Max Kalbeck

Max Kalbeck ( born January 4, 1850 in Breslau, † May 4, 1921 in Vienna ) was a German writer on music, music critic and translator.

Life and performance

Max Kalbeck ( he also wrote under the pseudonym " Jeremiah clearly ") was a choirboy in 1861 in Breslau under Leopold Damrosch and 1867 church singer. From 1860 until graduation in 1869 he attended high school at St. Mary Magdalene in his hometown. At his father's request, he then studied law in Breslau. In 1872 he joined the University of Munich, took there the subjects philology and philosophy, and studied at the Royal School of Music in Munich with Joseph Rheinberger (composition), with Franz Wüllner ( choral singing, orchestral playing score reading ) and Joseph Walter ( violin). Back in Breslau he worked from 1874 first art and music critic for the Silesian newspaper, then at the Breslauer Zeitung and then assistant manager at the Silesian Museum of Fine Arts in Wroclaw. 1880 Kalbeck came on the recommendation of Eduard Hanslick in Vienna, first as a critic for the Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, the press ( 1883-1890 ) and from 1886 until his death at the Neues Wiener Tageblatt. He became one of the most influential critics in Austria and was, as Hanslick, a fierce opponent of the music of Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner and Hugo Wolf, whose works were then assigned to the New German School.

On the other hand Kalbeck, again as Hanslick, a close friend and partisan of Brahms, whom he had met in 1874. The most important power applies its 1904-1914 published extensive biography of this composer, which is an essential source of music history until today, notwithstanding some time-bound errors and the sometimes very subjective colored illustrations. Kalbeck also published several volumes of Brahms's correspondence, along with 1918 letters of poet Gottfried Keller and Paul Heyse, continue two collections of own reviews.

In addition to the translation of opera libretti in particular by Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Puccini and Smetana wrote Kalbeck new librettos, among others for Mozart's Bastien and Bastienne Finta Giardiniera and La; continue to he revised for Gustav Mahler's productions at the Vienna Court Opera those of Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro. Kalbeck also contributed poems for the songs in the operetta by Johann Strauss Jabuka ( son). Two of Kalbecks own poems were set to music by Brahms ( the piano song sleepwalker op 86.3 and Last luck op 104.3 for mixed choir a cappella ).

Max Kalbecks son is the actor and director Paul Kalbeck.

In 1925 in Vienna Waehring (18th district) was named the Kalbeckgasse after him.

Contemporary reception

Karl Kraus remarked in his satirical magazine torch over Kalbeck in his own way:

"He wrote some poor lyrical poems and some already delivered lost operetta texts, exotic operas has reportedly translated into German - Alois Obrist leads into his in Lessmann 's music newspaper (Berlin- Charlottenburg :), bad opera German ' published essays under the dissuasive examples, a considerable number of Kalbeck 's spring at -, has an irreverent, editing 'of Don Juan dared probably also enjoyed some music lessons and has been since he neither was good for a poet to the musician, newspaper critic of literature and music. As such, he joined the ranks of the Vienna basin diameter, which merely by differ from that of Wagner 's that they do not even often know the tablature, spreading as the views of his patron Hanslick, hung so as not to miss the Überfuhr to immortality, to the Frackschöße Johannes Brahms and seemed willing, everything that dared to feel next to this in tones, a vengeance, on a whim, to sacrifice a fun. Because in this Viennese mood, indulging in a great work of art without hesitation for a little joke, the Philistines Breslauer has settled admirably. "


  • Max Kalbeck: Johannes Brahms. 4 volumes ( 8/2 volumes), 1904-1914; Facsimile reprint Schneider / Tutzing 1976 ( Digitalisat. In: ).