Link to home page

Rheinische Musik-Zeitung für Kunstfreunde und Künstler

(Cologne, 1850-1859)

Prepared by Katharina Daboul

The Rheinische Musik-Zeitung für Kunstfreunde und Künstler [RMZ] was published by M. Schloss in Cologne from July 1850 to December 1859. Ludwig Bischoff, one of the leading music critics and writers of his time, was the journal’s general editor from its inception until July 1853. According to Bischoff, the aim of the RMZ was to create a “publication that would further the true recognition of musical arts by the entire population of educated people.” A purely musicological approach was avoided. Rather, the aim was to shape the “scientific writing style into a people’s writing style,” and thus a language was formulated “to be understandable to every educated person, not just the musician.” Bischoff withdrew from the journal in 1853, and later in the same year started another periodical, the Niederrheinische Musik-Zeitung, published by DuMont-Schauburg in Cologne. August Ferdinand Riccius, a musician and theologian, followed Bischoff as the RMZ’s general editor. With the exception of the period from July to December 1853, when the journal appeared twice weekly and contained four pages, the RMZ usually appeared weekly in a two-column, eight-page format.

The journal’s preface names as contributors: Ferdinand Hiller, music director from Cologne, music writer Adolph Bernhard Marx, pianist Ignaz Moscheles, music historian François-Joseph Fétis, violinist and conductor Ch. H. Lübeck, professors Dr. Breidenstein and Dr. Heimsoeth from Bonn, music pedagogue Karl August Bertelsmann, conductor Carl Wilhelm and H. Winkelmeyer from Heidelberg.

Reflections on the history and nature of music, the newest developments in European instrumental and vocal music (particularly in Germany, France, and Italy), instrument making, and the problems of modern music education are the main topics of the journal’s leading articles. RMZ’s title points to its local focus: the Rhineland, especially Cologne and its environs, and the large number of festivals and tours of singing societies in the area. Essays also treat musical activities in European capitals (Berlin, Paris, and London) and in the United States. These contributions mainly appear as reports or as excerpts from other newspapers and music journals, such as the Süddeutsche Musikzeitung, the Grenzbote, and the Revue et Gazette musical de Paris.

The RMZ was published on the premise of total independence from its publisher and other institutions or persons, and on the impartiality and evenhandedness of its reporting. Freedom of speech within the RMZ is emphasized. Although in theory an absence of partisanship is attempted, in reality, the journal shows a clear rejection of the new German school. This attitude is reflected in a critical treatment of Wagner and Liszt, and obvious adoration of Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Thus the RMZ may be considered as a literary voice for the Rhenish school, opposing the views expressed in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, the journal of the new German school.