A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Mottl, Felix


MOTTL, Felix, a celebrated and highly gifted conductor, was born at Vienna in 1856. As a boy he possessed a fine soprano voice, and obtained admission to the Löwenburgische Convict, the preparatory school of the Imperial Court Chapel. Later on he entered the Vienna Conservatory, where Josef Hellmesberger soon recognized the eminent gifts of young Mottl, who in due course obtained all the prizes the college could award. The Academical Richard Wagner Verein of Vienna elected him to the post of conductor of the society's concerts, and it was there that his eminent ability as a chef d'orchestre attracted general notice. In 1876 Mottl took part in the Bayreuth Festival performances of Wagner's 'Ring of the Niblung' as stage conductor, and he became one of the most active members of the so-called 'Niblungenkanzlei.' Upon the recommendation of Dessoff he obtained the post of conductor at the Grand Ducal Opera House at Karlsruhe, which post he holds to the present day. It is due to Mottl's energetic activity that the performances at this opera house are now amongst the finest to be heard in Germany. A sworn enemy of all routine work, he produced at Karlsruhe many important stage works of modern times, including Berlioz's 'Benvenuto Cellini,' and all the musical dramas of Richard Wagner. Mottl has also obtained brilliant successes as a conductor of concerts, and was in 1886 appointed by the Bayreuth authorities to conduct the festival performances of 'Tristan and Isolde,' a task which he accomplished to perfection. He has composed an opera, 'Agnes Bernauer' (successfully produced at Weimar in 1880), and a considerable number of songs for one voice and pianoforte accompaniment. He has lately orchestrated Liszt's pianoforte solo 'St. Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds.' It was played at the Richter Concert of June 4, 1888.

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