Haack [Haacke, Haak, Haake], Friedrich Wilhelm

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Hostinský, Otakar

(b Martiněves, 2 Jan 1847; d Prague, 19 Jan 1910). Czech aesthetician and music critic. He studied law at the University of Prague (1865–6) and philosophy and aesthetics at the University of Munich, receiving a doctorate in 1868; in 1871 he was a pupil of Smetana. He was active as a critic and an editor of literary journals in Prague before his appointment as professor of aesthetics at the university there; he also lectured on music history at Prague Conservatory (1882–6).

In aesthetics his starting-point was Herbart’s abstract formalism, which then occupied a strong position in Prague. Opposing Herbart’s ideas, Hostinský proposed his so-called ‘concrete formalism’ and published monographs criticizing Herbart in 1881 and 1891. He emphasized the crucial roles of experience and experimentation, especially in O estetice experimentální (1900), at the same time paying attention to the social provenance of art; in studies published in 1903 and 1907 he formulated a basis for a special sociology of art and music in Bohemia. Applying his concrete formalism he revised Hanslick’s aesthetic-critical viewpoint and analysed even the contemporary Romantic art, towards which he had a positive attitude. But the system of aesthetics developed in the course of his university lectures was not set down in writing until Zdeněk Nejedlý attempted its reconstruction in 1921.

Although Hostinský did not lecture in musicology as such, he founded, through the work of his pupils Nejedlý, Helfert and Zich, the first Czech school of musicology. He also initiated new studies in the science of harmony, explaining complex connections between chords by means of melodic relationships; and he made far-reaching developments in analytical methods of ethnomusicological research, making great advances towards a systematic and historical interpretation of folksong as a variational process. He rejected, however, the ideal of the Czech revivalists, who regarded folksong as the source of Czech stylistic individuality, emphasizing instead the contemporary importance of Wagner; he was also the first theorist to defend Smetana and to undertake an inquiry into problems that were being solved practically and empirically by contemporary composers, especially those of melodrama and declamation based on the accentuation of speech. His main interests in music history were antiquity, Gluck and Czech music. He also wrote some songs and instrumental music, sketched an opera Elektra and other stage works and wrote the librettos for Fibich’s The Bride of Messina and Rozkošný’s Cinderella.


‘Wagnerianismus a česká národní opera’ [Wagnerianism and Czech national opera], Hudební listy, i (1870); 34, 51, 60, 83, 89; repr. in Hostinský (1901, 2/1941), 154–75 and in J. Císařovský, ed. (1956), 343–57

Das Musikalisch-Schöne und das Gesammtkunstwerk vom Standpuncte der formalen Aesthetik (Leipzig, 1877)

Die Lehre von den musikalischen Klängen (Prague, 1879)

O významu praktických idejí Herbartových pro všeobecnou aesthetiku [The importance of Herbart’s practical ideas for general aesthetics] (Prague, 1881; Ger. trans., 1883)

‘O české deklamaci hudební’ [Czech musical declamation], Dalibor, iv (1882); pubd separately (Prague, 1886), repr. in M. Nedbal, ed. (1961), 257–97

‘O melodramatu’, Lumír (1885), 55–77, 71–4

Herbarts Ästhetik (Hamburg, 1891)

36 nápěvů světských písní českého lidu z XVI. století [36 melodies from secular Czech folksong of the 16th century] (Prague, 1892, rev. 2/1957 by J. Markl)

Jan Blahoslav a Jan Josquin (Prague, 1896)

Hudba v Čechách: nástin dějepisný [Music in Bohemia: a historical outline] (Prague, 1900)

‘O estetice experimentální’, Česká mysl (1900)

Bedřich Smetana a jeho boj o moderní českou hudbu [Smetana and his struggle for modern Czech music] (Prague, 1901, rev. 2/1941 by B. Hostinský)

Vzpomínky na Fibicha [Recollections of Fibich] (Prague, 1909) [orig. pubd in Dalibor, xxiv (1901–2), xxx (1908), xxxi (1909)]

O socialisaci umění [The socialization of art] (Prague, 1903)

Česká světská píseň lidová [Czech secular folksong] (Prague, 1906); repr. in M. Nedbal, ed. (1961), 299–410

Umění a společnost [Art and society] (Prague, 1907)

Antonín Dvořák ve vývoji naší hudby dramatické [Antonín Dvořák in the evolution of our music for stage] (Prague, 1908); repr. in J. Císařovský, ed. (1956), 409–26

Česká hudba 1864–1904 [Czech music 1864–1904] (Prague, 1909)

ed. J. Císařovský: O umění [On art] (Prague, 1956)

ed. M. Nedbal: O hudbě [On music] (Prague, 1961)

ed. D. Holub, H. Hrzalová and L. Lantová: Studie a kritiky [Studies and reviews] (Prague, 1974)

ed. E. Vítová: Z hudebních bojů let sedmdesátých a osmdesátých: výbor z operních a koncertních kritik [From the battles of the 1870s and 80s: a selection from Hostinský’s opera and concert reviews] (Prague, 1986)


V. Helfert: ‘Skladby O. Hostinského’ [Hostinsky’s compositions], Hudební sborník (1913), 102–20, 201–15 [incl. complete list of writings]

Z. Nejedlý: Otakara Hostinského esthetika, i (Prague, 1921)

J. Racek: ‘Otakar Hostinský, tvůrce a zakladatel české hudební vědý’ [Hostinský, creator and founder of Czech musicology], Musikologie, ii (1949), 38–71

Z. Sádecký: O některých otázkách estetiky O. Hostinského [Some problems of Hostinský’s aesthetics] (Prague, 1955)

J. Vysloužil: ‘Z korespondence Leoše Janáčka s Otakarem Hostinským’, Musikologie, iii (1955), 465–72; v (1958), 171–80

Z. Strejc: ‘Otakar Hostinský a sociologie umění’ [Hostinský and the sociology of arts], HV, x (1973), 26–41 [with Ger. summary]

J. Vysloužil: ‘Der tschechische Ästhetiker und Musikwissenschaftler Otakar Hostinský’, SPFFBU, H13–14, 27–42 [incl. further bibliography]

M. Jůzl: Otakar Hostinský (Prague, 1980)

Pocta Otakaru Hostinskému: Brno 1980

V. Lébl and I. Poledňák, eds.: ‘Otakar Hostinský’, Hubední věda (Prague, 1988), 163–72 [incl. further bibliography]

J. Tyrrell: Czech Opera (Cambridge, 1988)

R. Pečman: ‘Je tu znáti stopa génia Smetanova: Hostinského pokus o objektivní hodnocení’ [Traces of Smetana’s genius can be seen here: Hostinský’s attempt at an objective evaluation], Útok na Antonína Dvořáka [The attack on Antonín Dvořák] (Brno, 1992), 11–43

R. Pečman: ‘Hudební a unělecká výchova v pojetí Otakar Hostinského’ [Musical and artistic education as conceived by Otakar Hostinský], OM, xxv (1993), 199–204


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