Josef Matthias Hauer: Romantische Phantasie op.37 (1925)

Josef Mattias Hauer (March 19, 1883 – September 22, 1959) was an Austrian composer and music theorist. He is most famous for developing, independent of and a year or two before Arnold Schoenberg, a method for composing with all 12 notes of the chromatic scale.

Hauer “detested all art that expressed ideas, programmes or feelings,” instead believing that it was “essential…to raise music to its highest…level,” a, “purely spiritual, supersensual music composed according to impersonal rules,” and many of his compositions reflect this in their direct, often athematic, ‘cerebral’ approach.

His twelve-tone music was balanced between the “obligatory rule” that each composition follow an arrangement of the total chromatic: “the ‘Constellation’ or “Grundgestalt’ (‘basic shape’),” and his often emphasized concept oftropes, or unordered arrangement of a pair of hexachords. [source]

Joseph Matthias Hauer, to judge from his writings and accounts of his social interactions with his contemporaries, was the Rodney Dangerfield of the Viennese serialists; he just couldn’t get any respect. Having developed a parallel but markedly individual system of serial tonal organization a little ahead of Arnold Schoenberg´s first published efforts in the genre, Hauer wanted recognition as the discoverer of dodecaphonic atonality, an attribute that would forever accrue to Schoenberg despite Hauer´s best efforts to the contrary. Mid-twentieth century critics regarded Hauer as a crackpot and his work sank into oblivion; it is only since the 1990s that any effort has been made on Hauer´s  behalf to get some of his music out on record and to permit the public to judge his relative worth. [source]

[read more in german]

Gottfried Rabl – Conductor

Radio Symphonieorchester Wien

Recorded 2004/2005.




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