Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wolf Man

The fellow above is one Hugo Wolf born this day 1860 in Windischgratz, Slovenia. He was a child prodigy learning the piano and the violin by the age of four. However, young Hugo had a bit of a rebellious streak in him, and he was booted out of more than one school or conservatory due to his temper. After being expelled from the Vienna conservatory he begin to teach pupils music. It was that rebellious streak that had his father despairing of Hugo ever amounting to anything. Luckily papa Wolf was wrong, Hugo managed to get it together enough to compose hundreds of art songs known as Lieder. Although he did have to live the life of a starving artist, while he was composing this lovely music for the world. He did have a few patrons, one of which had a lovely wife named Melanie Kocherts with whom Hugo carried on a torrid affair. Walking a thin line there banging the old lady of the one guy that is keeping you off the dole, but Hugo and Fra Kocherts pulled it off with aplomb. None of their close friends or associates had any clue of the simmering love affairs they were carried on right under their noses. Great parts of this affair was carried on by each of them posting coded messages in a Vienna newspaper that allowed them to communicate with each other, and to plan their little trysts. He was eight years her junior, a small little man, who, by accounts, looked liked a small child with a glued on mustache (his beard was sparse because of his habit of plucking the hairs from it when he was nervous). Eventually Herr Kocherts caught on to the fact that his "music man" was playing more than just the violin, but the affair continued until Hugo's death of syphilis in 1903. The decline he suffered was quick horrid to read about his mind started to go as an result of the disease, he lost his ability to make music, and once tried to drown himself in a river. He eventually was placed in a Viennese asylum at his own request. Fra Kocherts met with a bad end as well, she visited Hugo until his death, and still tormented by her unfaithfulness to her husband, she committed suicide in 1906. So for living life in the pursuit of his muse, and for composing some lovely songs that are quite fun to listen to till this day, Hugo Wolf (March 13th, 1860-February 22nd 1903 at the age of 42), you are my (198th) hero of the day.

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