Link to home page

Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung

(Leipzig, 1863-1882)

Prepared by Karl Kügle

Originally published weekly in Leipzig between 1798 and 1848, the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung [AMZ] was revived at the initiative of the publisher Breitkopf und Härtel in January 1863, and continued until December 1882. The publisher hoped to repeat the success of the journal’s first series, which was considered one of the finest German-language music periodicals of its time.

Selmar Bagge, the editor of the AMZ, aimed to report on the “entire field of genuine musical art, from Palestrina to Schumann” and to pave “the way for truly viable artistic efforts.” The AMZ was commercially unsuccessful, and, after three years Breitkopf und Härtel withdrew as publisher. J. Reiter-Biedermann then took over, first adding Leipziger to the title but later reverting to the original title in 1869. Reiter-Biedermann remained the publisher of the AMZ until its demise in 1882.

Bagge served as editor of the AMZ from January 1863 until 22 July 1868 contributing many articles during his tenure, and remained an occasional collaborator until 1877. His articles cover a wide range of subjects extending from contemporary opera and instrumental music (including reviews of the Gewandhaus concerts), to music theory, music philosophy, and music aesthetics. Bagge also sought the collaboration of important contemporary writers including Eduard Hanslick and Gustav Nottebohm in an attempt to assure a high professional standard. From July through October 1868 the journal was edited by the music critic Arrey von Dommer with the assistance of the self-taught pioneer in the field of early music, Robert Eitner. Dommer’s contribution consists of a series about late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century German opera at Hamburg, while Eitner’s articles treat historical topics such as sixteenth-century psalmody and the history of notation.

The celebrated Handel scholar Friedrich Chrysander twice served as the journal’s editor and contributed over 400 reviews and articles treating Handel, lesser-known seventeenth- and eighteenth-century composers and theorists (Francesco Antonio Urio, Friedrich Erhard Niedt), nineteenth-century composers (Mendelssohn, Wagner), and numerous aspects of musical life and history including the folksong in the British Isles and Lithuania, the music of India, and music in the German educational system. Under Chrysander, the journal developed a strong philological bent, printing ongoing historical studies (such as Gustav Nottebohm’s “Beethoveniana” and his history of the Hamburg opera from 1678 to 1706), alongside reviews of compositions and books, and reports from musical centers of the German-speaking world and beyond. The “musicological” emphasis of the AMZ was retained when the Berlin librarian Joseph Müller took over as editor.

Among the numerous contributing scholars are Eduard Krüger, Hermann Dieters who provided over 100 reviews of important publications such as W. J. von Wasielewski’s biography of Robert Schumann, the Niederrheinische Musikfest, and new works by contemporary composers, including Bruch and Brahms. Articles by Eduard Hanslick, reprinted from the Neue freie Presse, treat works as diverse as Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, Thomas’s Hamlet, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger, and Arthur Pougin’s biography of Bellini, as well as Viennese concert life.

Some of the best-known younger scholars of the period also contributed to the journal early in their careers. Hugo Riemann wrote on the earliest German organ tablatures (1878) and organ construction in the Middle Ages (1879); and, Guido Adler supplied an essay on the periodicization of Western music history (1880). Among the few foreign writers’ represented are Pierre Scudo, W. H. Cusins, and G. A. Macfarren.