(b Darmstadt, 2 April 1909; d Stahnsdorf, nr Berlin, 2 March 1975). German composer. Between the ages of six and 16 he studied at the Spangenberg Conservatory, Wiesbaden. He was subsequently (1926–41) employed as a violinist, viola player, répétiteur and Kapellmeister in several German cities. His first attempts at composition (from 1935) were occasional works that fulfilled specific practical demands. After military service and internment in the USSR (1942–8), he settled in Berlin, where he held various posts (consultant on choral music, chief conductor, deputy departmental head) at Berlin Radio (East), East German radio and East German television. From 1954 he dedicated himself exclusively to composition. He became a member of the DDR Academy of Arts in 1970.
Central to Forest’s oeuvre are stage works designed to provoke moral confrontations with 20th-century historical topics such as fascism, war, and the explosion of the atomic bomb. In the 1960s he steadily reduced the size of his instrumental forces and derived all melodic and harmonic constellations from a single musical cell (although this sometimes took the form of a 12-note series, he did not adopt strictly serial procedures). The main features of his style are episodic forms, a vigorous and unadorned musicality, captivating orchestral effects and instrumental works on programmatic ideas.
Ops: Der arme Konrad (after F. Wolf), 1957, Berlin, 1959; Tai Yang erwacht (after Wolf), 1959, Halberstadt, 1960; Wie Tiere des Waldes (after Wolf), 1963, Stralsund, 1964; Die Passion des Johannes Hörder (after J.R. Becher), 1965, Stralsund, 1965; Die Blumen von Hiroshima (after E. Morris), 1966, Weimar, 1967; Die Odyssee der Kiu (after Nguyen Dun), 1969, Erfurt, 3 May 1969; Eine Fahne hab’ ich zerrissen (after B. Brecht: Die Gewehre der Frau Carrar), 1971; Die Hamlet-Saga (opéra concertant, F. de Belleforest: Histoires tragiques, Saxo Grammaticus: Historica danica and W. Shakespeare), Berlin, 1973; Sisyphos und Polyander (after V. Ivanov), 1974; Tage ohne Krieg (after K. Simonov), 1974, unfinished
Ballets: Sadako, perf. 1964; Romeo und Julia und die Finsternis (TV ballet), 1967 [2 stage versions: 1, perf. Zittau, 1967; 2, perf. Erfurt, 1969]; Frühling an der Seine, 1971
Orch: Habanera Cubana, 1934, rev. 1954, rev. 1962; Indiana-Rhapsodie, 1952; Spartakus, sym. portrait, 1954; Thüringisches Konzert ‘Den Kämpfern von Buchenwald’, hn, orch, 1958; Patria ardua Patria pulchra, 10 chbr concs., 1968; Va Conc. no.1, 1970; Va Conc. no.2 ‘Metamorphosen einer Reihe von Arnold Schönberg’, 1970; Va Conc. no.3 ‘Ein Vierteljahrhundert’ (K. Stitzer, E. Weinert), va, S, Mez, Bar, children’s chorus, youth chorus, orch, 1971
Vocal: November-Kantate (W. Dehmel), 1948; Kantate auf Stalin (Kuba), 1949; Ein Mensch wächst auf in Lenins grossem Haus, 1952; Karl Marx hat gelebt und gelehrt (Kuba), 1953; Die Songs des Tran Dang Khoa, 1v, vn, 1972; Charilaos, oder Die Tugend des Schwertes (offertorio profano, after P. Wiens), 1974; see also Orch [Va Conc. no.3, 1971]; c250 lieder, sacred songs and chanson
Chbr and solo inst: Tor und Tod, fantasias, vn, 1962; Aus Lenins neuer Welt, 6 str qts, 1969; Serenata de Chile, vn pic, vn, vc, 1972; Für Pablo Casals, vc, 1973; Für Pablo Picasso, pf, 1973
H.-G.Otto: ‘Dem Opernkomponisten Jean Kurt Forest zum 60’, MG, xix (1969), 232–6
M.Hansen: ‘Jean Kurt Forest’, Musiker in unserer Zeit: Mitglieder der Sektion Musik der Akademie der Künste der DDR, ed. D. Brennecke, H. Gerlach and M. Hansen (Leipzig, 1979), 217–25, 351–3
K.Klingbeil: ‘Streben nach aktivierender Kunst: zum 80. Geburtstag von J.K. Forest’, MG, xxxix (1989), 215–16
Forest Gate College of Music.
London conservatory founded in 1885 and amalgamated with the London Academy of Music in 1904. See London, §VII, 3.
(fl c1500–35). French composer. Lowinsky suggested he was the same person as Mathurin Dubuysson, a singer in the Ste Chapelle, Paris, between 1489 and 1513. If Forestier was close in age to the composers whose sacred music appears with his in manuscripts from the Netherlandish court scriptorium, he was probably born around 1470 and may have died as late as the 1530s. These works (all ed. in CMM, civ, 1996) include three Masses (Missa ‘Intemerata virgo’, 4vv, on the third and fourth sections of Josquin’s Vultum tuum; Missa ‘Baises moy’, 5vv, on Josquin’s chanson; and Missa ‘L’homme armé’, 5vv, also attributed to Mouton) and two motets on sequence texts (Alma chorus domini, 4vv; and Veni Sancte Spiritus, 6vv, also attributed to Josquin) which reveal a fondness for canonic textures reminiscent of Josquin and Mouton, most remarkably in the final section of the Missa ‘L‘homme armé’, a canon for seven voices out of one on the well-known melody.
Three four-voice chansons in a more modern style (L‘aultre jour en ung jardin in 153813, and Frere Bidault and O cruaulté qui m’as mis in 15417) appear in sources later than any of the Mass manuscripts and may therefore have been written by a different man, especially since no first name is given for their author. Similarly, the earlier, untexted, three-voice setting of La hault d’alemaigne in 15043, attributed simply to ‘Mathurin’, may be by yet someone else, though no other composers of either name are currently known.
P.Kast: ‘Studien zu den Messen des Jean Mouton’ (diss., U. of Frankfurt, 1955)
E.E. Lowinsky: The Medici Codex of 1518, MRM, iii–v (Chicago, 1968)
N.S.Josephson: ‘Kanon und Parodie: zu einigen Josquin-Nachahmungen’, TVNM, xxv (1975), 23–32
T.G. MacCracken: The Manuscript Uppsala, Universitetsbibliotheket, Vokalmusik i handskrift 76b (diss. U. of Chicago, 1985)