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Communicating Music

Festschrift für Ernst Lichtenhahn zum 80. Geburtstag – Festschrift for Ernst Lichtenhahn’s 80th Birthday

Edited By Antonio Baldassarre and Marc-Antoine Camp

Ernst Lichtenhahn ist ohne Übertreibung ein Doyen der schweizerischen Musikforschung. Als einer der wenigen Musikwissenschaftler im deutschsprachigen Raum hat er unterschiedliche sprachkulturelle und disziplinäre Forschungstraditionen zusammengeführt. In seinem Wissenschaftsverständnis sind historische und systematische Musikwissenschaft, Musikethnologie und Musikpraxis ganz im Sinne des von Guido Adler formulierten holistischen Konzepts sowohl methodisch wie auch inhaltlich immer eng aufeinander bezogen. Mit dem Titel «Communicating Music» versucht diese Festschrift zum 80. Geburtstag von Ernst Lichtenhahn, die durch dieses Verständnis hervortretende Vielschichtigkeit wissenschaftlicher Fragestellungen aufzugreifen und weiterzudenken. Sie versammelt Beiträge, die sich aus ganz unterschiedlichen methodischen und theoretischen Perspektiven mit Fragen nach dem diskursiven Charakter von Musik, den musikalischen Vermittlungs- und Transformationsprozessen sowie dem Sprechen über Musik an sich auseinandersetzen.
Without any exaggeration one can call Ernst Lichtenhahn a doyen of Swiss music research. As one of the few musicologists in the German-speaking sphere he has succeeded in merging different linguistic-cultural and disciplinary research traditions. In his manner of scientific understanding, historical and systematic musicology, ethnomusicology and music practice are methodologically and topically related closely to each other, entirely consistent with the holistic concept of music research as developed by Guido Adler. With the title «Communicating Music», this Festschrift for Ernst Lichtenhahn’s 80 birthday attempts to take up and to further develop the diversity of scientific issues as emerged through such an understanding. It collects papers that come from a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives to deal with issues about the discursive nature of music, about mediation and transformation processes of music as well as about the discourse on music itself.
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Völkerkunde auf dem Theater: Die Baskische Venus von Hermann Hans Wetzler (1870–1943)


Heinrich Aerni

Summary: The conductor and composer Hermann Hans Wetzler (1870–1943) was born in the US to German speaking parents and studied from 1885 to 1892 in Frankfurt/Main with, among others, Clara Schumann. After his return to New York he founded his own orchestra that also gave performances under Richard Strauss. His attempt to establish himself as director of theatre music in Germany failed after 18 years, as he was not contracted anymore. The success of his orchestral music encouraged him to compose his first opera at the age of 50. The Baskische Venus was premiered on 18 November 1928 in Leipzig. To add to his work the necessary “couleur local,” Wetzler even travelled to Basque country to study folk dances and the ball game called “Pelota.” The particella of the music was, however, created in Cologne prior to this travel. The vast correspondence to and from Wetzler gives information on how he absorbed the numerous impressions, how he attempted to integrate these impressions into the opera and finally how the artistic staff in Leipzig tried to realise his requirements. The present chapter is based on extensive previously unknown source material of the estate of Wetzler, today preserved at the Zentralbibliothek Zürich. It paradigmatically explores a conductor and composer’s actions and thinking at the time of the Weimar Republic. One who lived in the shadow of the “great masters,” yet presented everyday life through his music.

Am 18. Januar 1928...

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