(b Winterthur, 2 March 1924). Swiss composer. After training in commercial art in Zürich and Basle (1941–4), he pursued musical studies at the Basle Musik-Akademie, where his teachers included Rudolf Moser. He continued his studies at Zürich University (1965–73) with Kurt von Fischer, Paul Müller-Zürich and others, and at the Freiburg Studio für elektronische Musik (1976). From 1969 to 1989 he taught and conducted research in image processing at the Cartographic Institute of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich. Largely removed from fashions and stylistic schools, Furrer-Münch has constructed unique models for each of his works. Compositions written between the early 1960s and 1979 are highly experimental in character, exploring a wide range of musical, linguistic, graphic and multimedia methods, and employing instruments especially designed for these techniques and genres. In Psalmodie (1978–9) typography and graphics function as ‘musico-phonetic directives’. His musical materials extend from noise to quotations (from the music of Dvořák, Schumann, Wieck and others) and clearly delineated tonal areas. He has described his music after 1982 in terms of poetic qualities: comprehensibility, consistency, attention to detail, introversion and reduction to essentials.
Graphic scores and multimedia: bleu rouge, (vv ad lib, orch)/orch, 1975–6; references I, 1975; last nature's requiem, 1976; Dem Licht entlang, dem Schatten entlang (E. Gomringer), 3vv, perc, tape, live elecs, visuals, 1979–80; Trauermusik, parable, 4 perc, pf, tape, film, 1981–2
Other inst: konzept I, org, 1969; intarsia, vc, 1972; Silben, org, 1977; Small + Yellow, cl, orch, 1983–4; Stundenbuch I (Gomringer), org, tape, 1983; L'oiseau en papier – vier Versuche, Ikarus zu begreifen, vc, str, pf, 1984–5; Carioca, 2 vc, 1986–7; Souvenir mis en scène, 2 vc, 1988–9; Forme et mystère, org, 2–4 track tape, 1989; Instants modifiés, va, vc, db, 1989; Momenti unici, t sax, cymbalon, perc, 1989–90; aufgebrochene momente, t sax, cymbals, perc, 1991; Pf Trio, 1991–2; Spiegel in Wachs, fl, b fl, cl, b cl, 1991 [after C. Wieck: Romance variée, op.3]; nicht Zeichen, Wandlung, fl, a fl, amp, 1992; Skizzenbuch, ens, 1992–3; Erwarten im Flachland, vn, 1994; Stundenbuch II, perc, tape, 1994; Wort Jahr Stunde, a fl, vc, pf, 1995–6; adagio, adagio cantabile, vc, 1997–8; Canti velati, fl, vc, 1997–8
Other vocal: Tombeau, female vv ad lib, b rec, 1976; Psalmodie, vv, org, perc, 1978–9; Zeit zu singen, vv, db, perc, 1979; Images sans cadres, vv, cl qt, 1982; i&a, (e.e. cummings), vv, 2 gui, 1987; Tempus somniandi – tempus meditandi, 2 vv, orch, 1988; Gegenbild (G. Keller), 8vv chorus, 1989–90; Sommer, 1v, vn, 2 vc, pf, 1990; … hier auf dieser Strasse, von der sie sagen, dass sie schön sei (P. Celan), 1v, fl, vc, 4 timp, 1993
T.Meyer: ‘Aus dem Notenbuch eines Träumers: der Komponist Franz Furrer-Münch’, Dissonanz, no.37 (1993), 6–9
W.Giesler: Harmonik in der Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts: Tendenzen, Modelle (Celle, 1996)
(b Vienna, 25 April 1926). Austrian composer and viola player. He learned to play the violin and the piano as a child and from 1938 attended the Musisches Gymnasium in Frankfurt, where, among other subjects, he studied composition with Kurt Thomas. After World War II, he enrolled at the Vienna Music Academy, where his teachers included Willi Boskovsky and Joseph Marx. Active as a performer, he played the viola with the Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester (1952–4) and the Munich PO (until 1961) before becoming a full member of the Vienna PO in 1962. He has served as business manager of the Vienna PO (1969–81, 1985–90) and chair of several committees representing players' interests. His many awards include the Grand Decoration for Services to the Austrian Republic (1980).
Employing a particular compositional system has been less important for Fürst than conveying a ‘message’ through whatever musical means seemed appropriate. Stylistic incongruities, therefore, are inherent in his work. For the most part, however, his style is freely tonal, sometimes featuring jazz elements and contemporary performance techniques. Some works explore new performance possibilities: in Togata (1974), for example, string quartet musicians recite Latin texts; in Anti-Konzert (1972), the soloist changes positions during performance.
Stage: Dorian Gray (ballet, 6 scenes, E. Jandl, after O. Wilde), 1963 [excerpts arr. 1980, 1991]
Orch: Sinfonietta, 1957; Bavy-Conc., b cl, vib, str, 1961; Farbspiele, 1964; Orchestron I, str, 1970; Anti-Konzert, cl, orch, jazz ens, 1972; Orchestron III, chbr orch, 1973; Orchestron IV, 1975; Double Conc., va, vc, orch, 1976; Rannoch-Conc., hn, orch, 1978; Cavillo e carillon, orch, 1986; Tango, str, 1989 [arr. str qt, 1990, 12 sax, 1996]; Si-Signale, conc., tpt, orch, 1992–3; 10 other orch works
Vocal: Bitte keine Musik (E. Jandl), SATB, 1964; Het Orgel is een belt (Pan-Optikum), chorus, org, orch, jazz ens, 1978–9, rev. 1990; Bitte keine Musik (Jandl), 1v, str qt, 1981 [arr. Mez, str orch, 1993]; 5 other vocal works
Chbr and solo inst: Beat the Beat, cl, bn, db, perc, 1955; Konzertante Musik, wind qnt, 1957; Seis ventanas, tpt, trbn, va, db, pf, perc, 1958, rev. 1995; Schattenspiele (Wind Qnt no.2), 1959; Sonata, va, pf, 1962; Str Qt, 1963; Dorian's Calling, fl, 1964; Ars bassi, db, pf, 1966; Relazioni, b cl, pf, 1968; Togata, 2 va, 1968; Omedeto, 12 va, 1974; Togata (Lat.), str qt, 1974; Emotionen, va, db, 1976; Bizarre Feste (Wind Qnt no.5), 1978; Wind Qt, fl, cl, hn, bn, 1980; Octet, cl, hn, bn, str, db, 1981; Briefe, 12 vc, 1982; Va Trio, 1982; Oktlibet, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 hn, 2 bn, 1983; Violatüre, va, perc, 1983; Freduale, sax qt, 1987; Marionettenspiel (Wind Qnt no.6), 1987; Ten-Den-Zehn, wind qnt, str qnt, 1990; Jäger tot – Almenrausch, 5 hunting hn, 4 natural hn, 1993; March-Brass, brass qnt, 1993; 2 Konzertetüden, hn, 1996; Fantome, 2 vc, db, 1997; Homenaje de Col Bardolet, gui, 1997; Monte corni, 8 hn, 1997; arrs. J. Strauss; 25 other chbr works
Pf: 2 Inventionen, 1944; Sonata, d, 1947; Sonatina, G, 4 hands, 1949; 5 other pf works
MSS in A-Wn, Institut für Österreichische Musikdokumentation, Vienna
Principal publisher: Doblinger
LZMÖ [incl. fuller list of works]
Musikalische Dokumentation Paul Walter Fürst (Vienna, 1989)
Beiträge zur Österreichischen Musik der Gegenwart: Dokumente zu Leben und Werk zeitgenössischer Komponisten, ed. K. Breitner, L. Theiner and L. Vogel (Tutzing, 1992), 221ff