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Czech, later English, publisher, writer, and translator.

Career Summary

Ernst Roth studied law, music, and philosophy at Prague University, serving on the Eastern Front in World War I. After receiving his doctorate of law in 1921, he worked with the Wiener Philharmonsicher Verlag in Vienna from 1923–28. When that publishing house was acquired by Universal Edition in 1925, he worked in a senior capacity in the UE office from then until 1938.

He left UE at the aryanization of the firm on September 20, 1938, and emigrated to England, where he worked at Boosey & Hawkes until his death in 1971, becoming the company's chairman in 1963. He was on friendly terms with Schoenberg, Richard Strauss (who dedicated the last of his Four Last Songs to him), Stravinsky, and Webern. As Vice-President of the Music Section of the International Publisher's Association from 1959, his expertise in law and music enabled him to draft complex legislation on international music rights. Commanding a wide range of European languages, he was active as a translator of operatic and vocal music.

His books, in German and English, include a study of Richard Strauss's stage works (1954), a short history of European music (1961), a co-edited catalog of Strauss's works (1964), and three volumes of autobiographical reflections (1969, 1971, 1974). Besides music, he wrote articles on literature, history, art, and philosophy.

Ernst Roth and the Schenkers: correspondence

Ernst Roth appears as the signatory to five letters from UE to Heinrich Schenker (OC 52/ 844 (1927), 914 (1928), 853, 856 (1929), and 863 (1930). He appears also as the addressee in three letters from Jeanette Schenker to UE: UEA [1], items [1], [2], [3] (1937), and as the signatory of one letter to Jeanette: UEA [1], item [6] (1938). His reference on UE notepaper was "Dr.R/." He also wrote the article "Beethoven und der Vortrag seiner Werke," Der Morgen, March 21, 1927, which refers to Schenker's editing of Beethoven's piano sonatas; a copy of this is preserved in Schenker's scrapbook at OC 2/p. 73.


  • OEMLexikon (online edition)
  • NGDM1 and NGDM2


  • Ian Bent

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