Oswald Kabasta

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Photo taken around 1927

Oswald Kabasta (born December 29, 1896 in Mistelbach (Lower Austria) , † February 6, 1946 in Kufstein ) was an Austrian conductor and composer .


Kabasta studied at the Vienna Music Academy from 1913 to 1916 , a. a. Conducting with Joseph Marx and the Bruckner disciple Ferdinand Löwe . He also took private lessons from Franz Schmidt . First active as a music teacher, he got the position of Kapellmeister in Wiener Neustadt ; In 1923 he became the conductor of the Baden choir in Baden near Vienna in 1862 . After two years of successful directorship in the city orchestra in Graz, he was appointed city general music director in Graz in 1928. In 1931 Kabasta became concert and music director of Radio Verkehrs AG and led its orchestra; In 1931 he also took over the leadership of the conducting class at the Vienna Music Academy from Franz Schalk , the other important Bruckner disciple. In May 1932, Minister of Education Anton Rintelen and his circle came up with the (not realized) plan to win Kabasta for a permanent engagement at the Vienna Opera Theater beginning in September 1932 , whose relationship with RAVAG suffered from “numerous inhibitions and disagreements”.

Kabasta's successful career led to numerous concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic and, in 1934, as the successor to Ferdinand Löwe, to his appointment as chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony . He reformed the orchestra and toured with it to Italy and England. His influence lasted long after his death; orchestral musicians were still referring to him in the 1970s: “Under the Kabasta ham ma des but played quite differently”. In 1938, Kabasta claimed to the NSDAP that during his time with the Wiener Symphoniker he had not accepted “a single Jew”. Before 1938, however, the Nazi press attacked Kabasta for employing Jewish musicians and conductors at RAVAG, such as Fred Fobau . In 1938 he succeeded the famous Bruckner interpreter Siegmund von Hausegger as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic . Kabasta was a member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party after the “Anschluss” of Austria , but still relied on its programs in Munich for unwanted works by Paul Dukas , Gustav Mahler , Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Béla Bartók . His close collaboration with the orchestra, with which he toured numerous times during the Second World War, ended in August 1944. The Munich Tonhalle , the venue since 1895, was destroyed by the air raids on Munich . In the final phase of the Second World War , he was included in the God-gifted list in August 1944 , which saved him from being deployed in the war, including on the home front .

After the war, the Allies banned Kabasta from continuing to work as a conductor. He was accused of joining the NSDAP as early as 1932. Hans Rosbaud took over the management of the Munich Philharmonic . Kabasta broke up because of this professional ban (the city of Munich stopped payments to Kabasta in October 1945 at the behest of the Information Control Division and dismissed him without notice). He committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills.

Part of the estate is kept at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (music department, manuscripts).


As a result of Kabasta's suicide, the music world lost an important conductor who, like other “stressed” musicians, would undoubtedly have been allowed to perform again and would certainly have had a place among the great musicians of the time, not least because of his commitment to performances in the original version. He was also particularly committed to the work of Johann Nepomuk David and his teacher Franz Schmidt; the premiere of the oratorio The Book with Seven Seals , scheduled for March 13, 1938, had to be postponed to June 1938 because of the “Anschluss” . Kabasta also took on the direction of the world premiere of Schmidt's cantata Deutsche Auferstehung. A festive song in April 1940.

Kabasta was a conductor who created enormous musical tension through fast, but also very variable tempos (like many other conductors of the time, above all Wilhelm Furtwängler ), but still (due to his Austrian origins) did not neglect charm and a sense of sound. His recording of Dvořák's much-played symphony From the New World from 1944, produced for the radio, was mistaken for one by Furtwängler until 1990. It is actually the wildest interpretation of this work. Other important recordings exist of Beethoven's Eroica and Bruckner's 4th Symphony , as well as studio and radio recordings of Bruckner's 7th and 9th , Schubert's  3rd, 4th and 5th , Beethoven's  8th and Mozart's Jupiter symphonies .


Kabasta became a member of the Styrian Homeland Security in 1932 , whose leaders Walter Pfrimer and Konstantin Kammerhofer joined the SA in 1934 with most of the association's members. At his request on May 19, 1938, Kabasta became a member of the NSDAP with effect from May 1, 1938 ( membership number 6,209,372). NSDAP party numbers from the block from 6,100,001 to 6,600,000 were reserved for party members who became members of the party from the day the NSDAP was banned (June 19, 1933) in Austria, what with membership in the homeland security for the NSDAP sufficient reason. May 1, 1938 was generally set as the membership date for them.

On February 4, 1946, two days before his suicide, he stated in a suicide note to the Mayor of Munich that he had already joined the NSDAP , which was banned in Austria from June 1933, in 1932 :

"Today in Munich, when I was summoned to the military government [...], there was a 'Personal form for guests of honor' dated February 39 that I had no idea about, but in it I have the date of entry into the party February 32 ( !!) specified.

This is wrong. My later information, in May 38 , after the Anschluss, that I registered in Vienna, is correct. I swear this to the Lord God who will soon be my judge.

At the beginning of the 1930s I had given donations for the Styrian Homeland Security a few times and then, after joining, Franz Huber, then director of the Vienna Reichsender, confirmed that I had made 32 contributions regularly since February.

This was not the case […]. I found out later that the whole of Styria. Heimatschutz, of which I was never actually a member , was transferred to the NSDAP as a whole. […] In fact, I was not credited with the specified date (II / 32) , rather I received later […] at the same time as the transfer from Vienna to Munich that my admission was planned for May 38 . [...]

[...] before May 38 I had nothing to do with the party. "

- Oswald Kabasta (1946)

Prieberg's comment on this: “In 1946, the occupation authorities owned the NSDAP file card Kabastas. The fatal torture was a crime against humanity. One more example that honest, sensitive personalities could not cope with the absurdities of ' ennazification ' [ sic ] by stupid bureaucrats of the Military Government; the thick-skinned continued their career without scruples. ”Kabasta's protective claim that the admission in 1938 was only“ in prospect ”, however, was not true, since in his confirmation of registration of February 8, 1940 from Vienna to Munich it was stated that he had presented his membership card and paid membership fees until November 1940.



  • Adam and Eve or comedians and soubrette , Singspiel
  • Rose dream , operetta
  • Chamber music
  • Piano works


  • My way to Bruckner and the original versions. Unpublished typescript


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Local. (...) Appointment as music director general. In:  Badener Zeitung , No. 51/1928 (IL. Volume), June 27, 1928, p. 2 middle. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / bzt.
  2. ^ Planned appointment of Professor Oswald Kabasta to the opera theater. The music director of "Ravag" is supposed to conduct on engagement. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Abendblatt, No. 34322/1932, May 31, 1932, p. 3. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp.
  3. The Opera Theater and Professor Kabasta. Budget difficulties of a commitment. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Morgenblatt, No. 34323/1932, June 1, 1932, p. 8, center left (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp.
  4. ^ History of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. ( Memento of September 29, 2005 in the Internet Archive ).
  5. a b c d e Oliver Rathkolb : 23. Kabastagasse, named since 1959 after Oswald Kabasta. In: Final research project report: Street names in Vienna since 1860 as “political places of remembrance”. Vienna 2013, pp. 142–144 (PDF; 4.16 MB).
  6. Oliver Rathkolb: Loyal to the Führer and God-Grace. Artist elite in the Third Reich . Österreichischer Bundesverlag, Vienna 1991.
  7. David Monod: Settling scores. German music, denazification, & the Americans, 1945–1953 . (English). University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill (NC) 2005, ISBN 0-8078-2944-7 , p. 59. - Text online .
  8. ^ Prieberg, Handbook of German Musicians , p. 3492.
  9. ^ Federal Archives PG - On the membership system of the NSDAP. ( Memento from May 25, 2016 in the Internet Archive ).
  10. Quoted from Prieberg, Handbuch German Musicians , pp. 3496f; (Original in the Munich City Archives).
  11. ^ Prieberg, Handbook of German Musicians , p. 3497.
  12. ^ Hans Dollinger: The Munich street names. 7th edition. Südwest-Verlag, Munich, 2007, ISBN 978-3-517-08370-4 .
  13. Catalog list of the ÖNB music collection .