August Klughardt, classical music composer

August Klughardt


August Friedrich Martin Klughardt (November 30, 1847 – August 3, 1902) was a German composer and conductor.

Klughardt, who was born in Köthen, took his first piano and music theory lessons at the age of 10. Soon, he began to compose his first pieces, which were performed by a music circle Klughardt had founded himself at school. In 1863, his family moved to Dessau. One year later, Klughardt gave his debut as pianist.

After having finished school, he moved to Dresden in 1866. There, he took further lessons and brought his compositions to the public for the first time. One year later, he began to earn his living as a conductor. At first, he worked at the municipal theatre in Posen (Poznań) for one season, then in Neustrelitz for one season, and finally in Lübeck for several months. From 1869 to 1873, he worked at the court theatre in Weimar. There, he met Franz Liszt, which was very important for his creative development. In 1873, he returned to Neustrelitz where he became chief conductor. He was appointed manager in 1880. In 1876, he visited the first Bayreuth Festival.

From 1882 to the end of his life, he was director of music at the court in Dessau. In 1892 and 1893, he conducted Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. He received many distinctions in his last years: he was appointed member of the Berlin Academy of Arts in 1898 and he was made honorary doctor by the University of Erlangen. He was also asked to direct the Singakademie in Berlin, but he rejected this offer. Klughardt died suddenly in Roßlau at the age of 54.

Klughardt's meeting with Liszt established his enthusiasm for the music of the Neudeutsche Schule around Wagner and Liszt. Indeed, his works reflect some of their conceptions. Nevertheless, Klughardt did not shy away from keeping up genres which Wagner and Liszt rejected. He wrote six symphonies and a lot of chamber music. Likewise, he did not compose a single symphonic poem, a genre that was propagated by Liszt, but several more old-fashioned programmatic overtures. In fact, Robert Schumann's influence is probably more obvious in Klughardt's works.

He intended to create a synthesis of these dissimilar tendencies. In his operas, he used Wagner's leitmotif technique, but he held to the older number opera instead of Wagner's through-composed music-drama. Some of his compositions show Klughardt as a child of his times, for example his choral work Die Grenzberichtigung (The correction of the frontier), Op. 25, which was composed when Germany won the Franco-Prussian war in 1870/71. Altogether, Klughardt must be considered as a rather conservative composer in spite of his interest in more modern tendencies. Today, most of his output is nearly forgotten. Only his Violoncello concerto, his Schilflieder (Reed Songs) and his Wind quintet are played from time to time.


Composer Title Date Action
August Klughardt Schilflieder: Five Fantasy Pieces for Piano, Oboe, and Viola, Op. 28 01/09/2013 Play Add to playlist