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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » K » Kalman, Emmerich



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Emmerich Kalman (10/24/1882 - 10/30/1953)

Emmerich Kálmán was born on 24 October 1882 in the Hungarian town of Siofok. His father was a well-to-do businessman but was reduced to bankruptcy during Kálmán’s childhood, an experience which left a lasting mark on young Kálmán’s imagination. The family moved to Budapest, then one of the twin capitals of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and despite his father’s determination that Kálmán should make a career in law it soon became evident that the call of music was too strong to be ignored. Originally Kálmán’s ambition was to be a concert pianist, but this was thwarted by an affliction to his arm-muscles. In Kálmán’s own words “I was as one who had fallen from the clouds, a very serious and very sad young man”. Indeed, according to that great historian of Viennese operetta, Bernard Grun, Kálmán remained that way inclined all his life. “Even at times of his greatest triumphs”, wrote Grun, “the stocky man with the friendly blue eyes generally looked very serious and very sad. Rapture and high spirits were as foreign to his nature as bad manners and uncouthness. The Csardas-cavalier was a sober and careful citizen who did his work, kept his finances in order and quietly went on his way.”

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