Hugo Wolf
1860-1903
Prodigiously gifted Hugo Wolf shared a curse other artists whose innate talent was compromised by chronic mental illness. He spent his final years in an institution, dying in his forty third year. Success as a composer did not readily come to him; like Schumann before him—also afflicted with devastating mental health issues—Wolf for a time functioned as a music critic and teacher, losing most of his students through venomous intolerance with their lack of talent. Known mainly for his intensely expressive songs, Wolf occasionally took up the challenge of writing chamber music in which genre his Italian Serenade remains the best-known.