Klughardt, August


Klughardt, August

Symphony No. 3 in D major, op. 37

SKU: 1900 Category:


August Klughardt

(b. Köthen, 30 November 1847 — d. Dessau, 3 August 1902)

Symphony No. 3 in D major, op. 37 (1879)

I Lebhaft (p. 1)
II Langsam (p. 82)
III Scherzo. Mäßig (p. 104) – ein wenig langsamer (p. 111) –
Erstes Tempo (p. 117) – etwas lebhafter (p. 124)
IV Munter (p. 138) – Etwas breiter, aber nicht schleppend (p. 155) –
Tempo I (p. 158) – Lebhaft und kräftig (p. 175/76) – etwas breiter (p. 198) –
Tempo I (p. 200) – Lebhafter (p. 205)

Until a few years ago August Klughardt was completely forgotten, apart from a late wind quintet that has long formed part of the core repertoire of wind ensembles. Since then four of his five symphonies (he withdrew the first himself), his concertos, and a rich body of chamber music have appeared on CD, and his ingratiatingly melodious, readily accessible, impeccably crafted music, poised between the competing currents of his day, is heard ever more often in concert. Klughardt’s masterly counterpoint, excellent orchestration, and clear sense of form (even in unusual solutions) sound captivating even when the degree of originality is slightly lower and his melodic invention not exactly unique.

Klughardt produced his first compositions at the age of ten for the musical circle at Cöthen’s grammar school. In 1863 his family moved to Dresden, where he learned piano from the court conductor Eduard Thiele (1812-1895) and music theory from Ferdinand Diedicke (1836-1903). A year later he gave his public début as a pianist. After completing his school leaving certificate in 1866 he undertook further studies in Dresden, where he increasingly stood out as a composer. From 1867 he was employed as a conductor, first at Posen Town Theater (1867-68), then in the municipal theaters of Neustrelitz and Lübeck. From 1869 to 1873 he conducted at the court theater in Weimar, where he befriended Franz Liszt. He then returned to Neustrelitz, where he was appointed music director in 1880. In 1882 he was offered the position of court conductor in Dessau, a position he held for two decades until his death. In 1892-93 he conducted Dessau’s first production of Der Ring des Nibelungen; in 1898 he was inducted into the Prussian Academy of Arts; and in 1900 he received an honorary doctorate from Erlangen University. He turned down an offer to head the Berlin Sing-Akademie, allowing Georg Schünemann (1866-1952) to guide the fate of this hallowed choral institution for half a century.

Although Klughardt was a confirmed adherent of the New German School associated with Liszt and Wagner, his music nevertheless preserved a conservative element in emulation of Mendelssohn and Schumann, albeit in a distinctive assimilated fashion. As the present symphony makes abundantly clear, these almost antithetical elements led to highly original solutions which, despite the smoothness of the inflection, were thoroughly “bold” by the standards of the day.

The first of Klughardt’s symphonies, in F minor, was composed in 1871 and bore the title Waldleben (Forest Life). Later he withdrew it, and its whereabouts are unknown today. It was followed by a Programmatic Symphony No. 1 in D minor, op. 27, subtitled “Lenore” (1872); Symphony No. 2 in F minor, op. 34 (1876); Symphony No. 3 in D major, op. 37 (1879); Symphony No. 4 (1890); and Symphony No. 5 in C minor, op. 71, a reworking of a lost string sextet in C-sharp minor, op. 58 (1892). His other surviving orchestral works include the overture Sophonisbe, op. 12 (1869); a Konzertstück in F major for oboe and orchestra, op. 18; a Romance for bass clarinet and orchestra; the patriotic victory overture Die Wacht am Rhein, op. 26 (1871); the concert overtures Im Frühling in E major, op. 30, and G major, op. 45 (1884); a Suite in A minor, op. 40 (1883); the once highly popular and recently rediscovered Cello Concerto in A minor, op. 59 (ca. 1890); the suite Auf der Wanderschaft, op. 67 (1896), originally written for solo piano; the great Violin Concerto in D major, op. 68 (1895); and the Festival Overture for the Centenary of the Dessau Court Theater, op. 78 (1898). He also composed four operas: Mirjam, op. 15 (premièred in Weimar, 11 April 1871), Iwein (Neustrelitz, 28 March 1878), Gudrun (Neustrelitz, 31 January 1881), and Die Hochzeit des Mönchs (Dessau, 19 November 1886). His later years brought forth two oratorios: Die Zerstörung Jerusalems, op. 75 (ca. 1898), on a libretto by his subsequent biographer Leopold Gerlach, and Judith, op. 85 (ca. 1900). His surviving chamber music includes the again highly popular fantasy-pieces on Lenau’s Schilflieder for oboe, viola, and piano, op. 28 (1872); a Piano Quintet in G minor, op. 43; two string quartets in F major (op. 42) and D major (op. 61); a String Quintet in G minor (op. 62); and the C-major Wind Quintet of 1898 (op. 79).
If Klughardt’s Second Symphony (op. 34) and the opera Iwein (completed in 1879) lend expression to his enthusiasm for the style of Richard Wagner, the Third Symphony, a fundamentallly cheerful and life-affirming work composed immediately after Iwein, returns to a deliberately classical-romantic idiom. This was duly noted by Hermann Kretzschmar in his much-consulted concert guide Führer durch den Concertsaal (1898): “His music is high-spirited, brisk, graceful, and vigorous. It toys with the notes, loves concertante episodes, is idiomatically written for the instruments, and resembles Lachner in its fondness for Franz Schubert.” As if to prove the point, the symphony’s final movement is indeed marked “Munter” – high-spirited.

On 3 November 1879, immediately after its completion, Klughardt gave his Symphony No. 3 in D major (op. 37) its première performance in Neustrelitz, where he was principal conductor of the local orchestra. The Dessau première took place on 6 May 1881 during a “special concert with Klughardt of Strelitz,” again with the composer at the conductor’s desk. To quote Klughardt’s own report: “The orchestra glowed with enthusiasm; the musicians rehearsed attentively without tiring and gave their best in the evening performance. I conducted as always when the urge strikes me. Each movement received unrestrained applause. At the end everything was topsy-turvy: the audience and the orchestra applauded as one. Faced with such circumstances, I had to step into the spotlight many times, and people only left when I no longer appeared.”

Klughardt conducted the Third Symphony once again on 9 December 1882 at his inaugural concert as the newly appointed principal conductor of the Dessau Hofkapelle (now the Anhalt Philharmonic). He went on to give several repeat performances of this highly successful work in the two remaining decades of his career. It was heard in Dresden (under Ernst von Schuch) and in Berlin (under Robert Radecke and Karl Klindworth) as well as Rostock, Magdeburg, Jena, Oldenburg, Riga, Kassel, Amsterdam, Bremen, Aachen, Leipzig, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Sondershausen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Vienna, and Munich, to name only a few. At its Berlin première, the critic of the Berliner Börsenzeitung of December 1882 exclaimed, “In the course of the past decade we have never witnessed such a unanimous success in these parts.”

Nevertheless, silence quickly descended upon this music during the twentieth century, much in the same way as happened to, say, the music of Robert Volkmann, Franz Lachner, and Hermann Goetz. After the First World War, the piece vanished entirely from the repertoire until March 2000, when, for the first time, it was recorded in Dessau Theater for the cpo label by Golo Berg and the Anhalt Philharmonic. We wish to thank Ronald Müller of the Anhalt Philharmonic, Dessau, for kindly supplying much useful information. The present volume faithfully reproduces the study score published in 1883 by Bote & Bock of Berlin – an edition that has been out of print for over a century – and is intended to stimulate renewed interest in this uninhibitedly playful, expertly crafted, and brilliantly orchestrated music.

Translation: Bradford Robinson

For performance material please contact the publishers Boosey & Hawkes, Berlin (www.boosey.de or www.boosey.com).


Score No.






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