Prepared by Annette Vosteen (1834-1844);
Peter Sühring, Alexander Staub, and Ole Hass (1845-1868)
Founded by Robert Schumann in 1834, the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik was published twice weekly and generally consisted of four two-column pages in quarto format. During its first year of publication, the journal was edited by Schumann and three members of the Davidsbündler [Society of artists]: the piano pedagogue Friedrich Wieck, and the pianists Julius Knorr and Ludwig Schunke. Owing to the absences of one co-editor, and to the frail health of the other two, Schumann was eventually obliged to assume the role of sole editor. Oswald Lorenz, a regular contributor, was twice engaged as temporary editor during Schumann’s visits to Vienna (1838-39) and Russia (1844). On 1 July 1844 Schumann resigned his editorship owing to the pressure of work as a composer, and sold the journal to Franz Brendel, who took over as editor on 1 January 1845.
Music criticism had a special significance for Schumann and the Davidsbündler, and the journal was explicitly conceived of as an alternative to the perceived critical indifference of some earlier music journals, in particular, the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, edited at the time by G. W. Fink.
The NZM contains a very rich array of articles and reviews on diverse subjects embracing music making throughout Europe, written by some of the best-known German and other European music critics and writers of the era. Schumann himself contributed more than three hundred articles about composers as diverse as Beethoven, Hummel, Mendelssohn and Rossini, as well as reviews of concerts and operas. Among Oswald Lorenz’s many contributions are reviews of contemporary piano music and books on music theory. Alfred Julius Becher, the Cologne correspondent, reviewed the Utrecht music festival. Carl Ferdinand Becker wrote on the history of choral music and reviewed the Universal-Lexicon der Tonkunst. Heinrich Dorn reported on musical life in Riga and St. Petersburg. Gustav Adolph Keferstein examined the songs of Loewe, while Johann Christian Lobe explained poetry created for musical settings. Andreas Kretzschmer considered the criteria of musical beauty and the nature of folksong. Biographical sketches of Beethoven and Handel were provided by Johann Peter Leyser. The famous German music theorist Adolph Bernhard Marx discussed Bach’s keyboard compositions. Otto Nicolai wrote about his experiences as a German musician in Italy and the nature of Italian opera. Friedrich Edward Sobolewski, a musician much admired by Schumann, discussed romanticism as well as serving as correspondent from Königsberg. Anton Wilhelm von Zuccamaglio dealt with folk music, musical modernism, Ferdinand Hiller and German folksong.
Carl Mangold corresponded from Paris, as did Joseph Mainzer who wrote extensive reviews of contemporary French operas by Adam, Auber, Donizetti, Gomis, Halévy, Monpou and Thys. Another well-known Paris correspondent was Heinrich Panofka. John Thompson reported on musical events in Birmingham, Edinburgh and London. Joseph-François Fétis, Joseph d’Ortigue, Stephen Heller and Berlioz were prominent occasional authors, their articles being translated from the French press.
Description for 1845-1868, the years of Franz Brendel's editorship, is forthcoming.