Karl Marx (composer)

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Karl Marx (12 November 1897, Munich – 8 May 1985, Stuttgart) was a German composer, conductor, and educator.

Life and career[edit]

Marx was born in Munich. He first studied natural sciences but, after having met Carl Orff, decided to make music his career, and studied musical composition with Orff, Siegmund von Hausegger, and Anton Beer-Walbrunn among others. In 1928 he became choir director of the Munich Bach Society,[1] and in 1929 was appointed professor of compositional technique at the Akademie der Tonkunst, Munich. From 1939 to 1945 he taught music theory at the Johann Joseph Fux Conservatory in Graz, composed music for Nazi ceremonies and contributed to songbooks for the Hitler Youth.[2] From 1946 until given emeritus status he was professor of composition at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart. He died in Stuttgart.


Marx composed orchestral works, concerti, chamber music, piano music, works for organ, cantatas, numerous choral works and lieder set to words by German poets. One of his primary causes was to write music for young people; his compositions for youth orchestras were well received in his day. His works include:

  • 18 Variations on an Old English Folksong
  • Frühlingstau in deinen Augen (for contralto, treble recorder and piano)
  • Werkleute sind wir, motet for eight-part choir
  • Festival Prelude
  • Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Op. 10 (published 1930)
  • Concerto for 2 Violins and Orchestra
  • Passacaglia for orchestra
  • Divertimento for wind instruments
  • String Quartet
  • Sextet for flute, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, and cello
  • Rilke-Gesänge (Rilke Songs), Opp. 1, 6 and 11, for mixed choir
  • Drei Chöre (Three Choirs), Op. 46, set to words by Fritz Diettrich
  • Heitere Verse (Cheerful Verses), Op. 54, set to words by Wilhelm Busch and Eugen Roth
  • Raube das Licht aus dem Rachen der Schlange (Rob the Light from the Serpent's Throat), Op. 57, Cantata set to words by Hans Carossa for solo baritone, mixed choir and orchestra


  1. ^ Kater, Michael H. (2000). Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 115. ISBN 0195099249.
  2. ^ Kater, Michael H. (1997). The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 138. ISBN 0195096207.