Peter Kreuder (composer)

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Peter Kreuder (born August 18, 1905 in Aachen , † June 28, 1981 in Salzburg ) was a German - Austrian composer , pianist and conductor . He wrote the music for over 180 films , orchestral works, operas , operettas , musicals and much more.


Kreuder was born as the son of the opera singer of the same name Peter Kreuder and his wife Margerete, née Heidemann, on August 18, 1905, during a performance of Wagner's " Götterdämmerung " (in which his father took part) in the cloakroom of the Aachen City Theater. His parents both came from Cologne , the father had initially been an accountant before turning to music as an adult. One of Kreuder's uncle was the film actor Paul Heidemann .

At the age of three, Peter Kreuder began playing the piano in Berlin . After his parents separated, Kreuder moved with his mother and three older sisters to Cologne, where he received his first piano lessons. In 1910 he was accepted at the Cologne Conservatory, at the age of six he made his debut with WAMozart's A major piano concerto in Gürzenich in Cologne . During the First World War the family moved to Hamburg , where Kreuder started as a répétiteur of the corps de ballet at the Hamburg Opera. He gave up his piano studies during this time and hired himself out as a professional musician. He first played in cabarets and bars and discovered jazz . At the age of sixteen Peter Kreuder moved back to Berlin, where he played on Trude Hesterberg's " Wilder Bühne ". He later moved to Munich , where he resumed his studies at the Academy of Music and wrote music for revues. In 1924 he finished his studies with the state examination.

His first film score was Behind the Red Walls of Lichterfelde in 1930 . Then he got the chance to write and compose the arrangements and the interludes for The Blue Angel for Friedrich Hollaender . After he joined the NSDAP on August 1, 1932 (membership number 1.275.600), his membership was canceled in 1934 (according to the revision list of the Gaues München Oberbayern from November 1934, without giving reasons).

Nevertheless, in the years immediately afterwards, Peter Kreuder wrote the music for several films that were supposed to serve Nazi propaganda. A. on "The Girl Johanna" (1935), " Executioners, Women and Soldiers " (1935), "White Slaves" (1936), "Thirteen Men and a Cannon" (1938), all by the US government after the war forbidden. In 1936 Peter Kreuder was appointed State Music Director of the Bavarian State Operetta (later Theater am Gärtnerplatz) in Munich by NSDAP Gauleiter Adolf Wagner. Among other things, he also wrote the music for the propaganda film Yesterday and Today by Hans Steinhoff, made by the NSDAP in 1938 .

However, Peter Kreuder became well-known beyond Germany for his numerous catchy hits. His hit music remained unsurpassed in the response ! Music! Music! (better known under the first line of his refrain “I don't need millions”), which reflects the attitude towards life of a neglected generation. The melody of this hit was even used as the theme song for the Muppet Show over 35 years later . Numerous elements of jazz and the sound of big band flowed into the light music produced during the war for the moral armament of the troupe , whereby the saxophone, which was actually indexed as “Unarisch”, could be seen in multiple copies in the films.

Peter Kreuder wrote musicals for Zarah Leander ( Lady from Paris and Madame Scandaleuse ) and Johannes Heesters ( Bel Ami ). He wrote songs, among others for Greta Keller "When the sun goes down behind the roofs" and "It can between today and tomorrow" ( Doddy Delissen sang the song synchronously for a singer in the Magda-Schneider film Frauenliebe-Frauenleid (1937) , but it became better known later through Greta Keller), or for the film Burgtheater (1936) “Say goodbye quietly when parting” .

At the same time, Peter Kreuder also composed songs such as B. "When they stir the drum" (marching song for voice with piano, text by Jacob Geis, 1936) or the marching song "70 million - a beat" (1937), and after the annexation of Austria with the title "75 million - a beat "(1938).

In 1939 Kreuder traveled to Stockholm . According to K. Prieberg, this happened in breach of contract and with tax debts. The world premiere of his opera Der Zerrissene (Swedish title Lips) took place in Stockholm in 1941 . In 1941 he was able to return but should be "held accountable for his behavior and admonished to discipline". In autumn 1943 he fell out of favor with the Nazi dictatorship because he had refused to hold concerts in the Rhineland, which was stronger than any other party at the time Germany was threatened by bombing attacks. In 1943 the Reich Chamber of Culture also investigated Peter Kreuder because he had gone to Prague without any news. However, since he was still needed as a film composer, he was neither expelled from the Reichsmusikkammer nor sent to the front for “probation”.

At the end of the war, Kreuder was in his house in Altaussee and from May 1945 "until it was blocked by the US occupation authorities in autumn 1945, he was director of the Bad Aussee Symphony Orchestra, which was recruited from the remains of the Reichs-Bruckner Orchestra St. In Altaussee at that time several NS figures, including those from the NS cultural scene, had gathered. Peter Kreuder was in Brazil as early as 1946, where he was paid for by Bayer-Leverkusen to advertise Aspirina. He then lived in Argentina and acquired Argentine citizenship. He worked as the musical director of the radio stations in São Paulo / Rio de Janeiro / Buenos Aires . Three years later Evita Perón made him professor hc and appointed him state music director. In 1954/1955 Kreuder returned to Europe.

Kreuder had already accepted Austrian citizenship in 1945, but kept German.

Even after the war Kreuder had great success, among other things as a pianist with original recordings. During a world tour with Josephine Baker , he visited four continents. His last musical, Lola Montez , premiered in 2003.

When he died, he left behind over 4,000 musical works, operas, operettas and musicals.

Kreuder's grave

Kreuder is buried in Munich's Ostfriedhof (grave no. 55-19-2).

Personal life and trivia

Kreuder was friends with Marlene Dietrich . He was married three times, most recently to Ingrid Kreuder, who takes care of his estate. From his first marriage Kreuder had a daughter, Cathleen, who was born disabled ( blue baby syndrome ) and died less than a year old. Kreuder's second wife Gertraud comes from the Kathreiner dynasty and was friends with the wife of Gauleiter Wagner.

Kreuder's schoolmate was the later restaurateur, husband of Magda Schneider and Romy Schneider's stepfather , Hans Herbert Blatzheim .


Works (selection)

Kreuder composed and arranged the music for 188 films as well as eleven musicals, one opera, five operettas and six symphonic works.


  • Bel ami (after Theo Mackeben )
  • Lady from Paris
  • Madame Scandaleuse
  • Wedding Mary
  • Lola Montez
  • Lips (also Der Zerrissene , music theater, in Swedish, premiere: Royal Opera Stockholm 1941)


  • Music, music, music (I don't need millions) (Text by Hans Fritz Beckmann ) (from the revue film Hallo Janine , 1939)
  • I wish I were a chicken (text by Hans Fritz Beckmann) (from the film Glückskinder, 1936)
  • When the sun sinks behind the roofs
  • When you say goodbye, say “Servus” (text Harry Hilm ); See also section under Winged Words . (Motif by Johann Strauss (son) from the operetta Blinde Kuh )
  • It can be between today and tomorrow (text by Hans Fritz Beckmann)
  • Song cycle time and eternity based on poems by Christian Morgenstern


As a film composer

As a performer

  • Mabel and her suitors (1922) - Vera-Filmwerke
  • Heinrich Heine's first love (1922) - Vera-Filmwerke
  • Mazurka (1935, "Je sens en moi", "Mazurka", "Just one hour" * A woman like you, 1933)
  • Opera Ball (1939)
  • Romans (1940)
  • Schlager Parade (1953)
  • Rechtstreekse uitzending vanuit het Radio- en TV-salon te Antwerpen (1959, television)
  • Episode dated February 28, 1961 (1961) television episode
  • A life like in paradise (1961, on Sunday my sweetie wants to go sailing with me) * Ontdek de ster (1 episode, 1961)
  • Meeting point Telebar (1 episode, 1961)
  • Music album (1 episode, 1967)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Kutsch / Riemens: Large song dictionary . Unchanged edition., KG Saur , Bern, 1993, third volume supplementary volume, p. 543, ISBN 3-907820-70-3 (3 volumes)
  2. Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , Kiel 2004, p. 3972.
  3. ^ Ernst Klee : "Cultural encyclopedia on the Third Reich, who was what before and after 1945", Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, 2009, p. 307
  4. Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , Kiel 2004, pp. 3972 and 3974.
  5. Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , Kiel 2004, pp. 3972 and 3973.
  6. Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , Kiel 2004, p. 3974.
  7. Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , CD-Rom-Lexikon, Kiel 2004, p. 3974.
  8. Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , Kiel 2004, p. 3972.
  9. See Michael H. Kater: Daring game. Jazz in National Socialism , p. 340
  10. Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , Kiel 2004, p. 3971.
  11. CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM SEPT 22, 93, The Last Days of Ernst Kaltenbrunner. , Peter Kreuder mentioned in the middle of the text
  12. Fred K. Prieberg .: Handbook. P. 4260 .
  13. a b c d Kreuder, Peter. In: Austrian Music Lexicon online. Retrieved February 3, 2018 .
  14. Schwabing Art Prize. In: Website of the City of Munich. Retrieved February 3, 2018 .
  15. Manfred Kreckel:  Kreuder, Peter. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 13, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-428-00194-X , p. 22 f. ( Digitized version ).
  16. Autograph Saxon State Archives Leipzig .
  17. ^ The Internet Movie Data Base