Hugo Wolf

Biography

Born: March 13, 1860; Windischgraz, Austria   Died: February 22, 1903; Vienna, Austria  
Hugo Wolf, a native of Windischgraz (now Slovenjgradec, Slovenia), in the Austro-Hungarian province of Styria, was born on March 13, 1860 and died on February 22, 1903, three weeks before his 43rd birthday -- like Schubert, German music's first great lieder composer, of tertiary syphilis. Like Schumann, the other great lieder composer (also syphilitic), Wolf died in an insane asylum after trying to drown himself in October 1898. (He had committed Read more himself a year earlier, but was discharged after four months.) Also like Schumann, he composed in manic bursts between periods of depression, once the disease entered its second stage, and like two predecessors, was an unsuccessful composer of stage music.

Wolf completed only one opera, Der Corregidor (1895-1896), based on the same Spanish comedy Falla later used in The Three-Cornered Hat. Indifferently and with difficulty he also composed incidental music for two plays long forgotten. As a teenager, he began but never finished a violin concerto and two symphonies (in 1879 he lost the manuscript of a third symphony while traveling). His orchestral repertory amounts to Penthesilea (after Kleist; 1883-1885), a turbidly scored, Liszt-Wagnerian symphonic poem; Christnacht, a choral work both naive and sublime (1886-1889), and the Italian Serenade (a 1892 arrangement of his charming 1887 Serenade in G for String Quartet).

Despite haphazard education that ended in a series of expulsions, Wolf the lieder composer was possessed of (and by) a psychological insight that revealed as early as 1878 what poured forth later between arid stretches -- some 300 songs, the finest of them both emotionally penetrating and musically profound. Mörike, Goethe (the Mignon - Lieder are incomparable), Kleist, Lenau, and Heine were his favorite German poets, plus Eichendorff when Wolf reached the expressive summit in 1887. For three years prior he had been an outspoken critic -- the only job he ever held -- in Vienna's weekly Salonblatt. Pro-Wagner and anti-Brahms, he was as honest as Berlioz had been, and thus made powerful enemies who took revenge later on. Wolf habitually lived hand to mouth, supported by a circle of friends who provided shelter and sustenance for ten years, and finally in 1896 gave him his own apartment. By then, however, the disease had entered its third stage, and his mood swings alienated many who cared deeply. On September 19, 1897, he cracked -- blaming Mahler, his friend of 20 years and onetime roommate, of sabotaging Der Corregidor at the Hofoper.

In October 1889, Wolf had turned his attention from German poetry to translations of Spanish poets. Between Halloween and the following May, he composed 44 songs called the Spanish Songbook. Then, between September 1890 and December 1891, he composed 22 song translations comprising Part I of an Italian Songbook. Thereafter he didn't write a note of original music until March 1895, when he undertook Der Corregidor, completing all four acts in piano score within twelve weeks. After laboriously scoring it, he wrote twenty-four songs in isolation between 25 March and 30 April 1896 -- Part II of the Italian Songbook. He spent the next months revising Der Corregidor. After setting his last songs in March 1897, three somber sonnets by Michelangelo, Wolf worked tirelessly on another Spanish opera, Manuel Venegas, which amounted to 60 pages of piano score, before his breakdown. Following his death, he was buried alongside Beethoven and Schubert in Vienna's Central Cemetery, impoverished to the end but officially a cultural hero. Read less
Wolf: Italienisches Liederbuch, Morike Lieder / Oelze, Blochwitz, Lorentz, Jansen
Release Date: 12/10/2013   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94705   Number of Discs: 2
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Composition Type: Lieder (Various)

Browse 1-25 of 70 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Wolf & Reger: Orchestral Songs / Albrecht, Soltesz, Hamburg State Philharmonic, Munich Radio Orchestra
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: ORF-MP1902 Release Date: 05/24/2019   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf,  Max Reger
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Conductor:  Stefan Soltesz,  Gerd Albrecht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Hamburg Monteverdi Choir  ... 
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  • 2.
    Christoph Pregardien Sings Schumann, Wolf & Mahler / Gees
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 19006 Release Date: 04/12/2019   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Hugo Wolf,  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Christoph Prégardien,  Michael Gees
    CD: $22.49
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  • 3.
    Generation Harmonia Mundi, Vol. 2: The Family Spirit
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908920 Release Date: 05/11/2018   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Pier Francesco Cavalli,  George Frideric Handel,  Emilio de Cavalieri  ... 
    Performer:  Andreas Scholl,  Dominique Visse,  Gilles Ragon,  Lawrence Zazzo  ... 
    Conductor:  Chiara Banchini,  René Jacobs,  David Bates,  Jean-Marc Aymes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble 415,  Concerto Vocale,  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 4.
    Awakening / Humm, Polgar
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 6143 Release Date: 10/27/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Hugo Wolf,  Richard Strauss,  Viktor Ullmann
    Performer:  Äneas Humm,  Judit Polgar
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  • 5.
    Humorous Wolf / Lamnek, Larina
    Label: Coviello Classics   Catalog: 91716 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Horst Lamnek,  Elena Larina
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  • 6.
    Von Muttern und Tochtern / Ingenfeld, Keller, Dasch
    Label: Dreyer Gaido   Catalog: 21103 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Robert Franz,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Dorothe Ingenfeld,  Anita Keller,  Katrin Dasch
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  • 7.
    Siv Wennberg - A Great Primadonna: Vol. 8, New Year's Concert
    Label: Sterling   Catalog: 1811 Release Date: 01/06/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wilhelm Peterson-Berger,  Edvard Grieg,  Jean Sibelius,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Siv Wennberg,  Bengt Wennberg,  Anders Wadenberg,  Michael Wilson  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 8.
    Wolf: Kennst du das Land? / Karthauser, Asti
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 902245 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Sophie Karthäuser,  Eugene Asti
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  • 9.
    Grieg, Wolf, Strauss & Grondahl: Lieder & Songs / Eriksmoen, Cemin
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Hugo Wolf,  Richard Strauss,  Agathe Backer Grondahl
    Performer:  Mari Eriksmoen,  Alphonse Cemin
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  • 10.
    A Maiden's Heart: Songs of R. Strauss, Ludwig Thuille and Hugo Wolf / Hagen, Mork
    Label: Genuin Classics   Catalog: 16415 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Ludwig Thuille,  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Kerstin Mörk,  Mirella [Soprano Vocal] Hagen
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  • 11.
    Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: The Complete Recitals 1952-74
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553028 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 31
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Strauss,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Anny Felbermayer,  Josef Metternich  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard,  Otto Ackermann,  Lovro von Matacic,  Josef Krips  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
    CD: $112.49
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  • 12.
    Hugo Wolf: The Complete Songs Volume 8 / Broderick, Spence, Stout, Kynoch
    Label: Stone Records   Catalog: 8042 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  David Stout,  Nicky Spence,  Katherine Broderick,  Sholto Kynoch
    CD: $17.99
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  • 13.
    Hebbel Lieder
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 98999 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Pfitzner,  Walter Braunfels,  Othmar Schoeck,  Peter Cornelius  ... 
    Performer:  Ulf Bastlein,  Sascha El Mouissi
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  • 14.
    Prometheus Lieder - Schubert, Strauss & Wolf  / Franz-josef Selig
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 553302 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Hugo Wolf,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Franz-Josef Selig,  Gerold Huber
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  • 15.
    Most Wanted Recitals - The Art Of Hans Hotter
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002066902 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Geoffrey Parsons
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  • 16.
    Wolf: Eichendorff Lieder / Genz, Fink, Vignoles
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55435 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Stephan Genz,  Roger Vignoles,  Bernarda Fink
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  • 17.
    Lieder By Wolf & Brahms
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 369 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Alastair [Bass Vocal] Miles,  Marie-Noëlle Kendall
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  • 18.
    Wolf: The Complete Songs, Vol. 6
    Label: Stone Records   Catalog: 8028 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Sholto Kynoch,  Benjamin Hulett,  Anna Huntley,  Marcus [Baritone Vocal] Farnsworth
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  • 19.
    Michelangelo in Song / Tomlinson, Norris
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10785 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Hugo Wolf,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  John Tomlinson,  David Owen Norris
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  • 20.
    Sings Lieder
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1268 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
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  • 21.
    Hugo Wolf: The Complete Songs, Vol. 5
    Label: Stone Records   Catalog: 8021 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Sarah-Jane Brandon,  Daniel Norman,  William Dazeley,  Sholto Kynoch
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  • 22.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 165022 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner,  Bedrich Smetana,  Engelbert Humperdinck  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Elisabeth Grümmer,  Gerald Moore,  Edwin Fischer  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Heinrich Schmidt,  Herbert von Karajan,  Lovro von Matacic  ... 
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  • 23.
    Wolf: The Complete Songs, Vol. 4
    Label: Stone Records   Catalog: 8016 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Sholto Kynoch,  Quirijn De Lang,  Mary Bevan
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  • 24.
    Rita Streich - Lieder
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437680 Release Date: 10/14/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Hugo Wolf,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Rita Streich,  Erik Werba,  Heinrich Geusser,  Günther Weissenborn
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  • 25.
    Mahler, Fortner, Martin, Wolff / Roman Trekel
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300264 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Fortner,  Hugo Wolf,  Gustav Mahler,  Frank Martin
    Performer:  Roman [Baritone Vocals] Trekel,  Burkhard Kehring
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