Death of a leading German composer, 77

Death of a leading German composer, 77


norman lebrecht

February 05, 2020

The eminent composer Volker David Kirchner died yesterday in Wiesbaden after a short illness, his publisher announced.

Kirchner, based mostly in Mainz, wrote 16 operas on commission from various German houses. Belshazzar (1985), for Munich, got the most limelight, followed by Gilgamesh, which showed at Expo 2000 in Hannover.

His concert music was taken up by Yo Yo Ma, Lars Vogt and others. An accomplished violinist and former orchestra player, his music was always thoughtful and well made.


  • martin says:

    “Belshazzar (1985), for Munich, got the most limelight”
    Where do you get such information? or do you make it up yourself? – I was there, it was a disaster, got heavily bood, had only a few perfromances and was never seen again. There are many other stage works by Kircher, that have been more successful, namely Die Trauung (1975), Die fünf Minuten des Isaak Babel (1980) and Das kalte Herz (1981)

  • John Borstlap says:

    Rather traditionalist music and indeed well-made, with beautiful and expressive moments, but it tries to make sure listeners do realize how awful life is.

    • We privatize your value says:

      You should listen to his amazing concert mass “Missa Moguntina”, and to his Requiem. Both issued on CD in the 90s. Other German composers have tried their hand at this kind of work since Brahms (or, for that matter, Beethoven) – Reger, Wilhelm Petersen (the composer, not the Nazi painter), Schnebel – but Kirchner nailed it for the 20th century.

      • John Borstlap says:

        You may be right, I’ll listen to those pieces. I was indeed quite amazed & impressed by Kirchner’s courage to defy atonal modernism, really exceptional in Germany.