Weingartner, Paul Felix



Great contemporary German conductor and eminent as composer and writer. A critic writing in The Outlook, says: "It is hard not to speak extravagantly of Weingartner's insight, taste and consummate skill as an orchestral conductor . . . his interpretation of a Beethoven symphony is like the opening of a door into a new world of music. He has the rare power of understanding composers of different periods and diverse temperaments. More than that, he has the power to evoke from the orchestra the music that he finds in the score. Among those who have set before the lovers of music in America the highest standards of musicianship, no one has surpassed Felix Weingartner." Paul Felix Weingartner, nobleman of Münzberg, was born at Zara, the capital of Dalmatia, in 1863, received his first musical education from his mother, studied under Wilhelm Meyer at Gratz, Styria. He continued his studies at Leipsic, here won the Mozart prize, was entrusted with the direction of van Beethoven's Second Symphony at a public performance and resolved to become a conductor. The Leipsic days were followed by a season of study at Weimar, where he met with warm encouragement from Liszt, then there was a short career as pianist. At the age of twenty-one he was offered and accepted the post of chapelmaster at Konigsberg, later served as chapelmaster at Dantzic, Hamburg, Frankfort and Mannheim. His first real opportunity came in conducting performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen at Frankfort, after which he gained fame steadily; in 18Q1 was called to Berlin to conduct the Royal Opera and Royal Symphony concerts. Owing to ill-health he resigned from the former post in 1897, but retained the latter, kept this post after removal to Munich, 1898, to accept the position of leader of the Kaim Orchestra, recently succeeded Gustav Mahler as director of the Vienna Court Opera. In concert conducting Herr von Weingartner has made frequent tours on the Continent and is well known in England. He has twice visited America, accepted the invitation of the New York Philharmonic Society to conduct its concerts in the season of 1903-1904, and came again the following season. As conductor he is preeminent, for while his compositions are very effective they are not marked by any strong individuality. He is the author of over ninety songs; chamber-music for strings; the operas Genesius, Orestes, Sakuntala, Malawika; two symphonic poems, King Lear, Geflide der Seligen; two symphonies; pieces for the piano and other work. He always writes or arranges his own librettos, is ultramodern in his tendencies, is author of the following writings: Die Lehre von der Wiedergeburt und das Musikalische Drama; Uber das Dirifieren; Bayreuth, 1876-1896; Die ymphonie nach Beethoven; Carl Spitteler, ein künstlerisches Erlebnis.