Kauder was born in Moravia - now part of the Czech Republic. He
made a career for himself in Vienna but the Nazi insurgency compelled
his departure in 1940. Having settled in New York he began a second
life as composer and teacher. He wrote 19 string quartets, more
than 200 other instrumental works and 100 vocal settings ranging
over James Joyce, Swinburne, Nietzsche and Goethe. There is a
Kauder website: www.hugokauder.com
These recordings radiate a supremely surging commitment. There
is no suggestion of a dutiful read-through here. We start with
the withering intensity of the First Quartet threaded through
with nostalgia and flirting with dissonance and fugal flounce.
Its last movement closes with the explosively resounding protest
of the first. The Second Quartet, also in three movements, was
written as a wedding present for his wife. It is tender, passionate
and open-textured and reminded me of Vaughan Williams’ Lark
. The second movement has the flightiness and pleasure
in melody of Frank Bridge with a folksy quality. The work sports
a variations finale. Its successor is a theme and variations on
Czech folksong: Oh love, dear love how fickle you are
It develops considerable passionate heat. The yet more intense
Fourth Quartet was premiered by the Rosé Quartet in 1930 and is
in five movements.
Kauder, at least on this evidence, is no Schoenberg-adherent.
He is a polished and sincere practitioner of the instrumental
creative art. He adds to this a splendidly indulged penchant for
melody that for me places him alongside the pastoral singers of
the British Isles. If you enjoy Bridge, early Howells and the
pastoral RVW you will love this knowingly engaging and vivacious
music. What can his other music be like?
For another perspective do read Kevin