Heuberger, Richard


Heuberger, Richard

Overture to Byron’s Kain Op. 16

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Richard Heuberger – Overture to Byron’s ‘Cain’ for Large Orchestra, Op. 16 (1883)

(b. Graz, 18. June 1850 – d. Vienna, 28. Oktober 1914)


Preface Richard Heuberger was an Austrian music critic and composer born in the city of Graz on June 18th, 1850. Despite his visibility and important career as a music critic, little is known about his childhood. What is known, however, is that he began his first music lessons at age ten at the Musikinstitut Buwa in Graz. From 1867 Heuberger decided to study engineering at the Technical College in Graz, while acting as a choirmaster for the student choir there. Although he was studying engineering at the time, Heuberger was still predominately devoted to his first love, music.1

In 1876, Heuberger decided to pursue music and moved to Vienna. There he became the choirmaster of the Wiener Akademischer Gesangsverein. Heuberger celebrated a breakthrough on January 21st 1877, when his music was performed in a stand-alone composition concert. His compositional output encompassed ballets, four operas, and several operettas. The most famous of which, Der Opernball (1898), an operetta, has become a mainstay in the German operetta repertoire. Though he enjoyed considerable success during his lifetime for his orchestral and choral works, today he is almost exclusively known for Der Opernball, especially the duet “Geh’n wir ins Chambre séparée” for soprano and mezzo soprano. Unfortunately, his stage works were not well received, and when he was offered to compose music for Die lustige Witwe (by Franz Lehár, 1905), he was unsuccessful, and as such, Franz Lehár took the job and succeeded.2 In 1878, Heuberger took the position of choirmaster of the Wiener Singakademie, which further propelled his career and allowed him to meet prominent figures at the time, such as the famous music critic Eduard Hanslick, as well as Johannes Brahms. Hanslick and Brahms were sympathetic to Heuberger, and positively influenced his career.

When Heuberger first met Brahms in 1873, he was intimidated, resulting in a missed opportunity to get to know the composer. “My timidity in the presence of famous people,” he writes, “caused me to content myself with the fewest possible words. The possibility of personal contact fell by the wayside, because after a few days Brahms left Gratwein”.3 In 1877 another opportunity presented itself to get to know Brahms through a mutual friend. “Professor [Theodor] Billroth organized at his home a grand musical evening [on 5 January 1877] at which choral works by Brahms and Goldmark were to be performed under the direction of both composers. At Brahms’s suggestion, I directed the preparations.”4 This would be the first of many collaborations between the two composers. …


Full preface / Komplettes Vorwort > HERE

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