Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy Birthday, Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)

Hugo Wolf
Wolf played the violin, piano and organ as a child and studied briefly at the Vienna Conservatory from 1875 to 1877 where he met his idol Richard Wagner. He wrote musical criticism for the Wiener Salonblatt, taking sides with Wagner and Anton Bruckner against Johannes Brahms. It was difficult for Wolf to get his compositions performed during this period due to his printed views. Wolf was broke most of his life and at times had to make due with one meal a day. His bad temper made it difficult to keep students. He was said to be small, of mean build, thin and undernourished.  

Christopher Herbert sings Wunden trägst du, mein Geliebter:

 In 1888, Wolf was living in a friend's villa in Perchtoldsdorf near Vienna where he had a period of intense creativeness. He wrote many songs with texts by Goethe, Eduard Mörike, Eichendorff, and other German poets. He also used foreign lyrics in translation. He continued and extended the lied tradition of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann, but he was original in his conception of the songbook as the larger dramatic form. His later life was clouded by illness, depression and final insanity. Wolf becoming manic-depressive and was sent to a lunatic asylum, mad at the age of 43.

Piotr Prochera sings Gebet:

A number of baritones have successfully recorded his Mörike lieder, including Olaf Baer, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Thomas Allen and Hans Hotter. 

Wolf wrote numerous songs for baritone including Der Musikant; Nachtzauber; Verschwiegene Liebe; Das Standchen; Prometheus; Wachterlied auf der Wartburg; Biterolf; Benedeit die sel'ge Mutter; Nun lass und Frieden schliessen; Der Mond hat eine schwere Klag'; Auf dem grunen Balkon; Koniglich Gebet; Der Rattenfanger; Genialisch Treiben; Heimweh; Grenzen der Menschheit; Cophtisches Lied II; Cophtisches Lied I; Harfenspieler I; Seemanns Abschied; Der verzweifelte Liebhaber; Anakreons Grab; Abschied; Lied eines Verliebten; Gesang Weylas; Der Jager; An die Geliebte; Gebet; Seufzer; Verborgenheit; Der Genesene an die Hoffnung; Der Tambour; Fussreise; Der Freund.

Gérard Souzay sings "Gesang Weylas"

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