Goetz or Götz, Hermann (Gustav)

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Goetz or Götz, Hermann (Gustav)

Goetz or Götz, Hermann (Gustav), admirable German composer; b. Königsberg, Dec. 7, 1840; d. Hottingen, near Zürich, Dec. 3, 1876. He began composing as a youth, and at 17 commenced studies in piano and harmony with Louis Köhler. After training in mathematics and physics at the Univ. of Königsberg (1858-60), he pursued music studies with Bülow (piano and counterpoint), Stern (conducting and score reading), and H. Ulrich (composition) at the Stern Cons, in Berlin (1860-62), where he also studied organ. In 1862-63 he was director of the Berlin Meichsner Gesangverein. In 1863 he became organist and choirmaster at the Lutheran Church in Winterthur. He also was active as a pianist, conductor of oratorio and opera, and piano teacher. In 1870 he settled in Hottingen, although he continued to work as an organist in Winterthur until tuberculosis compelled him to give up his duties in 1872. He spent his last years composing, teaching, and writing music criticism. Goetz’s most celebrated work was his comic opera Der Widerspenstigen Zahmung, after Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (Mannheim, Oct. 11, 1874). It remains one of the finest scores in the genre of the 19th century. Among his orch works, his Sym. in F major and his 2nd Piano Concerto are commendable. His chamber music is also particularly noteworthy, especially his fine Piano Quartet and Piano Quintet, as are several of his choral pieces.


DRAMATIC Die heilige drei Konige, Neujahrspiel (1865; Winterthur, Ian. 6, 1866); Der Widerspenstigen Zahmung,comic opera, after Shakespeare (1868-72; Mannheim, Oct. 11, 1874); Francesca von Rimini, opera (1875-76; unfinished; completed by E. Frank; Mannheim, Sept. 30, 1877). ORCH.: 2 piano concertos: No. 1 (1861; Berlin, April 3, 1862) and No. 2 (Basel, Dec. 1, 1867); Frühlings-Ouverture (1864); 2 syms.: No. 1 in E minor (1866-67; Basel, March 3, 1867; score destroyed by the composer’s widow) and No. 2 in F major (1873; Mannheim, Dec. 25, 1874; rev. 1875; Leipzig, Jan. 27, 1876); Violin Concerto (1868). CHAMBER: 2 fugues for String Quartet (1860-62); Presto for String Quartet (1860-62); Ballade for Piano, Violin and Cello (1861; unfinished); Piano Trio (1863); 3 leichte Stucke for Violin and Piano (1863); String Quartet (1865); Piano Quartet (1867); Piano Quintet (1874). Piano : 2 sonatas for Piano, 4-Hands (c. 1857, 1865); Alwinen-Polka (c. 1860); Fantasie (1860); Scherzo (c. 1862); Waldmarchen (1863); Lose Blatter (1869); 2 sonatinas (1869); Genrebilder (1875-76). VOCAL: Psalm 137 for Soprano, Chorus and Orch. (1864); Schneewittchen for Chorus and Orch. (1865; unfinished); Es liegt so abendstill der See, cantata for Tenor, Men’s Chorus and Orch. (1865); Nenie for Chorus and Orch. (1874); choruses; songs.


E. Kreuzhage, H. G.: Sein Leben und seine Werke (Leipzig, 1916); G. Kruse, H. G. (Leipzig, 1920).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire