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Art Competitions at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games:

Mixed Music, Compositions For Solo Or Chorus

Art Competitions at the 1936 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games


Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Exhibition Area Hall VI, Kaiserdamm, Berlin
Date Started: August 1, 1936
Date Finished: August 16, 1936

Gold: GER Paul Höffer
Silver: GER Kurt Thomas
Bronze: GER Harald Genzmer
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There were just eight entries in this event, of which the three German ones were each awarded with a medal. This might seem unsurprising, given that the nine-strong jury contained no less than seven Germans, but it had been decided that their combined vote would be counted as one. While the winner of the CompOsitions for Orchestra, Werner Egk was favored by the Nazi government, the Solo/Chorus victor was Paul Höffer, who had been derisively described as a "Cultural Bolshevist". However, his choral work, Olympischer Schwur (Olympic Oath), might have had an edge with the jury, as the lyrics had been provided by Pierre, Baron de Coubertin, president of the IOC (and himself winner of an Olympic art medal in 1912). It is unknown whether this information was known to the jury at the time.

A novelty in Olympic music contests was that the winning works were performed live during the Olympics. During a concert on 15 August at the Dietrich-Eckart-Bühne (part of the Olympic complex), both Höffer's winning entry and Kurt Thomas' Kantate zur Olympiade 1936 were played by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert had been opened with a version of the Olympic Hymn by Richard Strauss. 20,000 spectators attended the concert.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal Title
1 Paul Höffer 40 Germany GER Gold Olympischer Schwur
2 Kurt Thomas 32 Germany GER Silver Kantate zur Olympiade 1936
3 Harald Genzmer 27 Germany GER Bronze Der Läufer