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Hugo Kauder

Hugo Kauder was born on 8 June 1888 in Tovacov (Austria-Hungary, now: Czech Republic). His father was a teacher and so he was surely introduced to music from an early age, but Hugo Kauder never received professional musical education for a longer period of time and so is considered as a self-taught composer. In 1905 Hugo Kauder moved to Vienna to study engineering at the university, but he mainly used the time for researching in the library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. It is known that Hugo Kauder transcribed many scores by Franco-Flemish composer like Josquin Desprez which affected his own compositions later.

Without any completed study Kauder nevertheless connected well to the classical music scene in Vienna and made a living with it: He became friend with composers like Karl Weigl or Egon Lustgarten and played viola in the Gottesmann Quartet or was part of the ensemble of the Society for Private Musical Performances of Arnold Schoenberg. Hugo Kauder also wrote articles for the musical journal "Musikblätter des Anbruch" and gave private lessons to upcoming musicians like Hanns Schimmerling, Eric Zeisl or Julius Chajes. He also wrote his own compositions which were very successful. His "Phantasy for violin and orchestra" was premiered by Hugo Gottesmann and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under George Szell in 1920. His first symphony - dedicated to Alma Mahler - was premiered by Leonard Reichwein in 1924 and Alexander Zemlinsky conducted his violin concerto in 1926. Several of his string quartets were performed by renowned ensembles like the Rose Quartet or the Gottesmann Quartet. In 1928 Hugo Kauder founded his own choir (and named after himself) for which he composed works. In 1932 finally Hugo Kauder published a book on his own music theory, „Entwurf einer neuen Melodie- und Harmonielehre“.

With the rise of the Nazis times got harder for the Jew Hugo Kauder in Vienna and after the Kristallnacht in 1938 he had to flee the country. He finally arrived in the USA in February 1940 and settled in New York. There he worked as a teacher at the music school of Hermann Grab. He also continued to write and published a book on counterpoint in 1960.
Hugo Kauder died on 22 July 1972 in Bussum (Netherlands).


Hugo Kauder composed 5 symphonies, concertos for violin, viola, piano, horn, oboe, a double concerto for violin and viola, much chamber music, among them 19 string quartets, several songs and much choral music.

In my possession are two autograph manuscripts of works by Hugo Kauder:


1) The fair copy of the song "Het Lichtfeest" for voice and piano. This short song is part of the "Twaalf gedichten" (Twelve poems), a song cycle on poems by Albert Verwey. My manuscript is dated at the end "5.10.35", but the complete cycle was published not before 1939.


2) The piano reduction of the first movement of the Symphony No.1. The first symphony was composed in 1921 and is dedicated to Alma Mahler. The work was premiered on 14 September 1924 at the "Theater and Music Festival of Vienna", an event organised by David Josef Bach.

The piano reduction shows no dynamics and articulation, so it is likely that this manuscript is a working copy. The first symphony was never published in piano reduction (nor in full score) and I don't know of other manuscripts of the piano reduction.



In addition I also own a self-published score of the "Vier Lieder" for voice and piano published in 1928.

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