Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Fugavergnügen, or the love of counterpoint, is a term I thought up when I was writing a review of some chamber music by Roy Harris. Bach had it, and so did Mendelssohn, Glazunov, and Reger. Schubert had his Fugavergnügen cut off: he had unrealized plans near the end of his short life to study fugue writing.

Hugo Kauder, the composer I quoted below, had serious Fugavergnügen. People even referred to what he liked to write as "Kauderpoint." When Kauder moved to Vienna from Moravia in 1905 to study engineering, he spent most his time studying newly-published scores of Josquin and other Flemish composers of the Renaissance that were in the Imperial Court Library. He kept writing counterpoint while his Viennese contemporaries were becoming famous for abandoning tonality. Kauder kept writing counterpoint after he moved to America in 1940.

In 1960 he wrote a textbook on counterpoint that I am eagerly awaiting to arrive, along with a bunch of his music, by way interlibrary loan. For those of you who, like me, have Fugavergnügen (either as listeners, practicing musicians, composers, or all three) I'll let you know all about my Kauder experience.

Just for the record, the only professional recording of Kauder's music (so far) is by the Euclid Quartet on Chandos. If you look at the worldcat you will see music for all kinds of instrumental and vocal combinations.

1 comment:

Christine Bethanne Johnson said...

I'm a pianist currently learning three of Kauder's works for the finals of the Hugo Kauder Competition in September. You are so right --- counterpoint is everywhere in his music! Also, lots of parallel 4ths, which sound like an Asian influence to me.

Stumbled upon your blog when I googled "Hugo Kauder." Really enjoyed reading your thoughts.