Organizing German Musical Life at Midcentury

James Deaville

in Rethinking Schumann

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195393859
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894406 | DOI:
Organizing German Musical Life at Midcentury

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Even though the Tonkünstlerversammlung of 1847 in Leipzig has been identified as the first national meeting of German musicians, we know very little about it. This chapter studies the nature and significance of that gathering, with special emphasis on Schumann's direct and indirect role surrounding the momentous event. It also looks at the activities of the core group in the following two years, as Franz Brendel and colleagues continued to meet on a regular basis through 1849, with further Tonkünstlerversammlungen taking place in 1848 and 1849. The political events of those years had a serious impact on the gatherings, leading to their cessation, but published and unpublished sources indicate that the concept of such meetings of musicians better succeeded on the local level. In his scheme for a German Allgemeiner Tonkünstlerverein, Brendel focused on initially establishing local chapters, with the Leipzig Tonkünstlerverein already functioning in 1847 and those in various other cities (Berlin, Magdeburg, Dessau, Freiburg, Stettin, Darmstadt) added by 1849. It was in the collective action of these branches under the aegis of a national organization that Brendel saw the hope of improving German musical conditions. This progressive idea would eventually lead to the establishment of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein in 1861.

Keywords: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik; Leipzig; 1848; Tonkünstlerversammlung; Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein; musical organizations; Musikvereine

Chapter.  4980 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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