Hugo Wolf

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Wolf, Hugo

(ho͞o`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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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wolf, Hugo


Born Mar. 13, 1860, in Windischgraz (Slovenjgradec, Yugoslavia); died Feb. 22, 1903, in Vienna. Austrian composer and music critic.

Wolf studied at the Vienna Conservatory (1875-77). He collaborated on the weekly Wiener Salonblatt, in the pages of which he was very critical of J. Brahms. As a result there was prejudice towards Wolf in Vienna as a composer. His first mature works—songs for voice and piano based on poems by E. Morike, J. Eichendorff, and J. W. Goethe— were composed in 1888. In these pieces, following the example of R. Schumann and R. Wagner, Wolf strove to attain an organic fusion of music and words, along with a detailed psychological revelation of the text. Basing his work on speech intonations, the composer wrote a number of songs which are perceived as dramatic scenes. During the 1890’s, together with songs (based on words by G. Keller and Michelangelo; Spanish Songbook and Italian Songbook) Wolf turned to the genre of comic opera, dealing with everyday events (Der Corregidor, composed in 1895), and music drama (Manuel Venegas, composed in 1897, unfinished). He also wrote symphonic works (the poem Penthesilea, 1885; the Italian Serenade for small orchestra, 1892), a string quartet (1884), and a number of literary works. In 1898, Wolf was placed in a clinic for the mentally ill, where he later died.


Rolland, R. Muzykanty nashikh dnei. Moscow, 1938.
Vul’fius, P. “Gugo Vol’f.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1960, no. 4.
Vul’fius, P. Gugo Vol’f i ego “Stikhotvoreniia ekhendorfa.” Moscow, 1970.
Decsey, E. Hugo Wolf, vols. 1-4. Leipzig-Berlin, 1903-06.
Walker, F. Hugo Wolf. London [1968].
Hugo Wolf: Personlichkeit und Werk: Ausstellung zum 100. Geburtstag. Vienna, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Her monograph Hugo Wolf Skizzen und Fragmente: Untersuchungen zur Arbeitsweise (Hildesheim: Olms, 2002), which is based on her dissertation, disproves the myth that Wolf composed in fits of inspiration--a notion that originated with Wolf's friends and supporters.
The setting by Schubert is lovely, but the one by Hugo Wolf (composed in October 1889) far surpasses it for drama and eroticism.
There were two world premieres by Schmidt, Djembe and The American Quartet, while two other Schmidt works, Scenes from an Italian Songbook, to lieder by Hugo Wolf, and The Sleep of Reason, received their first Grand Rapids performances.
Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, and Hugo Wolf together form German art song's Holy Trinity.
Harrison's discussion of Wolf's 'An den Schlaf', which is primarily a demonstration of 'linking analysis' as defined above, is eloquently dismissive of Deborah Stein's reading (in Hugo Wolf's Lieder and Extensions of Tonality, Ann Arbor, 1985), in which 'the tortured labeling of beautiful and eminently coherent harmonic structures ultimately keeps Stein from shaking off that initial indecision, puzzlement, and tentativeness that greets every analyst of a complex composition.
Their Summer Serenade will feature the 'Quartet for Strings and Piano' by Ludwig van Beethoven and string quartets by Ernst Krenek, Hugo Wolf and Franz Schubert.
The German Lied After Hugo Wolf: From Hans Pfitzner to Anton Webern
His last public performance was in 2003 for the celebration of the death centennial of Hugo Wolf. He has directed operatic productions, conducted choirs, and given solo recitals in the United States, eight foreign countries, and on National Public Radio series, The Art of Song.
The disc's repertoire is imbued with a special tone by Hugo Wolf's songs, with Max Reger's organ part.
Ein Lebenswerk liegt vor: Jahrzehntelang hat die deutsche Musikwissenschaftlerin Margret Jestremski an einem Werkverzeichnis des Komponisten Hugo Wolf gearbeitet.