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German architect and archaeologist, father of Felix-Eberhard von Cube.

Career Summary

The son of a medical doctor, Gustav von Cube was born on the French Riviera and studied architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Hannover, where his son was born in 1903. He moved to Munich a year later, and initially worked as an archaeologist, where he came into contact with (among others) the father of Wilhelm Furtwängler.

He then set up a private practice in architecture in Munich, and his early years in the profession seem to have been successful. This may have partly been the result of his marriage into the Sternheim family: among his early projects was Schloss Bellemaison, built for his brother-in-law Carl Sternheim, the playwright and short story writer. The Cubes moved into a small house on the Sternheims' estate in 1906. At this time they became acquainted with Otto Vrieslander, who was living with the Sternheims and working as their librarian and who became a kind of mentor to young Felix. After moving to Duisburg in the 1920s, Gustav formed a partnership with fellow architect Arthur Buchloh.

Little else is known about his career, other than that after the death of his first wife (Felix's mother) he married for a second time only to find himself professionally ostracized because his bride was a teen-age dancer at an opera house in the Rhineland (OJ 9/34, [1]) – a much younger woman by whom he subsequently had one child. It was presumably under the strain of his professional situation that he eventually committed suicide by shooting himself.

Felix described his father as "stingy" – he once stated that it was harder to get money out of his father than an Urlinie out of a work by Stravinsky (OJ 9/34, [2]).

Gustav von Cube and Schenker; Correspondence

While the two men never met, they corresponded on two occasions, both prompted by Cube’s financial worries. Four letters survive: two from Gustav to Schenker: OJ 9/35, [1], Sept 7, 1925, and OJ 9/35, [2], Aug 24, 1926; two from Schenker to Gustav: OJ 5/7a, [2], Sept 13, 1925, and OJ 5/8, [1] (= OJ 5/7, [1], incomplete draft in Jeanette's hand and postal receipt), Aug 18, 1926. The first, cordial exchange concerns a request for Schenker’s help in finding some paid teaching work for his son in Munich (which was, in part, honored). In the second, which was acrimonious, Schenker demanded the long-delayed payment of lesson fees, to which Cube reluctantly agreed. A letter also survives from Felix to his father (Jan 21, 1924, uncatalogued), with a cartoon showing Schenker in full command of his polemics regarding contemporary music (reproduced in full Drabkin, 1984–85, and in cropped form at the right-hand end of the Schenker Documents Online banner).


  • Felix-Eberhard von Cube, Todeskampf oder Wiederauferstehung der deutschen Musik: ein autobiographisch-historischer Essay (unpublished typescript: Hamburg, 1984)>
  • William Drabkin, "Felix-Eberhard von Cube and the North-German Tradition of Schenkerism," Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association cxi (1984–85), 180–207.


  • William Drabkin, Marko Deisinger, Ian Bent

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