cover of book

Hugo Wolf: Letters To Melanie Kochert
by Hugo Wolf
contributions by Franz Grasberger and Louise McClelland Urban
University of Wisconsin Press, 2003
Paper: 978-0-299-19444-4
Library of Congress Classification ML410.W8A4 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 782.42168092

This is a love story. It tells of an extraordinary epistolary relationship between Hugo Wolf, one of the greatest masters of the German art song, whose dedication to the poetic spirit of his music was equaled only by Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann, and Melanie Köchert, the wife of a prominent Viennese jeweler with whom Wolf shared a lifelong emotional, spiritual, and artistic bond.

Wolf’s letters to Köchert—he wrote 245 between 1887 and 1899—were composed during a period of almost unprecedented cultural upheaval in Europe, in the shadow of Vienna during the era of Freud, Mahler, and Klimt. They reveal Wolf at his most optimistic, celebrating his concert successes and the solitude he believed was so precious to his ability to compose. They follow Wolf through times of overwhelming despair, when his musical failures left him profoundly alienated, overcome, as he revealed to Köchert, "by a feeling of unspeakable emptiness and desolation." And they follow Wolf as he struggled to compose the 250 astounding art songs that are his creative legacy, and his almost simultaneous descent into madness.

Hugo Wolf: Letters to Melanie Köchert, sensitively translated by Wolf scholar and interpreter Louise McClelland Urban, is a literary and musical even of the highest order

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