Max Kowalski (1882–1956) was a full-time lawyer who never gave up on his passion for music: singing lessons during his law studies, conducting and counterpoint classes, among others, at Dr. Hoch’s Konservatorium in addition to his work at his own law office in Frankfurt. While studying, he already published his first works; 15 song cycles were published until 1933.
In the years that followed, the Jewish-born Kowalski was restricted in working both as a lawyer and as a composer due to his persecution by the National Socialists. In 1938 he was arrested, deported to the concentration camp of Buchenwald and finally forced to flee into exile in London.
Contemporaries called Kowalski a lyricist among the composers. The choice of texts of his songs shows his great knowledge and love of German literature. For example, he set to music texts by Friedrich Hölderlin or Rainer Maria Rilke, but also Indian or Japanese poems. Kowalski left numerous unpublished songs which are published by Schott Music in a two-volume edition. This title contains the second volume which contains Kowalski's late works: the songs based on texts by Friedrich Hölderlin (1950) and the Geisha Lieder according to Klabund (1951).