Wolf, Hugo

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Wolf, Hugo

Hugo Wolf (hōō´gō vôlf), 1860–1903, Austrian composer; studied at the Vienna Conservatory. From 1883 to 1887 he wrote musical criticism for the Vienna Salonblatt. As a composer he first gained attention when his songs began to be published in 1889. Wolf's more than 300 Lieder place him with Schubert and Schumann as a supreme master of that form. He wrote many songs with texts by Goethe, Mörike, Eichendorff, and other German poets, but he also used foreign lyrics in translation, as in his Spanisches Liederbuch (1889) and Italienisches Liederbuch (Part I, 1891; Part II, 1896). Wolf borrowed Wagner's chromatic harmony and symphonic conception of accompaniment, but in his songs he transformed them into his own miniaturistic idiom. He also wrote an opera, Der Corregidor (1896; based on Alarcón's El Sombrero de tres picos), as well as choral works and some chamber music. In 1897 he had a mental breakdown and later at his own request was committed to a state asylum, where he died.

See biographies by E. Newman (1966) and F. Walker (2d. ed. 1968).

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