Josef Matthias Hauer – Das Zwölftonspiel

Josef Matthias Hauer – Das Zwölftonspiel LP front cover
Josef Matthias Hauer – Das Zwölftonspiel LP back cover
Josef Matthias Hauer – Das Zwölftonspiel LP side 1

Austrian composer Josef Mattias Hauer (1883–1959) claimed to be the inventor of the twelve-tone composition technique in 1919–20, yet he didn’t have the charisma and mentorship that could have brought him the fame of Arnold Schoenberg’s dogma. Hauer’s music is based on a strict, obligatory use of all 12 notes of the chromatic scale and an arithmetical and mystical approach to composing. His interest for color music was inspired by Goethe’s Farbenlehre, and he devised correspondences between certain colors and notes, a system he developed in diagrams and drawings. He wrote for solo instrument, chamber ensemble, orchestra and opera. After 1940, he composed exclusively in the Zwölftonspiele, or Plays on Twelve Tones, technique, creating a great number of, yet unpublished, works, most of them without title except for the date of composition or instrumentation required. This disc features a selection of Zwölftonspiele, mostly played on harpsichord, or Cembalo, by Viktor Sokolowski (1911-82), a student of Hauer.

[Thanks to reader”newname” for his help with this post]

01 Vierklänge 1:08
02 Figuration mit einer Baßstimme 1:33
03 Sechsklänge 1:07
04 Prinzipalstimme mit einer Obligatstimme 1:21
05 Kontinuum 2:10
06 Zwei Stimmen 1:39
07 Vierklänge mit einer Prinzipalstimme 1:12
08 Vierhändiges Spiel 2:01
09 Paraphonie für Bratsche und Cembalo 1:41
10 Zweifach gebrochene Vierklänge des Kontinuums 1:24
11 Zwölftonspiel für Violine und Cembalo 1:22
12 Zwölftonspiel für Flöte und Cembalo 1:53

Total time 39:10
LP released by Philips, Vienna, Austria, 1973


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12 Responses to “Josef Matthias Hauer – Das Zwölftonspiel”

  1. 1 newname July 19, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Very nice album that definitely goes into my favorite folder.Released 1973 …i think.Thank You Continuo !!!

  2. 2 continuo July 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks for your comment. Where do you infer the 1973 date from, if I might ask?

  3. 3 newname July 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Hi Continuo

    This information i found here:…27201.28564.3.28932.…0.0…1c._XMgeVSZSvY&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=a7c063073f7b89b3&biw=1280&bih=907

  4. 4 continuo July 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Very interesting. Thank you.

  5. 5 Joaquín Mendoza Sebastián July 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    I’ll take a listen =) sounds interesting! thank you!

  6. 6 continuo July 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    You’re welcome, Joaquín.

  7. 7 Thomas Patteson July 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Ah, you know I am a great admirer of Hauer and his work. Thanks for this lovely artifact,

  8. 8 continuo July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I also like his music a lot, as well as his graphic work, which is stunning.

  9. 9 silver price July 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Listening to the music, you can sort of hear this attitude reflected in it. The pieces are brief – I’ve yet to find a Hauer composition longer than eight minutes, and few are over five – and they resemble each other, as if churned out by a system. Even so, I have to voice the heterodox (or perhaps not so surprising) opinion that, on the average, I find Hauer’s works more attractive than Schoenberg’s. Hauer’s use of 12-tone technique is not really row-oriented. His textures, whether slow, fast, or often both at once on different levels, are somewhat motoric and unvarying, resembling some brands of minimalism in their momentum, and even more presciently resembling postminimalism in their systematic changes of harmony.

  10. 10 continuo July 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I know you’re a spam, yet your comment kinda makes sense in a way. There are indeed Hauer compositions lasting more than 8 minutes – see for instance his opera Salambo op60 from 1930. It is true most of the post-1940 Zwölftonspiele are rather short, though. In Hauer’s music, I personally miss the post-Romanticism and sense of drama found in Schoenberg’s music.

  11. 11 Jean-Luc July 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Thank you so much for this one. After looking all over for his stuff a month ago I spent a crazy amount of time ripping all the tracks from the 2001 Zwolftonspiel release off of youtube :-S ha . Also looking forward to checking out Maggie Nichols album

  12. 12 continuo July 31, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Hi, Jean-Luc. I also have the feeling J. M. Hauer CDs are even more difficult to get than LPs, due to lack of proper distribution. I have more Hauer vinyl rarities I’d like to post some time next September. Thanks for your comment.

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