Bolko Graf von Hochberg (1843-1926)

The songs

Gute Nacht (Emanuel Geibel) Op.31 No.2 Notes for high and low voice


"Gute Nacht" is the last poem from the third book under the title "Athens" of his "Youth poems" (Jugendgedichte, 1838–1840) Link to the text in german,



Bolko from Hochberg

Composer, artist, patron of music

Dr Grzegorz Joachimiak

Institute of Musicology at the University of Wroclaw Chair of Early Music at the Music Academy in Wrocław


Count Hans Heinrich XIV von Hochberg, known as Bolko, came from the well-known and well-known family who had their goods in different parts of Silesia. The spelling of their name (Hoberg, Hohberg, Hochberg) has changed over the decades. The family history goes back to the Middle Ages. The progenitor of all Silesian lineages was the knight Kitzold von Hoberg (1312-1349), who was the judge at the court of the dukes of Schweidnitz and Jauer.

Bolko von Hochberg's lineage, which forms the second main branch of the family, goes back to Kitzold's younger son, to Kitzold the younger (after 1386). Three generations later, one of Christoph von Dippelsdorf's sons, Conrad I (before 1481 , died 1520) and his wife Catharina von Liebenthal founder of the Fürstenstein line. He also owned the goods in Rohnstock. Another important turn-off was made by his children, the younger Christoph (d. 1535 or 1545) establishing a secondary line with the estates Fürstenstein, Ölse and Kinsberg. Came from this branch line

the next successors of Conrad II (1527-1565) in Fürstenstein, Ölse and Teichau: his younger son Heinrich I (1564-1613) in Ölse and Teichau, his son Hans Heinrich I. (1598-1671) in Fürstenstein and Rohnstein ( from 1650 baron, from 1666 count). His four children formed new family lines.

In connection with the genealogy Bolko von Höchbergs the first line is important, from which the imperial count in Fürstenstein, Rohnstein and Rothenburg, Hans Heinrich II. (1639-1698), descended. One of his sons was the famous Conrad Ernst Maximilian von Hochberg (1682-1742) Count and Baron zu Fürstenstein, Friedland, Waldenburg, Weisstein and Hartau, a member of the Order of St. John. He is known for the reconstruction of the Fürstenstein Palace in the Baroque style. A baroque hall that bears his name has been preserved. The continuation of the Hochberg line was ensured by his older brother, Hans Heinrich III. (1675 - 1743). The next important branch of the family took place only in the time of the Duke of Pless, the Count Hochberg, and the Fürtstenstein Count, Hans Heinrich X. (1806-1855), who was married twice.

From the first marriage with Ida Filipina Otylia von Stechow four children emerged: Hans Heinrich XI. (1833 - 1907), who administered the goods in Pless, Fürstenstein and Friedland. Hans Heinrich XII. Maximilian (died at birth in 1835), Hans Heinrich XIII. Konrad (1837-1858), Anna (1839-1916) and the youngest imperial count and baron in Fürstenstein, Hans Heinrich XIV. Bolko von Hochberg (1843-1926), who got the goods in Rohnstein and Neuschloss-Würchwitz near Militsch. Directly from the knight Kitzold von Hoberg, Bolko von Hochberg belonged to the seventeenth generation of the von Hochberg family, which at the beginning of the 20th century belonged to the most influential and wealthy aristocratic elite in Prussia.

Bolko von Hochberg was born on January 23, 1843 in the Fürstenstein family castle. He grew up in an atmosphere of courtly etiquette and got to know the customs prevailing in the castles of relatives and family members. Back then, music and hunting played an important role in court life. Even before Bolko's father took over the Pless estates, Pless had a music band that was richly equipped with instruments and a library. Although the music band was later greatly reduced, Bolko I and his siblings had plenty of opportunity to familiarize themselves with the sound of the Salon Quadrille, the Galician Waltz and finally the Salzbrunn gallop.

It was not until 1858, after the death of his brother Konrad Bolko, that Bolko became the owner of the castle in Rohnstock and Neuschloss-Würchwitz near Militsch. This inheritance took place before he finished the renowned Magdalene-Gymnasium (1856 - 1861) in Breslau, which was known throughout Prussia. The educational qualification acquired in Wroclaw made it possible for him

further studies. In the same year he began to study law at the universities in Bonn and Berlin. However, the passion for music awakened in the lap of the family lived on and he decided to develop himself musically. In Berlin he studied composition with Friedrich Kiel (1821-1901), a professor at the University of Music. In this way, Bolko combined legal competence with music, which had an impact on his future project.

After the end of military service (1867 to 1869), he first worked as a military attaché at the Prussian embassy in St. Petersburg, then he commanded a unit in Florence. Finally, he made several trips in 1868 and was concerned with the modernization of the castle in Rohnstock (from 1860), which was rebuilt in 1870 according to the design of the family architect Olivier Pavelt (1825-1892).

Then there was a turning point in his life. On September 2, 1869, in Saabor, Fürsteneich, he married Princess Eleonore Augusta von Schönaich-Carolath (1848-1923). They had eight children, of whom only six survived. The last of the sons, Gottfried (1882-1929), also showed great interest in music. It was also the time when Bolko became increasingly involved with music. Although he lived in the castle in Rohnstock, he also lived temporarily in Dresden, where he probably maintained a string quartet in the years 1872-1876. Robert Hausmann (1852-1909) played the cello.


Gradually the music started to dominate Bolko's professional life. This was undoubtedly influenced by the successes that he had not only as an artist but also as an organizer of musical life. One of the first famous works came from the area of ​​the great musical forms of the Count of Hochberg, the singspiel "Claudine von Villa Bella" in three acts based on a libretto by Christian Garve based on the translation by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The work of art was premiered on February 22, 1864 on the stage of the court theater in Schwerin. The composer decided to use artistic pseudonyms and signed his works with "Herr Franz", "Johann Heinrich Franz" or "Pazdirek". An assignment of his works, which were signed in this form, is therefore possible.

In 1876 his opera "Falkensteiner" op. 21 was created in a romantic style with a libretto by Paul Frohberga, which also consists of three acts. The premiere took place on November 24 of the same year in the Hoftheater in Hanover. The opera was published in 1875 by the Johann André publishing house in Offenbach am Main.

The work was then revised by the composer and performed again on February 6, 1881 in the Dresden Court Theater. In Offenbach, the opera was introduced to the public in 1883 under the title "Werwolf". Count Bolko wrote about 90 musical works, including - in addition to the operas mentioned here - symphonies, a piano concerto with orchestra, chamber plays, trios, piano quartets, violin quartets and numerous songs and choral works.

It should be noted that the vast majority of his compositions were created in the 19th century. After 1900, he wrote only the trio in B flat major (1904), the quartet in B minor (1908), songs from op.36, 38, 39 (1904, 1905) and a piano concerto (1906). It can be assumed that the spread of music was very close to his heart, because Count Bolko von Hochberg did indeed excite above all as the organizer and protector of "the Silesian Music Festival" (Silesian Music Festival), which he organized from 1876.

A tradition of this type of musical event was already known because it originated in the 18th century. From 1830 there were regular music festivals with the title "Silesian Singing and Music Festival" based on the concept of Johann Gottfried Hientsch and Bernhard Klein. First there were male choirs and only since 1835 mixed choirs. Concerts took place annually, later every three years and then even less often, for example in Breslau, Jauer, Salzbrunn, Liegnitz, Bad Landeck and in Brieg.

There was a pause in the years 1856-1871. It was continued again in the summer of 1872 under the direction of Rudolf Thomas, a cantor in the Church of St. Elisabeth in Wroclaw. In 1874 the event took place again in Jauer, in which Count Bolko von Hochberg personally participated. He had experienced the “Rheinische Musikfeste” during his studies in Bonn and now saw that in comparison the Silesian Music Festival obviously had many organizational deficiencies. Therefore Bolko tried to organize well organized concerts in Silesia. His cycle bore the slightly changed name "Silesian Music Festivals", which were not only generally accepted, but also understood as a continuation of the earlier music festivals.

The first festival was held in Hirschberg in 1876, traditionally in the summer of July 16-18, the ninth in Wroclaw in 1887. However, most of the events were held in Görlitz. Bolko accompanied a total of nineteen festivals. He himself appeared as a singer and piano accompanist. His own works were also played. As before, the concerts had a monumental character, as there were usually more than a hundred musicians and hundreds of singers. (In 1903 there were 853 singers!)

Bolko also ensured that a suitable personality took over the management of the concerts. It was a conductor from Berlin, Ludwig Deppe (1828-1890), who participated in a total of nine festivals (apart from the festival in 1887) and conducted the orchestra. A suitable concert hall was necessary for such large productions. Bolko also knew how to take care of it. In 1878 the hall at the Reichenberger bridge was prepared accordingly. Bolko von Hochberg supported the project financially. 2000 listeners and 900 musicians found their place here and there was also an organ from the company Schlag & Söhne from Schweidnitz. The room was used until 1906. In 1910 a new concert hall was built in Görlitz, the so-called Musikfesthalle or Stadthalle.

Once again, Count Bolko had made a great contribution to its creation. He organized a lottery that paid over a third of the construction costs. He founded the Görlitz Singakademie in 1876. The city of Görlitz has awarded him the title "Honorary Citizen of the City". His artistic achievement was also highly valued and after the death of Botho von Hülsena he was appointed General Director of the Royal Theater on October 5, 1886. He was not only responsible for the opera theater in Berlin, but also in Hanover and Kassel.

In parallel to these activities, he worked for the Silesian Music Festival. He made prestigious, brave decisions; One of them was the inclusion of Richard Wagner's works in the repertoire of the Royal Theater. He has also employed several important conductors, including Richard Strauss. The performance of his opera "Feuersnot" in 1901 was not welcomed by the imperial-royal couple, which resulted in a conflict. The opera was removed from the program.

Despite the protest by Bolko von Hochberg, the opera could not be performed. The collaboration with the Royal Theater was questionable. In 1902 he waived his post and returned to his Silesian home in Rohnstein. He worked on his compositions and continued to work on the music festival.

Count Bolko von Hochberg was not only a philanthropist and promoter of music, but also a sports patron.

The "Silesia" swimming club in Wroclaw organized a competition on February 13, 1910, in which special prizes were awarded in various disciplines. Count Bolko financed the senior backstroke price over a distance of one hundred meters.

In 1913 he received the title of royal professor and gave lectures as chairman of the "German Society for Artistic Education" in Berlin. He tried very hard to popularize music. On September 9, 1918, he gave a lecture in his hometown Pless, which was accompanied by the violinist Johannes Belgen.

Bolko von Hochberg also participated in a stage club. As President, he took care of its members, especially their social interests and the pensions of the musicians who had ended their careers in the royal music theaters.

The form of the Silesian Music Festival introduced by him has been preserved until 1942. The last festival took place in Katowice with the conductors Philipp Wüsst and Fritz Lubrich. After the war, the Silesian Music Festival was reactivated, which not only ties in with the services and work of Bolko von Hochberg, but also with the Silesian tradition in general.

Count Hans Heinrich XIV of Hochberg, known as Bolko, died in the family health resort of Salzbrunn. He was buried in Rohnstein on December 1, 1926. His experience and skill as a musician, his creativity paired with the legal knowledge he gained at the

Organization of the music events have made him an outstanding and unforgettable personality in the history of music culture.

(Translation: Jolanta Szafarz and Heinz Müller)



1. Archiwum Państwowe we Wrocławiu: Stowarzyszenie Szlachty Niemieckiej - Oddział Śląski we Wrocławiu, sygn. 231 "Count of Hochberg"

Music sources, posters:

1. Biblioteka Uniwersytecka we Wrocławiu [BUWr] 2. The Saxon State Library - State and University Library Dresden [SLUB]
3rd Bavarian State Library Munich [BSB]

4. Mainz City Library [StM]
5. The Library of Congress, USA [LoC] 6. Materiały od Pani Eleni Ioannidou


1. "General Sports Newspaper"
2. “The messenger from the Giant Mountains”
3. "Musical weekly"
4. “New magazine for music”
5. "Public Scoreboard for the District of Pless (Pless Stadtblatt)"
6. “Signals for the musical world”


Encyclopedias, lexicons, bibliographies:
1. Hugo Riemann's Music Lexicon, opr. Alfred Einstein, Berlin 1929.
2. Musical-literary monthly report, wyd. Friedrich Hofmeister, Leipzig 1829-1929.
4. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, red. Stanley Sadie, t. 8, London 1980.
5. Silesian Music Encyclopedia, red. Lothar Hoffmann-Erbrecht, Augsburg 2001.
6. The music in past and present, red. Ludwig Finscher, person part, t. 9, Stuttgart 2003 [MGG2]
7. Encyklopedia Katolicka, t. 11, red. Eugeniusz Ziemann, Lublin 2006.


1. Aderhold, Stephan: Catalog of the music and archives of the Church of Peace in Schweidnitz, Kościół Pokoju w Świdnicy 2012.
2. Gondolatsch, Max: The Silesian Music Festivals and their Forerunners, Görlitz 1925.

3. Koch, Marianne: The Royal Playhouse in Berlin under Bolko Graf von Hochberg (1886-1902), dysertacja, Berlin 1957.
4. Kruczek, Jan: Z dziejów muzycznych Panów i Książąt Pszczyńskich. Od Promnitzów do Hochbergów, Pszczyna 2009.

5. Łuczyński, Romuald M .: Zamki, dwory i pałace w Sudetach, Legnica 2008.

6. Pośpiech, Remigiusz: Muzyka wielogłosowa w celebracji eucharystycznej na Śląsku w XVII i XVIII wieku, Opole 2004.
7. Subel, Joanna: Wrocławska chóralistyka. Tom I: 1817-1944, Wrocław 2008.

8. Weigelt, Carl: The Counts of Hochberg vom Fürstenstein. A contribution to the patriotic cultural history, wyd. Wilh. Gottl. Korn, Wroclaw 1896.