Lach, Robert, eminent Austrian musicologist and composer; b. Vienna, Jan. 29, 1874; d. Salzburg, Sept. 11, 1958. He studied law at the Univ. of Vienna, but in 1894 he entered the Austrian civil administration without obtaining his degree. He was a composition pupil of R. Fuchs at the Cons, of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (1893–99), and also studied philosophy and musicology at the Univ. there with Wallaschek and Adler (1896–99). He completed his study of musicology with Rietsch at the German Univ. in Prague (Ph.D., 1902, with the diss. Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der ornamentalen Melopoie; publ. in Leipzig, 1913). In 1903 he left his government post and in 1911 joined the staff of Vienna’s Hofbibliothek; from 1913 to 1918 he was director of its music collection; remained in that post when it became the Staatsbibliothek (1918–20). From 1915 he lectured at the Univ. of Vienna. He was prof, of musicology and chairman of its Musicological Inst. (1927–39), and also prof, at the Vienna Academy of Music (from 1924). He recorded for the Phonogram Archives of Vienna the songs of Russian prisoners of World War I (with particular emphasis on Asian and Caucasian nationalities), and publ. numerous papers on these melodies. He was pensioned in 1939, and lived in Vienna in retirement, devoting his time to the compilation of oriental glossaries (Babylonian, Sumerian, Egyptian, etc.). In 1954 he became general ed. of the new Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich. In addition to his books, he contributed articles to various music journals; also wrote philosophical poems and mystical plays. Among his compositions are 10 syms., 25 string quartets, 14 string quintets, 8 string sextets, other chamber music, 8 masses, cantatas, etc.
(all publ. in Vienna): Sebastian Sailers “Schöpfung” in der Musik (1916); W.A. Mozart als Theoretiker (1918); Zur Geschichte des Gesellschaftstanzes im 18. Jahrhundert (1920); Eine Tiroler Liederhandschrift aus dem 18. Jahrhundert (1923); Zur Geschichte des musikalischen Zunftwesens (1923); Die vergleichende Musikwissenschaft: Ihre Methoden und Probleme (1924); Das Konstruktionsprinzip der Wiederholung in Musik, Sprache und Literatur (1925); Vergleichende Kunst-und Musikwissenschaft (1925); Die Bruckner-Akten des Wiener Universitätsarchivs (1926); ed. Gesänge russicher Kriegsgefangener (1926–52); Geschichte der Staatsakademie und Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Wien (1927); Das Ethos in der Musik FranzSchuberts (1928).
W. Graf, ed., R.L.: Persönlichkeit und Werk (Vienna, 1954).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire