Hermann Gustav Goetz
, December 7 1840
, died Hottingen
, December 3 1876
) was a German composer
After studying in Berlin, he moved to Switzerland in 1863. After ten years spent as a critic, pianist and conductor as well, he spent the last three years of his life composing.
Goetz's compositions include a symphony
, two piano concertos
, a violin concerto
in one movement, much piano music, a piano trio
, piano quartet
, piano quintet
, and sonata
for piano four-hands (two players). There are also two operas
, Der Widerspänstigen Zähmung based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew
and Francesca da Rimini
based on Dante
Goetz, the son of a salesman, came into contact with music early in his life. However, he did not receive his first serious piano lesson until 1857 — although he already had begun to compose some years before. At the end of the 1850s, he began to study for a degree
, but broke this off after three terms to study at the Stern conservatory
in Berlin, where he studied piano
with Hans von Bülow
. In 1862 he successfully graduated
from the conservatory.
In the following year, Goetz was appointed as city organist of Winterthur in Switzerland thanks to the assistance of Carl Reinecke, where he taught the piano and began to make his name as a composer. In 1868 he married, and two years later moved to the village of Hottingen, today a suburb of Zurich, but remained employed in Winterthur until 1872. Between 1870 and 1874, he wrote reviews for a music magazine.
In the last years of his life, Goetz had to withdraw from teaching and concert performance due to the increasing seriousness of his tuberculosis, from which he had suffered from the 1850s and from which he would eventually die.
Although Goetz showed active interest in the important artistic trends of his own time (on the one hand Liszt
, on the other Brahms
), his own compositional style was more influenced by Mozart
, and to a lesser degree by Schumann
. Goetz's music is defined by lyricism and great clarity, and in general terms can be defined as quiet and introverted
. Goetz almost completely avoided spectacular effects. Great mastery of compositional technique is characteristic of Goetz's style, which is particularly apparent in the connectedness of motifs and the technical depth of movements.
For a long time, Goetz was almost forgotten, although Gustav Mahler performed a number of his works; only since the 1990s have his works been regarded once more as of importance.
Goetz was no radical forger of new musical paths, but rather a composer in total control of his compositional technique, and whose works through their high standard give lie to the labelling of Goetz as a composer of the lower order.
- Orchestral pieces
- Symphony in E minor (1866, only fragments survive)
- Symphony in F major Op. 9 (1873)
- Spring Overture Op. 15 (1864)
- Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major (1861)
- Piano Concerto No. 2 in B major Op. 18 (1867)
- Sketches of a third piano concerto in D major
- Violin Concerto in G major Op. 22 (1868)
- Vocal pieces
- Chamber music
- Piano music
- 2 Sonatinos (F major, E flat major) Op. 8 (1871)
- Lose Blätter (Loose Sheets) Op. 7 (1864–69)
- Genrebilder (Genre Paintings) Op. 13 (1870–76)
- Four handed sonata for piano in D major (from 1855)
- Four handed sonata for piano in G minor Op. 17 (1865)
- Eduard Kreuzhage, Hermann Goetz: Sein Leben und seine Werke, Leipzig 1916 (in German).