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Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)

Hugo Wolf (March 13, 1860 – February 22, 1903) was an Austrian composer of Slovene origin, particularly noted for his art songs, or Lieder. He brought to this form a concentrated expressive intensity which was unique in late Romantic music.


1882 was the year of the première of "Parsifal" by Wagner. Wolf, who had resumed the life of a bohemian, had the ardent wish to hear "Parsifal" in Bayreuth. He succeeded in getting a complimentary ticket, friends contributed to the costs of the trip and the accomodation, and Wagner's music filled him again with great enthusiasm. 
As convinced Wagnerian, Wagner was also vegetarian at that time. In a Viennese vegetarian restaurant he became acquainted with Friedrich Eckstein, a private student of Anton Bruckner. He was fascinated by Eckstein's encyclopedic knowledge. The discussions on "Parsifal", German and Spanish mysticism, Free-masonry and vegetarianism went often on till dawn.


When Wagner made the turn to vegetarianism, Eckstein and those around him quickly followed suit.  Eckstein also headed up a group of Pythagoreans that dressed in all cotton gowns year round, sporting shoulder-length hair and long beards.  Eckstein was active in the so-called Pernersdorfer circle, a group that followed the writings of Wagner and Nietzsche and included, among others, Viktor Adler, Gustav Mahler , and at one time, Hugo Wolf. 
According to occult historian James Webb (1985, 44-45; 62), Steiner was a frequent visitor at the Café Griensteidl, where the Wagnerians, vegetarians, Pythagoreans, poets, and artists went to converse and often times, argue. 


Wolf's immediate circle, a Bohemian fraternity comparable to the first Schubertians, were all fanatical Wagnerites, following their master to the point of becoming vegetarians – as Wolf did for a year or two, partly also perhaps because that diet was cheaper. His meagre earnings were eked out by parcels of food and clothes sent from home.

from Hugo Wolf (PDF 36mb) by Ernest Newman, pub. London, 1907

p.23: '.... he was not a success as a Kapellmeister at Salzburg. He appears to have stayed there only a couple of months, returning to Vienna in January 1882. Here, as might be expected, he found it doubly difficult to live. So hard pressed was he indeed that for a while he took to vegetarianism as the cheapest way of living.