Stolz, Robert (Elisabeth)

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Stolz, Robert (Elisabeth)

Stolz, Robert (Elisabeth), noted Austrian conductor and composer; b. Graz, Aug. 25, 1880; d. Berlin, June 27, 1975. His father was the conductor and pedagogue Jacob Stolz and his mother the pianist Ida Bondy; after initial studies with them, he was a pupil of R. Fuchs at the Vienna Cons. and of Humperdinck in Berlin. He became a répétiteur in Graz in 1897, and after serving as second conductor in Marburg an der Drau (1898–1902), he was first conductor in Salzburg (1902–03) and at the German Theater in Brunn (1903–05). From 1905 to 1917 he was chief conductor of the Theater an der Wien, where he conducted the premieres of many Viennese operettas. He became successful as a composer of popular songs in the Viennese tradition; his first success as an operetta composer came with his Der Tanz ins Glück (Vienna, Oct. 18, 1921). In 1924 he went to Berlin, where he eventually won success as a composer for film musicals. His disdain for the Nazi regime led him to leave Germany in 1936 and then Austria in 1938, but not before he helped to smuggle numerous Jews out of the clutches of the Nazis prior to leaving for Paris in 1938. In 1940 he went to the U.S. and was active as a conductor and as a composer for Hollywood films. In 1946 he returned to Vienna, where he conducted and composed until his last years. He possessed an extraordinary facility for stage music and composed about 65 operettas and musicals in a typical Viennese manner; of these the most famous is 2 Herzen im 3/4 Takt or Der verlorene Walzer (Zürich, Sept. 30, 1933). Other operettas are: Die lustigen Weiber von Wien (Munich, 1909); Das Glücksmädel (1910); Das Lumperl (Graz, 1915); Lang, lang, ist’s her (Vienna, March 28, 1917); Die Tanzgräfin (Vienna, May 13, 1921); Mädi (Berlin, April 1, 1923); Ein Ballroman oder Der Kavalier von zehn bis vier (Vienna, Feb. 29, 1924); Eine einzige Nacht (Vienna, Dec. 23, 1927); Peppinä (1931); Wenn die kleinen Veilchen blühen (The Hague, April 1, 1932); Venus im Seide (Zürich, Dec. 10, 1932); Der verlorene Walzer (Zürich, Sept. 30, 1933); Gruzi (Zürich, 1934); Frühling im Prater (Vienna, Dec. 22, 1949); Karneval in Wien (1950); Trauminsel (Bregenz, July 21, 1962); Frühjahrs-Parade (Vienna, March 25, 1964). He wrote about 100 film scores and nearly 2, 000 lieder. His other works include waltzes, marches, and piano pieces. After he was forced to leave Austria, he composed a funeral march for Hitler (at a time when Hitler was, unfortunately, very much alive).


G. Holm, Im Dreivierteltakt durch die Welt (Linz, 1948); W.-D. Brümmel and F. van Booth, R. S.: Melodie eines Lebens (Stuttgart, 1967); O. Herbrich, R. S.: König der Melodie (Vienna and Munich, 1975).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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