Siegmund von Hausegger

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Siegmund von Hausegger

Siegmund Edler von Hausegger (born August 16, 1872 in Graz , † October 10, 1948 in Munich ) was an Austrian composer and conductor .


Siegmund von Hausegger with his father Friedrich (around 1895)

Siegmund von Hausegger was the son of the lawyer and private lecturer in musicology Friedrich Edler von Hausegger (born April 26, 1837 in Sankt Andrä (Carinthia) ; † February 23, 1899 in Graz), who advocated Richard Wagner in music-aesthetic writings and from an early age for a "racial musicology" fought, and his wife Hedwig born Goedel. Siegmund received his first piano lessons from his mother, later he learned the horn and violin and taught himself to play the organ . His father introduced him to Wagner's music at an early age and remained a great admirer of this composer throughout his life. Hausegger studied literature, philosophy, history and art studies at the university in his hometown of Graz. The musical training was carried out by Erich Wolf Degner , Karl Pohlig and Martin Plüddemann .

Hausegger married the singer Hertha Ritter (1873–1913), a daughter of the composer Alexander Ritter and Richard Wagner's great niece, in Munich in 1902 . She died on January 15, 1913 after the birth of her son Friedrich on December 19, 1912 in Hamburg. Soon after, Hausegger married Hella Bronsart von Schellendorff (1877–1956). This second marriage had daughter Veronika.

He worked as a conductor in Graz, Munich, Frankfurt am Main , Berlin and Hamburg . From 1920 he was chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic and President of the Munich Academy of Music , where he also taught. His well-known students included Karl Marx , Eugen Jochum and Karl Höller .

Hausegger is known, among other things, as an interpreter of works by the New German School and Anton Bruckner . What should be emphasized here is that he was one of the first well-known conductors to consistently advocate the distribution of the original versions of Bruckner's symphonies . He also directed the first performances of the originals of the Bruckner symphonies No. 5 (1935) and No. 9 (1932), as well as the first commercial recording of the 9th Symphony in 1938.

In the Third Reich , Hausegger, whose love for Wagner, Franz Liszt and Bruckner conformed to the official guidelines, was integrated into the National Socialist cultural policy. Hausegger was a co-signatory of the "Protests of the Richard Wagner City of Munich", written by Hans Knappertsbusch and signed by Hans Pfitzner , among others , in which Thomas Mann's criticism of Richard Wagner was sharply rejected. This attack on Mann, intensified by an open letter from Hausegger, quickly took on a political dimension in National Socialist Germany and therefore contributed to making Mann's plans to emigrate concrete. Hausegger later described his participation in the protest as the biggest mistake of his life. From 1934 Hausegger was a member of the Council of Leaders of German Composers within the Reich Music Chamber . It was also he who led a Munich propaganda concert of the SS in November 1934 with works by Wagner and Bruckner. On the occasion of the unveiling of Bruckner's bust in the Walhalla near Regensburg in 1937 by Adolf Hitler , he conducted Bruckner's 8th Symphony . In 1938, the native Austrian Hausegger called for a referendum by celebrating the annexation of Austria as a “true Siegfried deed of the Führer” and a rescue “from enslavement”. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, Adolf Hitler awarded him the Goethe Medal for Art and Science in 1942 . Nevertheless, the German national, but not National Socialist-minded musician found himself exposed to continuous accusations and threats due to his refusal to join the NSDAP. In 1933 he was torn from the podium by the SA after he refused to play the Horst Wessel song at the center of an event. Warnings of arrest by the Gestapo followed. These circumstances led Hausegger to resign from the office of President of the Academy of Music in 1934. In 1938 he resigned from all other offices.

Hausegger died in Munich three years after the end of the war in 1948; his brother, Fritz von Hausegger, as early as 1882.

Richard Strauss and Hausegger knew each other. They met after the war ended and the situation was not easy for either of them. Nevertheless, Strauss was doing a little better - especially financially. Then Strauss remarked, in his typical way, to Hausegger: “Schaug'ns Hausegger, the difference between you and me is very simple: you always want the stars from the sky; I say: give me 50 marks. " (On the occasion of a commemorative broadcast on Bayerischer Rundfunk, which his son Friedrich designed for the 20th anniversary of his death (1968), he ended up telling this telling anecdote.)

Audio language

As a composer, Siegmund von Hausegger leaned primarily on the music of Richard Wagner, and in part also Anton Bruckner. A certain resemblance to Gustav Mahler's style is also noticeable, although his parodistic and alienating traits can hardly be found in Hausegger's works. Hausegger's main interest was initially in opera , but soon shifted to the field of symphonic poetry and program symphony . Hausegger is much more in the tradition of Franz Liszt than of Richard Strauss, since he gives comparatively little space to the sound painting element in the implementation of his extra-musical models and rather follows Liszt's ideal of a "poetic idea" arising in the music.

Hausegger's orchestral works are characterized by an idealistic attitude, as the choice of his models shows: The Dionysian Fantasy was inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's book The Birth of Tragedy from the spirit of music , Barbarossa from the legend about Emperor Friedrich I , who wakes up from centuries of sleep to free the oppressed people. Wieland the blacksmith represents the symphonic elaboration of an opera libretto by Richard Wagner that has not been set to music, which Hausegger interprets as an allegory of the achievement of creative powers. The natural symphony , Hausegger's most extensive tone poem, processes high mountain impressions and culminates in a monumental final chorus based on verses by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe . The orchestral variations Aufklänge describe the joyful feelings of a father in the cradle of his child. After completing this work in 1917, the only 45-year-old Hausegger largely gave up his compositional activity, wrote only a few small-format vocal music and devoted himself primarily to his conducting career.

Works (selection)


  • Helfried , opera in 1 act (Libretto: Siegmund von Hausegger; premiered March 23, 1893 Graz)
  • Zinnober , humorous and fantastic plot in 3 acts (Libretto: Siegmund von Hausegger based on ETA Hoffmann ; premiered June 19, 1898 Munich)

Orchestral works

  • Dionysian Fantasy , symphonic poem (1896)
  • Barbarossa , symphonic poem (1898/99)
  • Wieland the blacksmith , symphonic poem (1904)
  • Nature symphony with final chorus based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's " Proömion " (1911)
  • Aufklänge , symphonic variations on the nursery rhyme "Schlaf, Kindchen , Schlaf" (1919)

Vocal music

  • 3 hymns to the night after Gottfried Keller for baritone and orchestra (1902)
  • 2 chants after Gottfried Keller and Friedrich Hebbel for tenor and orchestra (1902/08)
  • Requiem after Friedrich Hebbel for 8-part mixed choir (1907)
  • Poor Kunrad for 4-part male choir (1908)
  • 3 songs based on old German poems for voice and piano (1921)
  • 3 chants based on Middle High German poems for female voice, viola and piano (1921)
  • Morning blessing for mixed choir, tenor solo, orchestra and organ (1925)
  • 3 mixed choirs based on poems by Josef Weinheber (1938)
  • 8 male choirs
  • approx. 50 other songs for voice and piano

Chamber music

  • Piano quartet (around 1890)


  • Alexander Knight . A picture of his character and work (1907)
  • Reflections on Art. Collected Articles (1921)
  • Anton Bruckner . Scientific and artistic considerations on the original versions (no year, probably 1930s)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hausegger, family (...) Friedrich Johann Thomas von (...) . In: , July 23, 2014, accessed on November 6, 2015;
    Dr. Friedrich v (on) Hausegger †. In:  Grazer Tagblatt. Organ of the German People's Party for the Alpine Countries, evening edition, No. 55/1899 (IX. Year), February 24, 1899, p. 1 f. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / gtb.
  2. See Brunhilde Sonntag, Hans-Werner Boresch and Detlef Gojowy (eds.): The dark burden. Music and National Socialism , Cologne 1999, p. 99.
  3. Hans Rudolf Vaget : Chapter 13: Music in Munich: Context and prehistory of the "Protest of the Richard Wagner City of Munich"
  4. ^ A b c Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , CD-Rom-Lexikon, Kiel 2004, pp. 2.704–2.705.
  5. Fred K. Prieberg: Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , p. 2 707.
  6. ^ Quotation from Fred K. Prieberg: Handbook of German Musicians 1933 - 1945 , p. 2 707; see also: Ernst Klee : Das Kulturlexikon zum Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-10-039326-5 , p. 223.