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Felix von Weingartner, ca. 1890

Paul Felix von Weingartner, Edler[1] von Münzberg (2 June 1863 – 7 May 1942) was an Austrian conductor, composer and pianist.

Contents

Biography

Weingartner was born in Zara, Dalmatia, Austria–Hungary (now Zadar, Croatia), to Austrian parents, and the family moved to Graz in 1868. His father died that same year. He studied with Wilhelm Mayer (who used the pseudonym of W. A. Rémy and also taught Ferruccio Busoni) and in 1881 went to Leipzig to study philosophy, but soon devoted himself entirely to music, entering the Conservatory in 1883 and also studying under Franz Liszt in Weimar: he was among Liszt's later pupils. Liszt helped produce Weingartner's opera Sakuntala for its world premiere in 1884 with the Weimar orchestra. According to the Liszt biographer Alan Walker, the Weimar orchestra of the 1880s was far from its peak of a few decades earlier—and the opera performance ended with orchestra going one way and chorus another. Walker sources this to Weingartner's autobiography, published in Zürich and Leipzig in 1928-1929. The same year, 1884, he became the director of the Königsberg Opera. From 1885 to 1887 he was Kapellmeister in Danzig, then until 1889 in Hamburg, and until 1891 in Mannheim. From 1891 he was Kapellmeister of the Royal Opera and conductor of symphony concerts in Berlin; he resigned from the Opera, though continuing to conduct the Symphony concerts, and settled in Munich, where he incurred the enmity of Rudolf Louis and Ludwig Thuille.

In 1902, at the Festival of Mainz, Weingartner conducted the complete symphonies of Beethoven. From 1908 to 1911 he was the principal conductor of the Vienna Hofoper succeeding Gustav Mahler; he retained the conductorship of the Vienna Philharmonic until 1927. From 1912 he was again Kapellmeister in Hamburg, but resigned in 1914 and went to Darmstadt as general music director. In 1919-20 he was conductor of the Vienna Volksoper. In 1920 he was Professor of the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. From 1927 to 1934 he was music director of the Sinfonieorchester Basel. He gave his last concert in London in 1940 and died in Winterthur, Switzerland two years later.

As a conductor, Weingartner was the first to make commercial recordings of all nine Beethoven symphonies. In 1935 he conducted the world premiere of Georges Bizet's Symphony in C.

Among his students as a conductor were Paul Sacher, Georg Tintner and Josef Krips.

Weingartner was married five times, to Marie Juillerat (in 1891), Baroness Feodora von Dreifus (1903), the mezzo-soprano Lucille Marcel (1912; she died in 1921), the actress Roxo Betty Kalisch (1922), and Carmen Studer (1931).

Composer and editor

Despite his lifelong career as a conductor, Weingartner regarded himself as equally, if not more importantly, a composer. Besides numerous other operas, Weingartner wrote seven symphonies which are being recorded, with his other orchestral music, by cpo - classic production osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany, a sinfonietta, violin concerto, cello concerto, orchestral works, at least four string quartets, quintets for strings and for piano with clarinet and other pieces including a great many lieder for voice and piano, one of which, "Liebesfeier" (text: Lenau) achieved a status as his most famous short work, in effect a "hit". Weingartner's choice of verse for his songs mirrors that of his contemporary composers: Max Reger, Joseph Marx, Richard Trunk and Richard Strauss.

His musical style, notably very generous, indeed rather valuable in its rather Schubertian melodic interest, is of its time: an amalgam of late Romanticism and early Modernism, comparable with those of his contemporaries Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Franz Schreker and Alexander von Zemlinsky. His idiom left some marks on Erich Wolfgang Korngold, whose precocious Sinfonietta is dedicated to Weingartner, who conducted its first performance. His Third Symphony was intended both as a message of love to Lucille Marcel and a reply to the many critical attacks on him in Vienna; the finale reaches a climax in a parody of the waltz from Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus. Similarly, he managed to finish his Fifth Symphony in time for Roxo Betty's birthday, a trend in romantic attachment which may attract at least passing notice, for he was thus a very dedicated bridegroom in his deployment of manuscript paper.

Weingartner edited the complete works of Hector Berlioz (he once called Berlioz the "creator of the modern orchestra") as well as the operas Joseph by Méhul and Oberon by Weber, and individual works of Gluck, Wagner and others. He also made an orchestral version of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata, and of Bizet's piano piece Variations chromatiques. Before Brian Newbould's more recent work, in 1934, he made a performing version of Schubert's Symphony No. 7 in E major, D. 729, that has received some performances and recordings; he also arranged works by a number of early Romantic masters for orchestral performance.

Writings and interests

Weingartner was early interested in the occult, astrology, and Eastern mysticism, which influenced his personal philosophy and his music to some extent. He was himself a prolific writer who published a poetical drama, Golgotha, in 1908. He wrote copiously on music drama, on conducting, on the symphony since Beethoven, on the symphonies of Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann as well as on art and esoteric subjects. Two collections of essays were Musikalische Walpurgisnacht (1907) and Akkorde (1912). He also published an autobiography, Lebenserinnerungen in 1923.

Works

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Symphonies

  • Symphony No. 1 in G, Op. 23 (1898)[2]
  • Symphony No. 2 in E-flat, Op. 29 (ded. Dr. Franz. Wüllner)[2]
  • Symphony No. 3 in E, Op. 49 with organ (1908-10)
  • Symphony No. 4 in F, Op. 61
  • Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 71
  • Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, 'in Gedenken des 19. November 1828' (also Tragica. The second movement is based on sketches apparently meant for the scherzo or minuet movement of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, the B minor, D. 759.)
  • Sinfonietta in D major, Op. 83, for string trio and small orchestra[3]
  • Symphony No. 7 in C Choral, Op. 87 (1935–7) (in manuscript?)

Other Orchestral Works

  • Serenade for string orchestra, Op. 6
  • König Lear, symphonic poem after Shakespeare, Op. 20 (1895)
  • Das Gefilde der Seligen (The Elysian Fields), symphonic poem after the painting by Arnold Böcklin, Op. 21 (1897)
  • Violin Concerto in G major, Op. 52 (1912)
  • Lustige Ouvertüre, Op. 53
  • Aus erster Zeit, overture, Op. 56 (published 1914)[3]
  • incidental music to Goethe's Faust, Op. 43 (1908)
  • Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 60[4]
  • incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest, Op. 65
  • Frühling, symphonic poem, Op. 80 (1931)

Choral Music

  • Traumnacht und Sturmmythus for chorus and orchestra, Op. 38
  • Die Auferstehung, Op. 69 (after the ode by Klopstock)

Chamber Works

  • String Quartet No. 1 in D minor, Op. 24 (ded. to the Haliř Quartet)[3][2]
  • String Quartet No. 2 in F minor, Op. 26 (ded. to the Bohemian Quartet)[3][2]
  • Sextet in E minor for piano and string quintet, Op. 33[2]
  • String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 34 (ded. to Frau Feo Weingartner)[3][2]
  • Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello, Op. 40[3]
  • Quintet in G minor for clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano, Op. 50[3]
  • String Quartet No. 4, in D major, Op. 62(63)[4][5]
  • Octet in G major for clarinet, horn, bassoon, string quartet and piano, Op. 73

Operas

  • Sakuntala, Op. 9, 1884
  • Malawika und Agnimitra (after Kalidasa), Op. 10, 1885[3]
  • Genesius, Op. 14, 1892
  • Trilogy Orestes, Op. 30, 1901 (after Aeschylus)[3]
  • Spring Fairy-Play (Weimar, 1908)
  • Kain und Abel, Op. 54, 1914
  • Dame Kobold (after Pedro Calderón de la Barca; the same play inspired a concert overture by Carl Reinecke and an opera by Joachim Raff), Op. 57, 1916
  • Terakoya (Die Dorfschule), Op. 64, 1920
  • Meister Andrea, Op. 66, 1919[3]
  • Der Apostat, Op. 72 (unpublished; libretto by Weingartner, about the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate)

References

  1. ^ Edler was until 1919 a title of nobility in Austria-Hungary and Germany. The female form is Edle.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Felix Weingartner. A Biographical Sketch (contains work list up to Op. 37)". The Musical Times (London; New York: Novello) 45 (735): 292. May 1, 1904. doi:10.2307/905069. OCLC 7700123. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-4666%2819040501%2945%3A735%3C289%3AFWABS%3E2.0.CO%3B2-D. Retrieved 2007-12-14.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Bayern OPAC". http://bvba2.bib-bvb.de/. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  
  4. ^ a b "Library of Congress OPAC". http://catalog.loc.gov. Retrieved 2007-01-07.  
  5. ^ "List of Works in Preparation". Edition Silvertrust. http://www.editionsilvertrust.com/catalogue-works-in-progress.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  

Bibliography

  • Dyment, Christopher; Dyment, Christopher (1976). Felix Weingartner: Recollections & Recordings. Rickmansworth, England: Triad press. ISBN 0902070177.  
  • Holden, Raymond (2005). The Virtuoso Conductors: The Central European Tradition from Wagner to Karajan. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300093268.  
  • Weingartner, Felix (2004). On the Performance of Beethoven's Symphonies and Other Essays. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications. ISBN 0486439666.  
  • Weingartner, Felix; Arthur Bles (1971) [1907]. The Symphony Writers Since Beethoven. London: William Reeves. ISBN 0837143691.  
  • Weingartner, Felix; Wolff, Marguerite (1937). Buffets and Rewards: A Musician's Reminiscences. London: Hutchinson & Co. OCLC 3288646.  

External links

Preceded by
?
Hofkapellmeisters, Berlin Opera
1891-1898
Succeeded by
?

Simple English

File:Felix
Felix von Weingartner, about 1890

Felix von Weingartner (born 2 June 1863; died Winterthur, 7 May 1942) was an Austrian conductor, composer and pianist. He is remembered today mainly as a conductor, but he also composed many works.

Life

Weingartner was born in Zara, Dalmatia, which today is called Zadar in Croatia. His parents were Austrian. They were from a noble family. Felix had the title Edler von Münzberg. The family moved to Graz in 1868. His father died that same year. In 1881 he went to Leipzig to study philosophy, but soon spent all his time on music. He started his studies at the Conservatory in 1883. At the same time he studied with the great composer and pianist Franz Liszt in Weimar. Liszt helped him to get his first opera performed. In the same year, 1884, he became the director of the Königsberg Opera. He got conducting jobs in Danzig, then in Hamburg and in Mannheim. From 1891 he was Kapellmeister of the Royal Opera and conductor of symphony concerts in Berlin. Then he gave up that job and went to live in Munich.

In 1902, at the Festival of Mainz, Weingartner conducted all the symphonies of Beethoven. He was becoming famous in Europe as well as in the USA and in South America. From 1908 to 1911 he was the main conductor of the Vienna Hofoper, following on from Gustav Mahler. He kept the job of conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic until 1927. From 1912 he was again Kapellmeister in Hamburg, but in 1914 he went to Darmstadt. In 1919-20 he was conductor of the Vienna Volksoper. In 1920 he was Professor of the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. From 1927 to 1934 he was conductor of the Sinfonieorchester Basel. He gave his last concert in London in 1940 and died in Winterthur, Switzerland two years later.

Weingartner was married five times.

His reputation

Weingartner thought of himself as a composer just as much as a conductor. However, it is as a conductor that he is remembered today. His compositions are hardly ever played now. He composed in a late-Romantic style, and he was an influence on the composer Erich Korngold. He is best remembered today as one of the great conductors of classical music, who conducted in a precise way without exaggerated effects. He wrote books about music including one about conducting.

References

New Groves Dictionary of Music & Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, 1980. ISBN 1-56159-174-2


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