Egon Kornauth

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Willem Mengelberg , Kornauth, Erika Rokyto and Reichskommissar Arthur Seyß -Inquart in the Concertgebouw , April 1941

Egon Kornauth (born May 14, 1891 in Olomouc , Moravia , † October 28, 1959 in Vienna ) was an Austrian composer and conductor .


Egon Kornauth received a wide range of instrumental training as a schoolboy and appeared as a pianist in Olomouc for the first time at the age of 15. In 1909 he moved to Vienna, and began his studies at the Vienna Music Academy (with Robert Fuchs and Franz Schreker ) and at the University of Vienna (including musicology with Guido Adler ). As early as 1910 he undertook a concert tour through the USA, and in 1913 received the State Prize for his Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 3.

In 1915 he received his doctorate with a thesis on "The Thematic Working in Joseph Haydn's string quartets after 1780" Dr. phil. and took private composition lessons from Franz Schmidt . In 1919 he was awarded the Gustav Mahler Foundation and in 1922 the Chamber Music Prize of the State of Salzburg.

In 1926/27 he directed the symphony orchestra in Medan ( Indonesia ) and on his return in 1929 received the City of Vienna Art Prize. From 1933 to 1936 he went on a concert tour of several years through South America and Scandinavia. In the following years he went on concert tours in Europe and received first prize in the competition of the Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft in 1939. In 1940 he became a professor of music theory at the Vienna Music Academy.

In the time of the Third Reich, Kornauth was valued by the rulers because of his popularity and catchy tonal language, but - apart from small concessions such as his membership in the Reichsmusikkammer - he kept his distance without opportunism. B. (probably quite demonstrative) his relationship with his former professor at the University of Vienna, Guido Adler , who was under house arrest as a Jew at the time, and maintained this contact until Adler's death in 1941.

From 1945 he was professor of composition at the Salzburg Music Academy Mozarteum , and in 1946/47 its deputy director.

In 1972 Kornauthgasse in Vienna- Favoriten was named after him.


Although his works were performed many times during his lifetime (he was one of the most frequently performed composers of his time), he was largely forgotten soon after his death. Kornauth was not a musical revolutionary, but rather a musician in the late Romantic tradition, but with an interest in new techniques - comparable to Erich Wolfgang Korngold , who is probably close to him not only alphabetically.

Kornauth's music is always linked to the tonality , but enriches it with rich chromatics and linear vocal lines. In terms of form, too, he remains associated with classical models such as the sonata form (albeit with a dominant developmental part), especially in his chamber music. His music shows lyrical simplicity and closeness to nature, which is also reflected in rather short, concise sentences. In his five orchestral suites there is also Kornauth's tendency to string together autonomous individual movements - this is closer to him than the targeted dynamics of a symphony.

List of works

  • op. 1 Six songs for high voice and piano (1911); of which No. 1 “In secret”, No. 4 “Spring rest” and No. 6 “In der Kirschenblüt '” for voice and small orchestra.
  • op.2 Five Piano Pieces op.2 (1912)
  • op. 3 Sonata for viola (or clarinet) and piano in C sharp minor op. 3 (1912); including No. 2 "Notturno" (Andante) as op. 3b for viola and chamber orchestra (1912)
  • op.4 Piano Sonata in A flat major op.4 (1912)
  • op.5 Clarinet Sonata op.5
  • op. 6 [-]
  • op. 7 orchestral suite no. 1 "From my youth" (also: "Romantic Suite" or "Symphonic Suite No. 1") (1913; rev. 1928)
  • op. 8 Four songs for high voice and piano (1914); also for voice and small orchestra
  • op.9 Sonata for Violin and Piano in E minor (1914)
  • op.10 Fantasy (1915)
  • op.11 Burlesque (1916)
  • op. 12 Eight songs after Richard Smekal for high or medium voice and piano (1916); 2–4 and 6–8 of which for voice and small orchestra
  • op. 13 Symphonic Overture
  • op.14 Little Evening Music for String Quartet (1915)
  • op.15 Sonata (Sonatina) for violin and piano in D major (1916)
  • op. 16 “Gesang der late Linden” for female choir and piano quintet (rev. 1933); also for female choir and chamber orchestra (1933)
  • op. 17 ballad for orchestra with solo violoncello
  • op.18 piano quartet op.18 (1917)
  • op. 19 concert piece for violin and chamber orchestra (1917), also for violin and piano
  • op. 20 [-]
  • op. 21 Six songs for medium voice and piano (1918); also for voice and small orchestra
  • op. 22 Six songs after Hermann Hesse for medium voice and piano (1918), of which Nos. 1–5 for medium voice and small orchestra and No. 5 “Drüben” for medium voice and string quartet
  • op. 23 Three Piano Pieces (1920); edited as op. 23a for 4 hands
  • op. 24 [-]
  • op.25 string sextet, as op 25a music for string orchestra (1920)
  • op.26 String Quartet in G minor, op.26 (1920)
  • op.27 piano trio op.27
  • op. 28 Sonata for violoncello and piano
  • op. 29 Small Suite (1923)
  • op. 30 string quintet (1923)
  • op. 31 Chamber music (nonet) for wind quartet and string quintet (1924); also arranged for wind quintet and string quartet as op.31a (1924) and as decet for wind quintet and string quintet as op.31b
  • op. 32 Four piano pieces op. 32 (1926); edited as op. 32a for 4 hands
  • op.33 clarinet quintet op.33 (1930)
  • op. 34 Four songs after Brentano for high voice and piano (1931); also under the title “Der Abend” for female choir with flute, clarinet and string quartet as op. 34a; No. 1 "Evening Serenade" and No. 2 "Der Spinnerin Lied" for high voice with solo flute and string orchestra; No. 3 "Lullaby" for high (high soprano) or medium voice and small orchestra
  • op. 35 orchestral suite No. 3 (also: Sinfonische Suite No. 2) op. 35 (1931; rev. 1937); also as op. 35a piano quintet
  • op. 36 Eight songs after Eichendorff for low voice and piano op. 36 (1932); including No. 1 "Der Einsiedler" and No. 4 "Winter Night" for high or low voice and small orchestra (1933)
  • op.37 Six songs after Eichendorff for high voice and piano op.37 / 1-6 (7 and 8 not published) (1932)
  • op. 38 Eight songs after Eichendorff for medium-high or higher voice and piano op. 38 (1933); of which No. 8 “Valet” for higher or lower voice and small orchestra
  • op. 39 (Text: Friedrich Hölderlin) No. 1 “Song of Friendship” for male choir; No. 2 "Lied der Liebe" for mixed choir (1933)
  • op. 40 Orchestral Suite No. 5 "Romantic Suite" op. 40 (1936)
  • op. 41 Little house music for string quartet; also as op.41a Sonatina (1939)
  • op.42 orchestral suite No. 4 (1938)
  • op.43 Prelude and Passacaglia (1939)
  • op.44 Five Piano Pieces (1940)
  • op. 45 trio suite for violin, cello (or viola) and piano op. 45 (1948); of which No. 2 “Valse triste” for viola and piano
  • op.46 Sonatina for violin (or flute, viola) and piano (1952)
  • op.47 Three pieces for violoncello (or viola) and piano (1954)

Awards and memberships

  • 1913 State Prize for Music
  • 1919 Prize of the "Gustav Mahler Foundation"
  • 1922 Chamber Music Prize of the State of Salzburg
  • 1929 Art Prize of the City of Vienna
  • 1940 member of the Society for Styrian Music
  • 1943 House Music Prize from the German Reich Radio
  • 1949 Awarded the professional title “ao. University professor ”.
  • 1951 Grand Austrian State Prize for Music
  • 1953 honorary member of the Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft
  • 1954 member of the Austrian Art Senate


  • Erich H. Müller von Asow, Egon Kornauth. A picture of the life and work of the Moravian composer. Doblinger, Vienna 1941.
  • Thomas Leibnitz, Austrian Late Romanticists: Studies on Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek, Joseph Marx, Franz Schmidt and Egon Kornauth, with documentation of the handwritten sources in the music collection of the Austrian National Library (publications by the Institute for Austrian Music Documentation) Schneider, Vienna 1986, ISBN 3795204585 .

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