KARL GOLDMARK (1830 - 1915)
Hungarian by birth, Karl Goldmark made his principal career in Vienna after earlier years during which he earned his living as a violinist in theatre orchestras and as a teacher. Largely self-taught as a composer, he had his first success with his String Quartet, Op. 8, in 1860. He joined in the establishment of a Wagner Society in Vienna and gradually assumed a position of great importance in the musical life of the city.
Goldmark’s opera Die Königin von Saba (‘The Queen of Sheba’) enjoyed considerable popularity also in Italy, its musical idiom influenced to some extent by the music of the synagogue with which the composer was familiar from his childhood. Other operas were less successful, although his opera based on Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale exemplified a form of stage work more familiar from Humperdinck.
In addition to two symphonies and two violin concertos, Goldmark wrote a series of concert overtures and the popular Rustic Wedding Symphony.
Goldmark wrote a series of works for conventional chamber ensembles, duos, trios, quartets and quintets, the later compositions showing signs of other contemporary influences within the prescribed forms.