|FRONT FLY (written 1966)
Dr. Ernst Roth has spent a lifetime in music and there can be few people
now living with a greater knowledge and experience of the art itself and
of the great creative figures of the past sixty years. Born in Prague in
1896, he studied the piano under Alfredo Pellegrini and Karel Hoffmeister,
and in 1922 he entered the great music publishing house of Universal Edition,
where from 1928 to 1938 he was head of the Publications Department. In 1938
he joined Boosey & Hawkes in London and is now Chairman of their publishing
company. In this capacity he has been publisher, counsellor and friend to
such distinguished composers as Richard Strauss and Stravinsky, Bartok, Kodaly
and Benjamin Britten. He is therefore that almost unique figure in the world
of music, both l'homme d'esprit and l'homme d'affaires.
In the first part of this remarkable book Dr. Roth looks at the vast changes
that have come over both serious and popular music with the arrival of the
mechanical and electronic age and at the commercial implications of these
changes in the complex matters of copyright and performing rights; he discusses
with special authority the many problems which now confront music publishers
and composers alike. In the second part of the book he writes about the art
of music itself and particularly about 'new' music. He gives the reader some
fascinating personal reminiscences of the great composers who have been such
an intimate part of his life: of Richard Strauss's last unhappy years; of
Stravinsky and the comic story of the first performance of Rake's Progress;
of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern; of Prokofiev and KodMy; of the withdrawn,
taciturn genius of Bart6k; and of Benjamin Britten. In writing of the new
music of Boulez and Stockhausen and of the lesser, though by no means
inarticulate, innovators, he is forthright, outspoken and controversial.
The reader is left in no doubt that, for Ernst Roth, Stravinsky is the last
protagonist of the golden age of music. Yet he is no philistine and accepts
new music without approving of it. As he himself says in his book, 'New music
is neither the destruction nor the salvation of the art.'
This is an important book, full of wit and wisdom and of the accumulated
experience of a highly civilised man.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Ernst Roth was born in Prague in 1896. He received his first piano lessons
at the age of five from Alfredo Pellegrini of the Prague Conservatoire and
subsequently went to Prague University to study law, music and philosophy.
After graduating as a Doctor of Law, he moved to Vienna where he read music
at Vienna University with Guido Adler. In 1922 he entered the music publishing
house Wiener Philharmonische Verlag and six years later became head of the
Publications Department of its parent company, Universal Edition. There he
was responsible, among other things, for the new revisions of the piano works
of Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms, and of an anthology of music of
one hundred volumes.
In 1938 Dr. Roth joined Boosey & Hawkes in London as assistant to the
late Ralph Hawkes. In 1949 he was appointed General Manager, was elected
to the board the following year and afterwards became Chairman of the firm's
publishing company. At Boosey & Hawkes he started and built up the series
of Hawkes Pocket Scores, writing the analyses for over a hundred scores.
He was responsible for publishing the later works of Richard Strauss (in
particular the complete edition of his songs in four volumes) of Bartok,
Stravinsky and Kodaly. He also edited and arranged the works for wind instruments
of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert, and has translated into German over
200 songs and operas of Britten, Walton and Martinu. Since 1959 he has been
Vice-President of the Music Section of the International Publishers' Association.
Dr. Roth has contributed many articles on musical and historical subjects
to publications throughout Europe and is the author of four books, also published
Clearly this material is copyright . This is the first time I have knowingly
published anything on this website without the appropriate clearances and
permissions. In spite of approaching Boosey and Hawkes and Cassell
I have been unable to trace the Roth family to seek permission.
This book is fascinating and illuminating and of historical importance
and being out of print I felt publication here was merited. I do hope that
this will lead to contact with the family being established.
Len Mullenger (2001)
In 2008 I received the following:
Dear Mr Mullenger
I recently came across your site and
the reference to Ernst Roths book,
The Business of Music. Although I never
met Ernst I was lucky enough to be the
lawyer and friend of his wife, Kate, and
was also the executrix of her will. They
had no children or close family and their
only relatives lived abroad.
Kates obsession in her later years
was to ensure that Ernsts life and
work should be remembered and preserved.
She would have been thrilled to find his
book on the world wide web.