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Wiener allgemeine musikalische Zeitung

(Vienna, 1813)

Prepared by Ole Hass
Online only (2010)

The Wiener allgemeine musikalische Zeitung [WAM] appeared weekly from 2 January to 29 December 1813. All fifty-one issues contain eight pages, printed in a two-column format. The final issue is given two issue numbers, without increase in numbers of pages. Edited by Ignaz von Schönholz, WAM was among the first Austrian general music journals.

The layout and content of WAM are similar to those of the important and influential Leipzig Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung. Articles on the aesthetics of music, recent musical inventions and biographical sketches are followed by reviews of performances and published compositions. Often an issue is concluded with a group of anecdotes. Advertising appears at the conclusion of several issues and consists of concert announcements and two subscription notices for sheet music.

A number of essays on various aspects of music—musical genius, the power of music, musical declamation and expression and the sublime in music—by Christian Friedrich Michaelis, professor of metaphysics and aesthetics at the University of Leipzig, are reprinted from the Berlinische musikalische Zeitung (1805-1806). Issue number six starts with an article on legal proceedings for the formation of a Musik-Dilettantenverein [society of musical dilettantes]; this became the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, founded by Ignaz von Sonnleithner and Fanny von Arnstein. Noteworthy are biographical sketches of Handel, Grétry, Piccini, the composer Florian Leopold Gaßmann, and the blind musician Marie Theresia Paradis.

The column “Pariser Opernbühnen” contains reviews of performances at the Académie impériale de musique (Gluck, Armida; Cherubini, Die Aberencagen), the Théâtre de l’Odéon (Mozart, Die Hochzeit des Figaro; Stefano Pavesi, Mark Antonio; Nicolo Zingarelli, Romeo e Giulietta), the Théâtre Feydeau (Boieldieu, Der neue Gutsherr; Nicolo Isouard, Aschenbrödel) and the Théâtre de l’Opéra-comique (Nicolo Isouard, Der Franzose in Venedig). A number of reviews come from nearby Prague and Brünn.

Reviews treat opera performances in Vienna at the Wiener Hofoper (e.g., Catel, Die Bajadere; Spontini, Die Vestalin and Mozart, Titus der Gütige)—the Kärntnertortheater (Joseph Weigl, Der Bergsturz; Paer, Sargines)—the Theater an der Wien (Mozart, Die Zauberflöte and Don Juan; Catel, Die vornehmen Wirthe [Les Aubergistes de qualité]; Winter, Das unterbrochene Opferfest; C. M. v. Weber, Abu Hassan; and the singer Christian Wilhelm Häser’s intermezzo, Pygmalion)—and the Theater in der Leopoldstadt (Wenzel Müller, Der Schloßgärtner und der Windmüller). Concerts at the Redouten-Saal include concerts known as “musical academies” given by local and traveling virtuosos and a performance of Louis Spohr’s oratorio Das jüngste Gericht. The following singers are regularly reviewed: Kathinka Buchwieser, Helena Harlas, Anna Pauline Milder-Hauptmann and the sisters Marianne and Anna Maria Sessi as well as their cousin, Therese Sessi. Notices on instrumentalists feature the clarinetist Heinrich Bärmann and violinist Pierre Rode. The reviews of Beethoven’s works are noteworthy; they include the first performances of his seventh symphony and of Wellington’s Sieg oder Die Schlacht bey Vittoria [Wellington’s Victory or The Battle at Vittoria] under his direction in the Universitätssaal in Vienna.

The journal ceased publication in December 1813 with the announcement that reviews would be continued in the Vienna Theaterzeitung. Two music supplements contain four Lieder, one each by Johann Fuß and Franz von der Golz and two by Nikolaus Freiherr von Krufft. Inconsistencies in column numbering include the repeated assignment of column numbers 459-468 and the omission of column numbers 767-784.