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Leipziger Konzertsaal

(Leipzig, 1895-1900)

Prepared by Peter Sühring and Christine Korff
Introduction by Peter Sühring
Online only (2019)

Initially titled Leipziger Konzertsaal (Die Redenden Künste), from Jahrgang 2 (1895/96) the titles were reversed to Die Redenden Künste (Leipziger Konzertsaal). Subtitles changed annually; the initial subtitle Wochenschrift für Musik und Litteratur unter specieller Berücksichtigung des Leipziger Musikwesens became unter specieller Berücksichtigung des Leipziger Kunstlebens in the second year. Zeitschrift für Musik und Litteratur appeared in the third year and Zeitschrift für volkstümliche Kunst mit dem Beiblatt: Leipziger Konzertsaal in the fourth year. The final year bore the simple subtitle Zeitschrift für Musik und Litteratur. While originally published on a weekly basis, from April 1895 publication became generally biweekly, with occasional double and triple issues, and increased frequency during the Bayreuth Festspiele. As a result, a total of 36 issues were published in the first year, and in the following years, some 52 issues per year were published with each issue containing 30 to 40 pages of content. Having begun publication in October 1894, the publication year (Jahrgang) does not align with the calendar year. Published by Constantin Wild Verlag, large-scale publishers of sheet music and music books, LKS regularly included advertising from other music publishers. While published in Leipzig, the place of publication was sometimes fictitiously moved to Bayreuth during the Bayreuth Festspiele, reflecting the location of the journal’s contributors.

The main contents of LKS are investigations of the works of Richard Wagner, in order to deepen their understanding, to clarify the relations of the leitmotives, and to interpret Wagner's philosophical-cultural-political intentions. The LKS can be viewed as a “trend magazine,” representing a particularly fanatical group of Wagnerians. As they viewed themselves to be guardians of the Holy Grail of Wagner, LKS reflects their struggles to maintain the purity of Wagner's ideas against perceived distortions of Wagner's work in Bayreuth, then under the guidance of his widow Cosima Wagner. They argued as priests defending an orthodox religious ideal, frequently quoting the "master from Bayreuth,” to justify the only correct way of performing Wagner’s works. Much of the content in LKS demonstrates the decline in Wagnerism of this period, including the descent of into antisemitism, some of which is referenced in the LKS. For instance, after a Leipzig re-performance of the oratorio Elijah by Mendelssohn in 1899, one forcefully recommended that Mendelssohn's Elijah no longer be performed because it was a “failed hermaphroditism.” Works by other composers, such as Liszt, Berlioz, Richard Strauss, and August Bungert were also treated in detail.

The second major focus of the LKS was the discussion of correct vocal techniques. Many articles were directed against the school of Julius Hey and defended the school of Müller-Brunow and his theory of the "primary tone." Here, too, the defense of Wagner's vocal demands feature prominently. The editors, and many of the contributors, heavily criticized the so-called Leipzig Music Practice, which they viewed as dominated by reactionaries, typified by persistence in conservative concert and opera traditions.

While predominantly concerned with music, LKS also contains articles on literature and, on a minimal basis, fine arts. Until the end of the fourth Jahrgang, LKS was divided into two sections, one musical and one literary, whereby the music generally occupied the predominant part. (Content in related to literature is included in the RIPM index as titles, but editorial commentary is provided.) Rubrics such as "Vermischte Notizen" and "Aus dem internationalen Kunstleben" contain notices of music and literature. During the Bayreuth Festival, supplements titled Bayreuther Festspielausgaben appeared under separate numbering, appearing irregularly as multiple issues. The journal ceased publication without explanation following number 31/35 of 11 August 1900.

LKS was edited by Friedrich Wild and Paul Alexander Wolff. At the beginning of the final year (1899/1900) Friedrich Wild became the single editor. Wolff also wrote literary reviews under his initials P. A. W. Little is known about Wild; he may have been the same Frederick Wild as a Leipzig-based composer, singer and pianist of the same name, referenced serval times in the LKS. Whether Frederick Wild was related to the publisher Constantin Wild, from whose publishing house the magazine appeared, could not be ascertained. The most important Wagnerian contributor to LKS was Moritz Wirth, whose writings appeared in nearly every issue, mostly with longer, protracted contributions. George Armin contributed theoretical articles on singing and performance reviews of singers.

During the first year (1894/95), the main divisions were titled "Musikalisches" and "Litterarisches" and with small space devoted to the fine arts, from the second year (1895/96) on these rubrics were titled “Musikalischer Teil” and "Litterarischer Teil". Concert reviews, foremost those of Leipzig events, appeared under the heading “Aus dem internationalen Kunstleben.” This was regularly divided into the following subdivisions: “Konzertaufführungen,” “Theater (Oper),” “Theater (Schauspiel),” “Personalien,” “Verschiedenes,” finally “Auswärtige Berichte.” Longer and important discussions of concerts and opera performances were arranged in the musical part as independent articles. In addition, the sections "Die musikalische Woche" and "Litterarische Woche" were placed for the Leipzig-based reports from the 5th year (1898/99). In the last year (1900), another section entitled "Eingegangene Bücher und Musikalien" was introduced, which lists only the submissions of the publishers which are to be reviewed.

Important articles include those of Moritz Wirth on the following subjects: Wagner's Rheingold and the Cosima-Wagner question, the Wanderer as main hero in Wagner's Siegfried, “Driving to Nibelheim,” "mistreatment of the St. Matthew Passion" in Leipzig performances under the direction of Arthur Nikisch, the interpretation of Beethoven's Third Symphony as a description of the activity of Consul Bonaparte and Bismarck, Wagner's ideal of love in Die Walküre, designs of a Wagner monument in Leipzig, and a proposal for a Rheingold Society.

A series of articles by Max Chop discusses the interpretation of August Bungert's Odysseus tetralogy and the construction of a Bungert festival house in Bad Godesberg. George Armin contributes several articles on the teachings of Müller-Brunow and a criticism of his opponents. An article series by Ernst Lauterer concerns the “Volksepos” and its importance for the folk education, as well as art and knowledge as the common property of the people, representing a transition to the nationalist ideology.

While the main authors were based in Leipzig, the LKS maintained a number of correspondents in different cities. With the exception of Louise Pohl, correspondent from Baden-Baden and the widow of Richard Pohl, all contributions were signed with unidentifiable initials.

The following supplements were published:
Jahrgang 3, issue 45: “Fahrt nach Nibelheim”
Jahrgang 5, issue 26/27: Heinrich Vogl, “Der Fremde” (music)
Jahrgang 5, issue 28: Design of a Richard Wagner monument in Leipzig by Fritz Schumacher
Jahrgang 5, issue 33: Friedrich Wild, “Augen, sterblich schöne Sterne“ (music)
Jahrgang 5, issue 40: Max Reger, “In verschwiegener Nacht“ (music)
Jahrgang 5, issue 52: L. C. Törsleff, “Müller-Brunow and his school,” supplement of the Verlagsdruckerei Merseburger (Leipzig, September 1898)
Jahrgang 6, issue 23/26: Gustav Borchers, "Golgatha Calvary" and Th. Jadoul, Elegie (music)


Moritz Wirth (1849-1917) was the leading Wagnerian writing in the LKS, whose articles are distinguished by long-windedness and analytical obsessiveness. Wirth frequently discovered new leitmotifs in the scores and meticulously analyzed their transformation by Wagner. In addition, he regularly renamed and defined previously-labeled leitmotifs. His concern for leitmotifs and program music was not confined to the works of Wagner; he claimed to recognize in the Andante from Beethoven’s Third Symphony No. 3 a description of the deeds not only of the First Consul Napoleon, but also of the recently-deceased founder and chancellor of the German Reich, Bismarck. He called for the founding of a “Rheingold Society” in order to promote his discoveries and opinions.
George Armin (1871-1963), born Georg Hermann, was a singing teacher in Leipzig, later in Berlin, Thuringia and Denmark; founder of the magazine Der Stimmwart and the Gesellschaft für Stimmkultur; and an advocate of singing techniques of Müller-Brunow.
Friedrich Brandes, pianist, composer and music critic, wrote a large part of the performance reviews from Leipzig. Friedrich Adolf Geissler, wrote another major part of the Leipzig musical criticism and, last year, published a theory of the Germanic Christ in the form of Wagner's Parsifal.
Ernst Lauterer, an occultist whose writings would later inspire the Waffen-SS, pleaded for the restoration of old Germanic virtues, such as Wagner had rediscovered them in the Edda saga, and wrote of a plan for popular education based upon them.
Nicolaus Oesterlein (? 1898), Wagnerian and collector, reported on the founding of the first Wagner Museum in Vienna.
Max Chop (1862-1929), journalist and music writer, lived in Neuruppin and Berlin and mainly wrote on the works of August Bungert.
August Göllerich (1859-1923), Austrian musician, writer, Liszt’s secretary and director of the music school in Linz, wrote in the LKS on Liszt, the leitmotif and personality characteristics of Wagner.

The RIPM index of LKS is based on the copy originally held by the Musikbibliothek Peters in Leipzig, now held by the Leipziger Stadtbibliothek in the Henri Hinrichsen Collection.