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Berliner musikalische Zeitung

(Berlin, 1833)

Prepared by Ole Hass
Online only (2014)

The Berliner musikalische Zeitung (BZE) appeared twice weekly from 2 January to 28 December 1833. All 103 issues are four pages in length, except for the six-page issue, no. 19. According to the editor’s introduction, the journal was meant to serve the eager dilettante as well as the performing musician. It was also hoped that the journal would fill the void left by the demise of Adolf Bernhard Marx’s Berliner allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (1824-1830). However, despite this object, BZE ceased after one year owing to lack of interest.

The journal’s editor, Christian Friedrich Johann Girschner (1794-1860) was trained in his father’s military band. In 1820, he took over the much-discussed pedagogue Logier’s music school in Berlin, but had to abandon the project after two years.

Each issue is divided into four sections: I. Freie Aufsätze [Free essays], II. Recensionen [Reviews of printed music and books], III. Berichte [Performance reviews], and IV. Allerlei [Miscellaneous].The numbering of the four sections is upheld even when some of the sections are omitted in particular issues, causing some issues to start, for example, with II. Recensionen.

The essays include several by Girschner on opera and on the brass instrument ophicléide; Karl Dielitz on selecting and setting poetry to music; Parson Lorenz Kraussold in his widely-read “Versuch einer Construction der Geschichte der Musik” [Essay to construct a history of music]; baritone Gustav Nauenburg on the practical necessity of rules in art and on the history and current state of aesthetics in music; August Kahlert on song composition and on the history of the symphony; Max von der Distel with recommendations on how to foster concert series in smaller cities and towns; and H. Schmitt on the musical language code developed by François Sudre. There are also unsigned essays on musical life at the Paris Italian Opera (which reopened in 1833 after extensive renovations), a Russian brass orchestra, the tenor Franz Wild, letters from C. M. v. Weber to Gottfried Weber, editor of Cäcilia, as well as biographical sketches on Gottfried Weber, the baritone Antonio Tamburini, and the composers Conradin Kreutzer, Heinrich Marschner and Bernhard Klein.

The reviews of publications deal with sheet music for the dilettante, various methods for voice, the pianoforte and the violin and introductions to the study of music theory. Reports from Berlin dominate the performance reviews: the Royal Opera as well as the private Königsstädter Theater (both present operas by Auber, Meyerbeer, Marschner, Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini); oratorios at the Singakademie; and on the string quartet and symphony soirées of Karl Möser. The Berlin trombone player Friedrich Belcke writes about a concert tour of cholera-stricken northern Germany and Copenhagen with his brother, the flutist Christian Gottlieb. Recurrent reports from the Vienna Court Opera and the Theater in der Josephstadt are occasionally written by Friedrich August Kanne, the former editor of the Viennese Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, mit besonderer Rücksicht auf den österreichischen Kaiserstaat (1817-1824). About a dozen other localities are treated sporadically, most frequently Weimar and Paris. Unusual is a detailed plot summary and review in six installments of Marschner’s Hans Heiling, on the occasion of its performances in Berlin.