Andre Asriel

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Andre Asriel (born February 22, 1922 in Vienna ; † May 28, 2019 in Berlin ) was an Austro-German composer .


Asriel first attended the Academic Gymnasium and then the Bundesgymnasium IX ( Wasagymnasium ) in Vienna , where the later Oscar winner and composer Ernest Gold was his classmate. Here he pursued musical studies at the same time and studied piano with Grete Hinterhofer and theory with Richard Stöhr at the State Music Academy in Vienna from 1936 to 1938 . He was extraordinarily talented and an excellent pianist from a young age.

After Austria was annexed to the National Socialist German Reich , his mother made sure that her 16-year-old son Andre was able to emigrate to England on a children's transport at the end of 1938 as a racially persecuted person . She was no longer able to escape to escape. When the war began in September 1939, all connections to the old homeland and to the family were severed. Asriel was interested in music even when he was abroad, but he did not know how to start and finance a suitable degree. Through an encounter with the later poet Erich Fried - also a former student of the Wasagymnasium - he found contact with the exile organization Freie Deutsche Jugend (FDJ), which also financed studies. Asriel took over the direction of the London FDJ Choir and made friends among its members. As a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music (LRAM) he continued his studies from 1941 with Franz Osborn (piano) and Ernst Hermann Meyer (composition).

His gratitude to the FDJ led Asriel to a destroyed Germany in 1946 to help build socialism there. In 1946 he continued his music studies, which had been interrupted in exile, at the Hochschule für Musik in the western part of Berlin with Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling and Hermann Wunsch (composition) and Richard Rössler (piano). The piano state examination followed in 1948. From 1950 to 1951 Andre Asriel was a master student at the German Academy of the Arts ( East Berlin ) with Hanns Eisler . From 1950 to 1967 he was a lecturer and then professor for composition at the "Hanns Eisler" Academy of Music in Berlin ( GDR ). In 1980 he retired .

Asriel was best known for his political songs. But film music was also an important field of activity for him. He wrote the music for more than 30 films. He also composed chansons, ballads, chamber, vocal and instrumental music. Many of his compositions are influenced by jazz music.

He had been married to Germanist Gertrud (Katja) Asriel since 1951 and had two children.

In 1951 Asriel was awarded the GDR National Prize, the FDGB Art Prize in 1970, and the Patriotic Order of Merit in 1974 and 1982 .


Instrumental compositions

Music for orchestra (1963–1964)

  • Four inventions , for trumpet, trombone and orchestra
  • Folksong suite , for orchestra
  • Metamorphoses , for orchestra

Chamber music (1964–1972)

  • 20 variations on “Ich hab mein Feinsliebchen” , for flute and guitar
  • Shakespeare Suite , for two trumpets and two trombones, 1993, New Music
  • Katzenwalzer , for violin and piano

Music for keyboard instruments (1962–1988)

  • Sonata , for piano
  • Fugue in C , for piano
  • Toccata and fugue , for organ

Music for concert guitar (1962–1988)

  • Baroque in Blue , for solo guitar
  • A little jazz music , for solo guitar
  • Prelude and Toccata , for 2 guitars
  • Etudes and performance pieces , for guitar solo
  • Four pieces , for 2 guitars
  • Suite in E , for 2 guitars
  • Cinque pezzi obbligati , for solo guitar

Choral music (1951–1977)

  • Mahle, Mühle mahle ( Walter Dehmel ), for mixed choir
  • Suite in Scat , for mixed choir and rhythm section
  • Six fables after Aesop , for mixed choir
  • Three choirs based on Latin texts , for mixed choir
  • Three commentaries on “Moro lasso” by Carlo Gesualdo , for chamber choir and six instruments
  • Three serious chants ( Bertolt Brecht ), for male choir

Mass songs (1941–1983)

  • We love life (Erich Fried)
  • Much blood was given ( KuBa )
  • Friendship, Unity, Peace (Herbert Keller)
  • Long live the bread (KuBa)
  • The young guard laughs bravely (KuBa)
  • Red October (KuBa)
  • Battle of Galgenberg ( Manfred Bieler )
  • Sailors from Kiel (Bodo Krautz)
  • Song of the Republic ( Heinz Kahlau )
  • The red flag (Helmut Kontauts)

Songs and Chansons (1948–1975)

  • Song of St.Nimmerleinstag (Bertolt Brecht)
  • Against the war (KuBa)
  • Hungarian Largo (Jens Gerlach)
  • Song of the Rush (Heinz Kahlau)
  • Nuclear rocket song (Jens Gerlach)
  • Mud House Blues (Jens Gerlach)
  • Song of Luck (Bertolt Brecht)
  • Limericks ( Peter Hacks )
  • Argumentation (Jens Gerlach)
  • Ducat Song (Jens Gerlach)
  • Loyalty ( Heinrich Heine )
  • Evening in a big city ( Louis Fürnberg )
  • On the sunny side ( Manfred Krug )
  • Shimmy in green (Peter Hacks)
  • At the miners' ball (Peter Hacks)
  • The olives flourish (Peter Hacks)
  • October ( Alfred Kerr )
  • September ( Erich Kästner )
  • The Monarch (Peter Hacks)
  • The Easter Chicken (Heinz Kahlau)
  • Moon Song (Peter Hacks)
  • Song of the Cranes ( Kurt Demmler )
  • Karl I. (Heinrich Heine)
  • This is how it has to be ( Volker Braun after Béranger )

Piano songs (1940–1971)

  • Childe Harold (Heinrich Heine)
  • Three Chants ( Langston Hughes )
  • Two sayings (Bertolt Brecht)
  • Death ( Matthias Claudius )
  • Stop at your boat (Wolfram Dietrich)
  • Six songs (Bertolt Brecht)
  • Eight love songs (Jens Gerlach)
  • Schön Dorindgen (Peter Hacks)
  • Fool's Song ( William Shakespeare )
  • Who is Sylvia (William Shakespeare)
  • Tree-like songs (Helmut Stöhr)
  • numerous folk song arrangements
Yiddish folk songs - children's songs and lullabies , Verlag Neue Musik, Berlin
Yiddish folk songs - vocational and class songs , Verlag Neue Musik, Berlin
Yiddish folk songs - love songs , New Music Publishing House, Berlin

Film music and theater music (1955–1986)

Film music

Feature films
Short films
  • Living Iron (1955), Berthold Beissert (popular science film)
  • Märkische Novelle (1957), Max Jaap (documentary film)
  • The carnival costume (1958), Kurt Weiler (cartoon)
  • Martin Andersen Nexö (1959), Joachim Kunert (documentary)
  • The bank robbery (1961), Hans Joachim Hildebrandt (magazine)
  • The Vixen and the Beaver (1961), Ralf Kirsten (magazine)
  • Modern graphics (1961), (popular science film)
  • Village children (1962), Heinz Müller (documentary film)
  • Pasaremos (1962), (popular science film)
  • Hare and Hedgehog (1963), Horst Seemann (magazine)
  • Track construction (1963), (popular science film)
  • Hüben und drüben (1964), Walter Heynowski (documentary)
  • Gender (1964), (popular science film)
  • OK (1965), Walter Heynowski (documentary)
  • Borinage (1983/84), Joris Ivens / Henri Storck Documentary (1933, silent , EPI, Club de l'Ecran, Brussels )
  • Drifters (1984/86), John Grierson Documentary (1929, silent, EMBFilm Unit, GB )

Theatrical music

Radio play music


  • Jazz - Analyzes and Aspects , VEB Lied der Zeit, Berlin 1966 (4th, revised and expanded edition. 1985)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Stefan Amzoll : For the better: To the death of Andre Asriel. In: young world . May 31, 2019 (obituary).;