The austrian Joseph Marx 1882- 1964 has been called the last great tonal composer. He was himself against the NS-regime, but another composer of the time, Karl Marx (!), wasn‘t and after the war they got mixed up and „Marx music“ stopped being played altogether.
Marx studied philosophy, was appointed doctor and published award winning works in music theory. After this, at the age of 26, He began composing and and wrote 120 songs – almost two a week – in his first four years as a composer. Marx was director and later rector of the Vienna Music Academy, and taught composition and music theory to over 1,200 students. He was also a critic, worked for UNESCO, helped Atatürk form a music school system in Turkey, and some sources even claim he was thought of as being Austria’s next prime-minister in the fifties.
His music is great heavy late romantic stuff, very much in the same spirit as his friends Korngold, Schreker, Puccini, Ravel, Respighi, Strauss and Szymansowski. Although never a concert pianist, he must have been an excellent player – he was said to be able to play his own songs even in his old age.
Fortunately Joseph Marx is on his way back to fame and glory – almost so much so as not fitting in our “program”. Let’s call it a small exception on our side.