of The Danish Philharmonic Society. Here modern orchestral music of all kinds was performed; in 1923 he even managed to introduce Arnold Schönberg, who conducted a concert with his own works.

­Parallel with engagements as a conductor in Vienna from 1922, Klenau also worked as choral conductor at the Konzerthausgesellschaft. In 1929 he was made a professor, and as a conductor and composer he held Frankfurt and Vienna as his fixed points, until in the winter of 1939-40 he returned home to Denmark, where he died in 1946. Klenau’s ­musical production covers almost all genres: operas, symphonies, instrumental concerts, chamber music, piano music and songs. To this should be added that he wrote a great number of articles on musical subjects, some of which were also given as talks in various places and connections.

Klenau's collection at The Royal Library

In 2005 The Royal Library bought a large collection of manuscripts by Klenau.

In 2005 The Royal Library bought a large collection of manuscripts by Klenau. During the previous more than thirty years the manuscripts had been kept in a summer house in Tyrol and a flat in Vienna. The collection contains a number of works by the Danish composer Paul von Klenau that are not known from other sources. A few of these works were given their first Danish performance at a concert in the library in May 2008. The material has so far only received scant attention. At first, DCM will concentrate on the piano works and the many songs to Danish and German texts – materialising both in catalogues of the two groups of works and an edition of selected works.

Selected works by Klenau, published by DCM

Scores of a number of Paul von Klenau's works may be downloaded free of charge in PDF format, or printed copies may be purchased.