Hauptmann, Moritz

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Hauptmann, Moritz

Hauptmann, Moritz, eminent German music theorist, pedagogue, and composer; b. Dresden, Oct. 13, 1792; d. Leipzig, Jan. 3, 1868. His father was an architect and hoped to bring up his son in that profession; however, there was no parental opposition to music studies. Hauptmann took lessons with Scholz (violin), Grosse (piano and harmony), and Morlacchi (composition) in Dresden. He later studied with Weinlig, and in 1811 went to Gotha to study violin and composition with Spohr, becoming his lifelong friend. He went to Vienna in 1813 as a violinist in Spohr’s orch. at the Theater an der Wien. In 1812 he joined the Dresden Court Orch. as violinist, and in 1815 he became music teacher in the family of the Russian military governor of Dresden, Prince Repnin, and went with them to Russia, where he remained for 5 years. In 1820 he returned to Dresden, and in 1822 Spohr engaged him as violinist in the Court Orch. at Kassel. In 1842, at Mendelssohn’s recommendation, he was appointed cantor at the Thomasschule and prof, of composition at the Leipzig Cons., retaining these posts until his death. He became greatly renowned as a teacher of violin and composition. Among his pupils were Ferdinand David, Joachim, Hans von Bülow, Jadassohn, and Arthur Sullivan. A master of classical form, he was a polished composer, in the tradition of Spohr and Mendelssohn; the architectonic symmetry of his instrumental works and the purity of part-writing in his vocal music aroused admiration among his contemporaries; yet his music failed to endure, and rapidly went into decline after his death. He publ. about 60 works, among them 3 violin sonatas, 4 violin sonatinas, 2 string quartets, piano pieces, sacred works, and a number of lieder, a genre in which he excelled. His theoretical work Die Natur der Harmonik und Metrik (Leipzig, 1853; 2nd ed., 1873; Eng. tr., London, 1888) is an attempt to apply Hegel’s dialectical philosophy to the realm of music. It exercised considerable influence on the later development of German theory of harmony; among other German scholars, Riemann was influenced by it. Hauptmann’s other writings are Erläuterungen zu J. S. Bachs Kunst der Fuge (Leipzig, 1841; 2nd ed., 1861), Die Lehre von der Harmonik (ed. by O. Paul; Leipzig, 1868; 2nd ed., 1873), and Opuscula (misc. writings, ed. by E. Hauptmann; Leipzig, 1874). His letters to Spohr and others were ed. by F. Hiller (Leipzig, 1876). A. Coleridge publ. a selection, in Eng., of Hauptmann’s correspondence as Letters of a Leipzig Cantor (1892).


O. Paul, M. H., Eine Denkschrift zur Feier seines Siebzigjährigen Geburtstages am 13. Oktober 1862 (Leipzig, 1862); S. Krehl, M. H: Ein Dank- und Gedenkwort (Leipzig, 1918); R Rummenhöller, M. H. als Theoretiker (Wiesbaden, 1963); D. Jorgenson, M. H. of Leipzig (Lewiston, N.Y., 1986).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire