Robert Fürstenthal

Vienna 1920-2016, San Diego

We can never know how many young musicians Hitler kept out of the mdw. Certainly one of the talents was Robert Furstenthal, who abandoned his home and first love, Franziska Trinczer, for England then America where he became a successful accountant, eventually heading the Auditing Department of the US Navy in San Diego. Divorce led to re-establishing contact with Franziska, who encouraged him to resume composing upon learning he had abandoned music after leaving Austria. Trinczer had escaped to Switzerland and became a much-published microbiologist under the name of Dr. Françoise Farron. She was carrying out research at Harvard University when contacted by Furstenthal in 1973. With no training, Furstenthal took Hugo Wolf as his model and began composing Lieder, then quartets and small-scale works, all in the late nineteenth-century language of Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss, or Joseph Marx.