Hauer, Josef Matthias
Hauer, Josef Matthias
Hauer, Josef Matthias, significant Austrian composer and music theorist; b. Wiener-Neustadt, near Vienna, March 19, 1883; d. Vienna, Sept. 22, 1959. After attending a college for teachers, he became a public school instructor; at the same time, he studied music. An experimenter by nature, with a penchant for mathematical constructions, he developed a system of composition based on “tropes,” or patterns, which aggregated to thematic formations of 12 different notes. As early as 1912, he publ, a piano piece, entitled Nomos (Law), which contained the germinal principles of 12-tone music; in his theoretical publications, he elaborated his system in greater detail. These were Über die Klangfarbe, op.13 (Vienna, 1918; aug. as Vom Wesen des Musikalischen, Leipzig and Vienna, 1920; 3rd ed., rev. and aug., 1966); Deutung des Melos: Eine Frage an die Künstler und Denker unserer Zeit (Leipzig, Vienna, and Zürich, 1923); Vom Melos zur Pauke: Eine Einführung in die Zwölfronmusik (Vienna, 1925; 2nd ed., 1967); Zwölftontechnik: Die Lehre von den Tropen (Vienna, 1926; 2nd ed., 1953); Zwölfronspiel-Neujahr 1947 (Vienna, 1962). Hauer vehemently asserted his priority in 12-tone composition; he even used a rubber stamp on his personal stationery proclaiming himself the true founder of the 12-tone method. This claim was countered, with equal vehemence, but with more justification, by Schoenberg; indeed, the functional basis of 12-tone composition in which the contrapuntal and harmonic structures are derived from the unifying tone row did not appear until Schoenberg formulated it and put it into practice in 1924. Hauer lived his entire life in Vienna, working as a composer, conductor, and teacher. Despite its forbidding character, his music attracted much attention.
dramatic: Opera: Salambo (1930; Austrian Radio, Vienna, March 19, 1983); Die schwarze Spinne (1932; Vienna, May 23, 1966). VOCAL: Lateinische Messe for Chorus, Chamber Orch., and Organ (1926; unfinished; Vienna, June 18, 1972); Wandlungen, oratorio for 6 Soloists, Chorus, and Chamber Orch. (1927; Baden-Baden, April 16, 1928); 2 cantatas: Emilie vor ihrem Brauttag for Alto and Orch. (1928) and Der Menschen Weg for 4 Soloists, Chorus, and Orch., after Hölderlin (1934; Vienna, June 1953); Vom Leben, after Hölderlin, for Narrator, Small Chorus, and Small Orch. (1928). other works:Nomos (Sym. No. 1) for 1 or 2 Pianos or Orch. (1912-13; version for 2 Pianos, Sankt Polten, June 7, 1913); Nomos (Sym. No. 2) for Piano or Small Orch. (1913); Nomos, 7 little piano pieces (1913); Apokalyptische Phantasie (Sym. No. 3) for 2 Pianos or Orch. (1913; version for 2 Pianos, Wiener-Neustadt, May 9, 1914; version for Orch., Graz, Oct. 21, 1969); Oriental Tale for Piano (1916); Nomos for Piano and String Ensemble (1919); Quintet for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano (1924); 6 string quartets (1924–26); 8 suites for Orch. (1924; 1924; 1925, with Baritone; 1926; 1926; 1926, also for String Quartet; 1926; 1927); Romantische Fantasie for Small Orch. (1925); 7 Variations for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Double Bass (1925); Symphonische Stücke (Kammerstücke) for Strings, Piano, and Harmonium (1926); Sinfonietta (1927; Berlin, Dec. 13, 1928); Violin Concerto (1928; Berlin, Nov. 12, 1929); Piano Concerto (1928); Divertimento for Small Orch. (1930); Konzertstücke for Orch. (1932; from the opera Die schwarze Spinne); Tanzphantasien Nos. 1 and 2 for 4 Soloists and Orch. (1933) and Nos. 3-7 for Chamber Orch. (1934); 2 Tanzsuiten for 9 Solo Instruments (1936); Labyrinthischer Tanz for Piano, 4-Hands (1952); Langsamer Walzer for Orch. (1953); Chinesisches Streichquartet (1953); Hausmusik for Piano, 4-Hands (1958). Also a series of pieces begun in 1940, each ostentatiously bearing the subtitle Zwölftonspiel, for orch. and chamber combinations of all descriptions—their total number exceeding 100—with each one designated by the month and year composed.
H. Picht, J. M. H., Ein Vorkämpfer geistiger Musikauffassung (Stuttgart, 1934); M. Lichtenfeld, Untersuchungen zur Theorie der Zwölftontechnik bei J. M. H. (Regensburg, 1964); W. Szmolyan, J. M. H. (Vienna, 1965); M. Keyton, A Mathematical Construction of the “Tropen” Occurring in H.’s Musical System (thesis, La. State Univ., 1976); H. Gotte, Die Kompositionstechniken J. M. H.s: Unter besonderer Berücksichtigung deterministischer Verfahren (Kassel, 1989).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire