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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Wednesday, July 29

Gene Gutche

Synopsis

On today's date in 1962, the Symphony No. 5 for strings, by the German-born American composer Gene Gutchë, received its premiere performance at Chatauqua, New York.

Romeo Maximilian Eugene Ludwig Gutchë was born in Berlin in 1907. His father, a well-to-do European businessman, was not amused by the notion of his son "wasting" his time on music, even though the famous Berlin-based composer-pianist Ferrucio Busoni confirmed the young man's talent. So "Gene" Gutchë ran away from home, abandoning any hope of a sizeable inheritance in the process, and came to America.

He studied at the Universities of Minnesota and Iowa, and, in 1950, at age 43 produced his first symphony. Gutchë would go on to compose six symphonies in all, plus an hour-long symphonic work for chorus and orchestra titled "Akhenaten," premiered by Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony in 1983. For most of his life, despite fellowships and commissions, Gutchë lived modestly with his wife, Marion, in a cottage in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

"I like to think in each of us a greatness resides," wrote Gutchë. "Music is a reflection of what we are. Every artist is compelled to egomania—a delusion of grandeur—which hypnotizes him to express his ideas in the grand manner."

Gutchë died in the fall of 2001—one year after this Cincinnati Symphony recording of his Fifth Symphony was reissued on compact disc.

Music Played in Today's Program

Gene Gutchë (1907 - 2001) Symphony No. 5, Op. 34 Cincinnati Symphony; Max Rudolf, cond. CRI 825

Additional Information

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