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Berliner musikalische Zeitung

(Berlin, 1844-1847)

Prepared by Annette Vosteen
1 volume (1994)

The weekly journal Berliner musikalische Zeitung was edited by Carl Gaillard, a renowned writer and music critic of his time, and an early partisan of Richard Wagner. In September 1847 the journal merged with its competitor the Neue Berliner Musikzeitung. Until the founding of the Neue Berliner Musikzeitung in January 1847, the Berliner musikalische Zeitung was considered the most important music journal in Berlin. Accordingly, reports and reviews about Berlin’s musical life are its mainstay. Reports from other cities are found in articles by correspondents and in the form of excerpts borrowed from journals such as the Allgemeine Wiener Musik-Zeitung and the Signale für die musikalische Welt. The journal’s stated aim was to make music “accessible not only to the professional musician, but also to every educated music lover, and to acquaint everyone consistently with the most recent phenomena in musical life.”

Individual issues of the Berliner musikalische Zeitung contain essays on the theory of art, biographical studies, articles focusing on historical questions, letters and reports from travelers. A focal point of the journal is its reviews of Berlin’s operatic and concert life, with reports on performances at the Königliche Oper and the Italienische Oper, and on symphonic and chamber music concerts. While the desire for objectivity was professed repeatedly, in fact, subjective editorial opinions were expressed in a very belligerent manner. This applies in particular to the defense of German art against foreign influences. Other forcefully expressed opinions include the rejection of the Nehrlichsches Gesanginstitut in Berlin and its pedagogical methods, and the condemnation of unrestrained virtuosity, especially as represented by Franz Liszt.