Felix Draeseke

Felix Draeseke was born on October 7 in Coburg and died on February 26 in Dresden. Although family tradition demanded he become a member of the clergy, he decided to pursue a career in music instead and began studying at the conservatory in Leipzig. Soon he came into contact with Wagner‘s music and turned into an enthusiastic fan of the New German School, whose leader had been Franz Liszt in Weimar. After failing with his ultra-modern early works, Felix Draeseke moved to the French-speaking part of Switzerland, where he lived for the next twelve years. These Swiss years need to be seen as a time of maturing. The first two symphonies (G major, op. 12 and F major, op. 25) as well as the drafts of other important works were created here. In 1864, he wrote the text book for the mystery play “Christ“ which he did not compose until much later. In 1876, Felix Draeseke took up residence in Dresden. Since he suffered from a hearing defect, he was unable to work as musician, meaning he depended on the help of others to spread his works. In May of 1894, Felix Draeseke married Frida Neuhaus. In 1895, he began the work on his monumental work: the mystery play “Christ“ (prelude and three oratorios), which he completed in 1900. The first two complete performances of the mystery play took place under the direction of Bruno Kittel in Berlin and Dresden in 1912. The next complete performances in Speyer (Udo-R. Follert) and Heilbronn (Hermann Rau) did not take place until 1990 and 1991. The INTERNATIONALE DRAESEKE GESELLSCHAFT (International Draeseke Association), founded in 1886, researches the life and works of the composer and promotes his music (www.draeseke.org). The Alan Krueck Foundation founded in 2014 supports these efforts.





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