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Hans Werner Henze
Photo © Richard Haughton
Henze has undoubtedly been one of the most important European composers of the postwar era. From neo classical beginnings (such as his Symphony No 1 of 1947), his music progressed through the rigours of Darmstadt, an angular, highly politicized phase inspired by his disgust of Nazi Germany where he spent his formative years, and his adoption of a communist ideal. His language arrived eventually at a sensuous lyricism, reminiscent perhaps of the relaxed environment of Italy, which had been his home since 1953.