Hermann Goetz

  • Born: Königsberg, Germany, 7 December 1840
  • Died: 3 December 1876, Hottingen, Switzerland

Goetz, according to George Bernard Shaw, was “securely above all other German composers of the last hundred years, save only Mozart and Beethoven, Weber and Wagner“.

“He has the charm of Schubert without his brainlessness, the refinement and inspiration of Mendelssohn without his limitation and timid gentility, Schumann’s sense of harmonic expression without his laboriousness, shortcoming, and dependence on external poetic stimulus; while as to unembarrassed mastery of the material of music, shewing itself in the Mozartian grace and responsiveness of his polyphony, he leaves all three of them simply nowhere.  Brahms, who alone touches him in mere brute musical faculty, is a dolt in comparison to him.”

Goetz died young, only 35, from tuberculosis, leaving behind him two operas (one unfinished), a symphony, and much chamber music.

Wikipedia describes his style thus:

Goetz almost completely avoided spectacular effects. Great mastery of compositional technique is characteristic of Goetz’s style, which is particularly apparent in the connectedness of motifs and the technical depth of movements.

Goetz was no radical forger of new musical paths, but rather a composer in total control of his compositional technique, and whose works through their high standard give lie to the labelling of Goetz as a composer of the lower order.


  1. Der Widerspänstigen Zähmung (1874) ***
  2. Francesca da Rimini (1877, completed by Ernst Frank)