Karl Goldmark

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Karl Goldmark

Karl Goldmark (born May 18, 1830 in Keszthely , Kingdom of Hungary in the Austrian Empire , † January 2, 1915 in Vienna ) was a Hungarian-Austrian composer , music teacher and violinist . His first name is often written Carl according to the spelling that was valid until 1901/1902; Károly is common in his native Hungary .


Goldmark's birthplace in Keszthely

Goldmark was the son of a Chasan , a Jewish cantor. When he was four years old, his family moved to the Siebengemeinde Deutschkreutz in Burgenland , which at that time belonged to the Hungarian part of the Habsburg Empire . The family lived there in poor conditions. Goldmark's older brother Joseph Goldmark joined the 1848 revolution and had to emigrate to the USA. The pianist and composer Rubin Goldmark is the son of his brother Leo Goldmark, who also emigrated to the USA.

At the age of eleven, Goldmark took his first violin lessons, at the age of 14 he moved to Vienna and gave his first solo appearances as a violinist there at the age of 18. For many years Goldmark worked unnoticed as a theater violinist at the Carltheater in Vienna , where he supplemented his income by taking piano lessons. At the age of 27 he first made the decision to appear in front of the audience with his own compositions, and at the age of 28 he gave his first concert with his own works.

At the beginning of the 1860s Goldmark was the violist of a young string quartet. Johannes Brahms gave this quartet a rehearsal of his string quartet in F minor, which was later reworked several times. During this time, a friendship (not always without problems) developed between Brahms and Goldmark, which was expressed in numerous excursions to Baden or Klosterneuburg, for example, and in a joint trip to Italy. Goldmark was also one of the regular guests of the Johann Strauss family .

In 1863 Goldmark received a scholarship for music which was awarded to him by the three commission members of the Imperial and Royal Ministry for Cultus and Education , Eduard Hanslick , Heinrich Esser and Johann von Herbeck .

As a self-taught , he managed 1865 with the Sakuntala - Overture the first breakthrough, performed in Vienna in the 4th Philharmonic concert of the season 1865 / 1866. The critic Eduard Hanslick , who criticized the performance overall benevolent but took as many later criticisms of his " Abundance of dissonances “offense. On the premiere of Goldmark's overture in the spring , Eduard Hanslick asked whether “the dissonance king will win over himself to say goodbye to his cutting chords for the sake of May”, and in Goldmark's Sappho-Overture he branded its “jungle of dissonances”.

Gustav Mahler , who later had three Goldmark operas on his conducting list, Heimchen am Herd (1896), The Prisoners of War (1899) and the new production of The Queen of Saba (1901), and Goldmark met each other with a certain reserve. This was partly attributed to the fact that Mahler had always resented Goldmark for receiving the " Beethoven Prize " of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in 1878 and 1881 as a member of the jury commission (consisting of Hanslick, Brahms, Hans Richter and Goldmark) in Vienna not to him, but to Robert Fuchs and Victor von Herzfeld .

Plaque at the house of death

Goldmark last lived in the Pratercottage in Vienna's 2nd district, Josef-Gall-Gasse 5, where a plaque on the house where he died commemorates him. Goldmark's grave is located in the Vienna Central Cemetery ( Old Jewish Cemetery, Gate 1 ). In 1925, the Goldmarkplatz in Vienna- Hietzing (13th district) was named in his honor ( during the Nazi era it was called Walter-Flex- Platz).


At the end of the 19th century, in his later years, Goldmark was a very popular composer who was showered with superlatives. Jean Sibelius , a temporary student of Goldmark from 1890, wrote in 1892 that he had an extraordinary reputation in Vienna and that in many places people would be envied for being his student. Julius Korngold , successor to Eduard Hanslick, spoke of the "Goldmark cult". Karl Kraus certified him to be the greatest living music dramatist since Richard Wagner's death. After Brahms' death he was seen as the last exponent of the disappearing late romantic age, although the Hungarian music world has given him greater attention as a “ national composer ” to this day.

His best-known work is the opera The Queen of Sheba , premiered in 1875 , with which he became famous overnight. At that time, their opulent sound was seen as the counterpart to Hans Makart's monumental paintings.

Hanslick, who feuded everything in the vicinity of Richard Wagner , believed that all Goldmark operas were too close to Richard Wagner. Many other critics also stigmatized Goldmark as a Wagner pig. Hugo Wolf was the most ruthless in his criticism of Goldmark . The opera The Queen of Sheba was still present at the Vienna State Opera until 1936 , when the National Socialists' verdict finally brought the reception to an end. After 1945 there was practically no room for Vienna's Goldmark music business.

His musical models were Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy , Robert Schumann and later Richard Wagner . His only encounter with Wagner is documented in 1860. Around 1900 he was a member of Gustav Mahler and Ludwig Bösendorfer on the committee for the purchase of a new organ for the Vienna Musikvereinssaal . In his later years he received numerous honors and an honorary doctorate from the University of Budapest .

In addition to symphonies , other orchestral works , chamber music , choral works and songs , he composed a number of operas .


Advertisement for sheet music for the string quartet opus 8 and in a piano arrangement by Julius Epstein

Goldmark's early string quartet in B flat major, op. 8, has recently been attracting a certain amount of attention and was recorded on CD by the Lajtha Quartet ( Hungaroton , 1993) and the Klenke Quartet (Classic, 1998).

Catalog raisonné


  • The Queen of Sheba . Opera in 4 acts (op.27; 1871). Libretto : Salomon Hermann Mosenthal . Premiere March 10, 1875 Vienna ( Court Opera )
  • Merlin . Opera in 3 acts. Libretto: Siegfried Lipiner . Premiere November 19, 1886 Vienna (Court Opera)
  • The cricket on the stove . Opera in 3 acts. Libretto: Alfred Maria Willner (based on Charles Dickens : The Cricket on the Hearth ). Premiere March 21, 1896 Vienna (Court Opera)
  • The stranger . Libretto:?. (Fragment, unfinished)
  • The prisoners of war (Briseïs) . Opera in 2 acts. Libretto: Emil Schlicht (=  Alfred Formey ). Premiere January 17, 1899 Vienna (Court Opera)
  • Götz von Berlichingen . Opera in 5 acts. Libretto: Alfred Maria Willner (based on Goethe ). Premiere December 16, 1902 Budapest (National Opera). New version: WP 1910 Vienna
  • A winter fairy tale . Opera in 3 acts. Libretto: Alfred Maria Willner (based on Shakespeare ). Premiere January 2, 1908 Vienna (Court Opera)


  • Sakuntala op. 13 (1865); first big success
  • Penthesilea op.31 (after Heinrich von Kleist , 1884)
  • In Spring op. 36 (1887)
  • Prometheus bound, op.38 (1889)
  • Sappho op.44 (1894)
  • In Italy op. 49 (1904)
  • From Days of Youth op.53


  • Symphony No. 1 op.26 ( Country Wedding , 1877)
  • Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 35 (1887)

Orchestral works

Choral works

  • Rain Song , Op. 10
  • Two pieces for men's choir op.14
  • Spring Net , for men's choir, 4 horns and piano op.15
  • Calm Sea and Happy Voyage , for Gentlemen's Choir and Horns Op. 16
  • Two pieces for men's choir op.17
  • Spring hymn , for alto, choir and orchestra op.23
  • Im Fuschertal , six choir songs op.24
  • Psalm CXIII , for solo voices, choir and orchestra op.40
  • Two pieces for men's choir op.41
  • Two four-part chants with piano op.42

Works for violin or cello and piano

  • Suite for violin and piano in E major op.11 (see first edition, Edition Schott)
  • Suite for violin and piano in E flat major, op.43
  • Sonata for violin and piano op.25
  • Ballade for violin and piano op.54
  • Romance for violin and piano op.51
  • Sonata for cello and piano in F major op.39
  • Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 28 (1878)

Works for piano

  • Sturm und Drang - nine characteristic pieces, op.5
  • Three pieces for piano z. 4 Hdn., Op.12
  • Hungarian dances f. Piano z. 4 Hdn., Op.22 (later orchestrated by the composer)
  • Four piano pieces, op.29
  • Georginen - Six pieces for piano, op.52

Chamber music

  • Piano trio in B flat major op.4 (1858/59)
  • String Quartet in B flat major op.8 (1860)
  • String Quintet in A minor, Op. 9 (1862)
  • Piano quintet in B flat major op. 30 (1878)
  • Piano trio in E minor op.33 (1879)
  • Piano quintet in c sharp minor op.54 (1914)


  • 12 songs, Op. 18th
  • Conjuration, Op. 20th
  • 4 songs, Op. 21st
  • 7 songs from the 'Wild Jäger', Op. 32
  • 4 songs, Op. 34
  • 8 songs, Op. 37 (Leipzig, 1888 or 1889)
  • Whoever Kisses Music, Op. 42
  • 6 songs, Op. 46


In 1980, in Deutschkreutz in Burgenland , the house in which Goldmark spent the years 1834 to 1844 was bought by the municipality and the Goldmark Museum was built there.


  • Goldmark Karl. In: Austrian Biographical Lexicon 1815–1950 (ÖBL). Volume 2, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 1959, p. 25.
  • Wilhelm Pfannkuch:  Goldmark, Carl. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 6, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1964, ISBN 3-428-00187-7 , p. 606 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Karl Goldmark: Memories from my life . Rikola, Vienna 1922. (autobiography)
  • Harald Graf: Carl Goldmark , in the journal Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungarica - A Magyar Tudományos Akadémia zenetudományi folyóirata . 38, Fasc. 3–4, Budapest 1997 ISSN  0039-3266 (also online as Magyar Tudományos Akadémia: Studia musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae.)
  • Johann Hofer: Carl Goldmark: composer of the Ringstrasse era. Vienna: Edition Steinbauer, 2015. ISBN 978-3-902494-72-6
  • Michael Jahn, Clemens Höslinger : Forgotten. Four 19th century opera composers: JF Halévy , A. Rubinstein , K. Goldmark and JJ Abert . Series: Writings on Viennese opera history, 6. Verlag Der Apfel, Vienna 2008. ISBN 978-3-85450-288-3
  • Peter Stachel: A “fatherland” opera for the Habsburg monarchy or a “Jewish national opera”? Carl Goldmarks “Queen of Saba” in Vienna , in: Oliver Müller, Philipp Ther, Jutta Toelle, Gesa zur Nieden, eds .: Opera in the changing world: cultural transfers and networks of music theater in Europe . Böhlau, Cologne 2010 ISBN 978-3-205-78491-3 , pp. 197-218.
  • Annette Sommer: “Court composer of the Queen of Sheba ”: On the 100th anniversary of Karl Goldmark's death. Kalonymos , H. 1, Essen 2015, pp. 4–7 (with ill., Online, PDF ).
  • Peter P. Pachl : Carl Coldmark in a new light . In: The Fourth Wall. Organ of the TheaterMuseum Berlin initiative . Edition 009. Berlin, 2019, pp. 66–81 ( Online in the Internet Archive )

Web links

Commons : Karl Goldmark  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Der Makart der Musik , in: wien.at aktuell , the magazine for employees [of the Vienna city administration], No. 1/2015, p. 21
  2. ^ Goldmark Memorial Museum , accessed November 30, 2012.
  3. ^ Carl Goldmark Memorial House ( Memento from December 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 27, 2010.