Benatzky, Ralph


Benatzky, Ralph (June 5, 1884 – October 16, 1957)

Ralph Benatzky – his real name - Rudolf Josef Frantisek Benatzky, Austrian composer of Czech descent, was born in the family of a German language school teacher and in 1890 moved with his parents to Vienna.

In 1899 he entered the military school, rose to the rank of the lieutenant, but then resigned. Benatzky studied German and literature, philosophy and music in Prague and Vienna. In 1910 he received his doctorate in philosophy. At the same time, he expanded his musical education, in particular, under the direction of Dvorak, and soon decided to devote himself completely to music.

He started as a composer. In 1910 he became the conductor of a theater in Munich. His first success Benatzky reached in 1912 as artistic director of Cabaret “Bonbonner” in Munich and in 1914 as co-director of the “Colorful Stage Rideamus” in Vienna. His work at that time - frivolous songs and texts for cabaret, plays and operettas. With the operetta "Love in the Snow" at the theater in Vienna, he celebrated his first major success in 1916.

Benatzky skillfully combined the musical techniques of the previous years with the new jazz sounds of the 1920s, as well as folklore sounding with modern dance rhythms and, thus, achieved world recognition - his productions were staged in London and Vienna (1931), Paris (1932) and New York (1936).

Ralph Benatzky is the author of more than 5000 songs. In addition, he composed music for films, radio programs and theatrical productions. In the history of music came, first of all, as the author of operettas, including such as "Casanova" (1928), "Three Musketeers" (1929), "Under the White Horse" (1930), "The Luxurious Girl" (1933) and "Axel at the Paradise Gates" (1936).

In June 1938, he left Switzerland and went to Hollywood, where he had previously signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but the cooperation did not last long. After he was refused Swiss citizenship, he emigrated to the United States in 1940, where he conducted his radio broadcast. He also dealt with translations, for example, his authorship includes translation of William Somerset Maugham's memoirs, sometimes he took part in concert performances and tours.

In 1948, Benatzky settled in Zurich. In 1953, his autobiographical novel “In Dur and Minor” was written.

After his death, his property is stored and managed by the Archives of the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. In 1962, a street in Vienna was named in his honor.