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Konrad Mautner

MAUTNER, KONRAD (1880–1924), Austrian folk song collector, publisher of important primary sources on folk song and music, folk art and costume, and industrialist whose family was of Bohemian origin. In 1893, his father Isidor founded the largest textile business of the monarchy. Konrad Mautner studied in Vienna with private teachers and in Schotten high school. In 1902 he left for a year in the U.S., where he worked for his father's textile concern. In 1909 he married Anna Neumann, his cousin, whose family comprised large-scale silk manufacturers. She was, like her husband, talented and interested in art. With the advent of the Nazis the family had to leave Austria. From his childhood, Mautner used to spend his vacations with his parents in Goessl on Grundsee, where he practically grew up together with local inhabitants. In 1910 he prepared for publication a collection of the "Steyerische Rasplwerk," folk songs, as a documentation of his happy childhood and youth years in that region. Verlag Staehelin and Lauenstein, publisher of limited editions, produced this material in a luxury edition of 400 copies. The volume included old songs and street verses that Mautner heard and sang in Gössl and which he transcribed and illustrated by hand drawings. This volume was the first Austrian musical village monograph, which because of its naiveté transmitted the picture as a whole. Since it was based on personal memory, it was held at that time to be of no importance, because of the doubt as to whether the songs were authentic according to the criteria of folk song research of that time. Today, however, its significance is realized. Later, Mautner was in close contact with the professional world, and published one more volume from Salzkammergut, a town in the Austrian province Steiermark, as well as numerous journal articles. In 1914, the Musical Historical Center of the War Ministry used him (together with other professional people) for collecting soldiers' songs. He worked together with Viktor von Geramb on the book of native costumes in Steiermark (Steirische Trachtenbuch) that was published only after his death. Mautner's articles in the field of folk song research are characterized by precise observation of the subject and artistic intuition as well as by early use of technical facilities (phonograph, etc.).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.