Mottl, Felix



Gifted German orchestra conductor; born at Unter St. Veit, near Vienna. As a boy, his beautiful soprano voice enabled him to enter the Lowenberg Konvikt, a preparatory school to the Imperial Court Chapel. Afterward, at Vienna Conservatory he studied conducting under Josef Hellmesberger, composition under Dessoff, theory under Bruckner and Scheuer and piano under Door, and took many prizes. Intrusted with the conductorship of the Academic Wagnerverein of Vienna, his talents for the work at once manifested themselves. In 1876 he was stage conductor of the NibelungenKanzlei, an organization which took charge of the rehearsals for the musical festival at Bayreuth. In 1880 he succeeded Dessoff as conductor of the Grand Ducal Opera House of Carlsruhe, a position which he held until 1903. He conducted the Philharmonic concerts until 1892. In 1886 he conducted the festival performance of Tristan and Isolde at Bayreuth so successfully that he was offered the position of chapelmaster of the Berlin Opera, an honor which he declined. In 1898 he rejected a similar offer from Munich. Besides this work he has also conducted successfully in London and Paris, and in 1903 and 1904 he conducted the performance of Parsifal given in New York. In 1904 he was made a director of the Royal Academy of Music at Berlin, and in 1907 at Munich he received the order of St. Michel of the second class from Prince Regent. He is one of the most enterprising of modern conductors and at Carlsruhe brought performances of the Royal Opera House up to a very high standard, producing all the Cycles of Berlioz and of Richard Wagner. As a conductor his work is distinguished by a careful mastery of detail and a conscientious rendition of the notes of the score rather than by any originality or force of interpretation.


Mottl has been successful as a composer. His opera, Agnes Bernauer, was given at Weimar in 1886 and his one-act opera, Fürst und Sanger, came out at Carlsruhe in 1893. He also wrote Ranim and a festival piece entitled Elberstein; the song cycle, Pan in Busch; and a string quartet.   He arranged for orchestra, Liszt's piano solo, St. Francis Preaching to the Birds; and also edited Cornelius* Barber of Bagdad and some of Berlioz's compositions.