"The Sad Story of Marcel Tyberg"
MUSIC: Tyberg: excerpt from second movement of Symphony No. 3 in D Minor performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta [Naxos 8.572236, track 2] [under the following]
Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your
guide, Fred Flaxman. Stay with me for the next hour and you’ll hear the
“Sad Story of Marcel Tyberg” along with some of his finest music.
MUSIC: Fades out
I doubt if you’ve heard of Marcel Tyberg before, even if you are very
familiar with classical music. I know I never heard of him until Naxos
put out a compact disc devoted entirely to two of his compositions.
I’ll play a good deal of this very impressive CD for you in a moment,
but first let me tell you about this unknown composer.
Marcel Tyberg was born in 1893 in Vienna, Austria. He was an
accomplished composer, conductor and pianist. Notable conductors such
as Rafael Kubelik premiered his pieces at venues in Prague and Italy.
He composed symphonies on the scale of Mahler and popular dance music
under the pseudonym of Till Bergmar.
His father, Marcell Tyberg, Senior, who was born in Poland, was a
prominent violinist. His mother was a pianist and colleague of Arthur
In 1916, during World War I, the Tybergs moved from the crumbling
Austrian Empire to the little resort town of Abbazia in what was then
Italy. For a living Tyberg played the organ in local churches, taught
harmony, and composed dance music, including rumbas, tangos, and
waltzes. He also performed as a pianist and conductor.
A friend of his wrote that Tyberg lived contentedly in “indescribable
poverty.” He was reluctant to publish his compositions, refusing
several offers. He seemed to have no interest in fame or earthly
During World War II, the Germans took over that part of Italy in
anticipation of an Italian surrender to the U.S. and its allies. They
imposed Nazi laws pertaining to the Jews in German-controlled
territories. Tyberg’s father had died in 1927 and his mother died
eleven days before he completed his final work, the Third Symphony,
which we’ll listen to next.
On Sept. 14, 1943, the German government took control of Abbazia, along
with the special censuses of Jews taken by local authorities. During
such a census in 1939, Tyberg and his mother declared that they were
religiously Catholic but, because Mrs. Tyberg’s great-grandfather was
Jewish, racially Jewish. SO the Italian fascists basically handed over
Marcel Tyberg’s death warrant to the German government in 1943.
Knowing this, and in anticipation of his capture and possible
deportation, Tyberg entrusted all of his compositions and personal
writings to his friend Dr. Milan Mihich. In addition, he gave Dr.
Mihich a document authorizing him to take any action deemed desirable
to preserve his music. Shortly afterwards the Gestapo captured Tyberg
in a night raid and he was sent to the extermination camps first at San
Sabba, then at Auschwitz, where he was killed on December 31, 1944,
according to Nazi records.
In 1945, following the end of World War II and the occupation of that
area of Italy by Communist Yugoslavia, Dr. Mihich and his family fled
to Milan along with the entirety of Tyberg’s compositions. When he died
in 1948, his son, Enrico Mihich, a former harmony student of Tyberg’s
who was then a medical student at the University of Milan, inherited
Tyberg’s catalog of music. Dr. Enrico Mihich later came to Buffalo, New
York, and became a member of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Dr.
Mihich to this day keeps Tyberg’s music safely secured in his Buffalo
After nearly 50 years of ineffective attemps to have the Buffalo
Philharmonic conductors premiere the treasure trove of Tyberg works and
an aborted collaboration with Rafael Kubelik in the late 1980s, Dr.
Mihich finally found the partner he sought in conductor JoAnn Falletta.
Now that you’ve heard the “Sad Story of Marcel Tyberg,” let’s listen
together as JoAnn Falletta conducts the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
in this Naxos recording of Marcel Tyberg’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor.
MUSIC: Tyberg: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta [Naxos 8.572236, tracks 1-4] [36:49]
Marcel Tyberg’s Symphony No. 3. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by JoAnn Falletta in this 2010 compact recording from Naxos.
You are listening to “The Sad Story of Marcel Tyberg” on Compact Discoveries. I’m you guide, Fred Flaxman.
[optional one-minute break not included in the total timing of the program]
Thanks to Dr. Enrico Mihich and to JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo
Philharmonic Orchestra this sad story has at least a post mortem happy
ending with the recording of two pieces of the Tyberg catalog. The
first work on this Naxos recording introduced us to the Mahler-like
power of a Tyberg symphony.
The second piece introduces us to Tyberg’s chamber music with his Piano Trio in F, written in 1935 and 1936. Like the 1943 Symphony No. 3, Tyberg’s Trio shows no evidence of being a 20th Century composition. It is as romantic a composition as anything by Brahms or Schumann.
We have time to play two of its three movements. The performers are
Michael Ludwig, violin; Roman Mekinulov, cello; and Ya-Fei Chuang,
MUSIC: Tyberg: Piano Trio in F Major performed by Michael Ludwig, violin; Roman Mekinulov, cello; and Ya-Fei Chuang, piano [Naxos 8.572236, tracks 6 and 7]
Two movements from Marcel Tyberg’s Piano Trio in F Major performed by Michael Ludwig, violin; Roman Mekinulov, cello; and Ya-Fei Chuang, piano.
MUSIC: Tyberg: excerpt from the first movement of the Piano Trio in F Major , performed by Michael Ludwig, violin; Roman Mekinulov, cello; and Ya-Fei Chuang, piano [Naxos 8.572236, track 5] [under the following]
And that concludes this hour of Compact Discoveries devoted to “The Sad Story of Marcel Tyberg.” I hope you enjoyed the music as much as I did.
This is Fred Flaxman thanking you for listening, and reminding you to
go to compactdiscoveries.com for complete information on all of these
programs as well as the opportunity to stream them on demand, read
their transcripts, order CDs used in the programs, and enjoy articles
about compact discs.
MUSIC: fades out
ANNOUNCER (Steve Jencks): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Book Publishers and their latest offering, a tongue-in-cheek memoir by Compact Discoveries
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Life of a Public Broadcaster.” Information and ordering at
sixtyslices.com. And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin
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contributions to local public radio stations by listeners like you.
Total Program Timing: 58:00