Ferdinand Rebay (1880–1953) at Heiligenkreuz Abbey

We received this post from Father Roman Nägele (RISM Austria, Heiligenkreuz Abbey):

Ferdinand Rebay (1880 – 1953) was an Austrian composer, pianist, conductor, and piano teacher.

From 1890 to 1894 he was part of the boys' choir at Heiligenkreuz Abbey and received an education in music and voice. He completed his music studies with distinction at the conservatory of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (today the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst).

In 1904 he became the choir director of the Wiener Chorverein and then the Wiener Schubertbund.  As the director of both choirs, he had a very active concert life. A number of his choir works date from this time. In addition, he accompanied famous singers, such as Sophie Capek, Hans Duhan, and Hilde Gold-Hönig, at the piano for various song recitals. Numerous recitals were given in the Wiener Musikverein, Wiener Konzerthaus, and in the Festsaal of the Haus der Industrie, where songs by Rebay also received their first performances.

In 1920, Rebay was appointed professor of piano at the Staatsakademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He continued his compositional activities and wrote two operas, an operetta, oratorios, masses, a piano symphony, many choral works, chamber music for various unusual instrumental combinations with guitar, piano works, solo songs, and children's songs with piano and guitar accompaniment—with words by various poets, or sometimes setting his own texts.

The name Rebay remained known through his works for guitar and the piano arrangements from Korngold's operas Die tote Stadt, Violanta, Der Ring des Polykrates, and operas by Zemlinski, Schrecker, and others.

Unpublished compositions by Rebay were found in the music archive of Heiligenkreuz Abbey, which is in the Vienna Woods in Lower Austria (RISM library siglum: A-HE), beginning in 2014 by the curator P. Roman Nägele OCist. Thanks to the research of Dr. Maria Gellew in Heiligenkreuz Abbey, 841 works were cataloged in the Rebay Catalog of Works (FRWV in RISM). The FRWV can be found online.

Many works can be heard as part of "Composer Portraits" concerts in Heiligenkreuz and Vienna. The International Ferdinand Rebay Academy is also dedicated to his works.

Bergmann Edition in Denmark has published about 100 works to date and will continue this work.

A further portion of Rebay's compositions are housed at the Austrian National Library.

His final resting place is in the Vienna Central Cemetery.


Category: Library collections

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