The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview
1.
The Hellmesbergers were one of Vienna's most distinguished musical families. Their prominence began with Georg Hellmesberger ( 1800-1873). violinist, a student at the Conservatory and subsequently professor of violin there. Among his pupils were Joseph Joachim and Leopold Auer. He was also the teacher of his two sons. Georg ( 1830-1852) and Joseph ( 1828‐ 1893). The latter was the founder, in 1849, of the Hellmesberger Quartet. His son. Joseph ( 1850-1907) played second violin in the quartet after 1875, and became its leader in 1887. A younger son, Ferdinand ( 1863-1940) became the quartet's cellist in 1883. All were active as soloists, teachers, conductors and composers in addition to their work with the quartet.
2.
Carl Gold mark ( 1530- 1915), now remembered as the composer of the "Sakuntala" Overture and the opera The Queen of Sheba. This quintet, in B flat, was his Opus 30.
3.
Franz Zottmann ( 1858- ? ). Viennese pianist and professor of piano at the Conservatory.
4.
Hans Freiherr Von Rokitansky ( 1836-1896), a Vienna-born bass who was a member of the company for just short of thirty years ( 1861-1893). Hagen was reckoned his finest role.
5.
Benedict Felix ( 1860-1912). a Hungarian bass, had just joined the company in 1883.

8. Wilhelm Gericke and the
"Missa Solemnis"

March 9, 1884

March 4 was celebrated in the Grosser M usikvereinssaal in festive and solemn fashion with the " Missa Solemnis." To recapitulate Beethoven's colossal utterance in this work in mere words would be a vain endeavor. Exaltation. release, remorse, redemption what do these words signify other than an attempt to provide the sensory perceptive faculty, insofar as possible, with an image appropriate to these concepts? But what can work upon our sensory perceptive faculties more tellingly than music? Whoever heard Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis," whoever felt it and understood it, was exalted, released, crushed, redeemed. It is the world religion, built upon the ritual text of Christianity and preached to redemption-hungry mortals. One whose faith in a divinity is as rock-firm as Beethoven's, as he trumpets his mighty credo into the world. stands exalted above all that is common, false, hypocritical in this earthly existence.

To have presented us with this gigantic work is the achievement of Hofkapellmeister Gericke. 1 and it cannot be acknowledged adequately. We have here an excellent example of how it is that outstanding accomplishment is not only a matter of talent alone, but may also he due to the circumstances that permit one to find and devote oneself to the field most propitious to his endowment and insight. One can, for example, be an excellent opera composer and yet write insignificant symphonies, vide L. Spohr. The symphony

-20-

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