Prepared by Peter Sühring
Online only (2023)
The Wiener Musik-Zeitung [RIPM code WIM] was printed by the Vienna Volksbuchdruckerei Machát and published by the “Standesvereinigung der Österreichischen Musiker” (Association of Austrian Musicians). An organization of this name did not exist in Austria at that time; it was probably referring to the “Ring der ausübenden Musiker Österreichs” (Ring of Performing Musicians in Austria), a compulsory association for all professional musicians, which had been founded in 1934 by a decree by the government of the Austrian state.
The Wiener Musik-Zeitung was initially to be published monthly and the first ten issues in the first year, from November 1934 to August 1935, appeared as announced. After an almost half-year interruption, the next issue did not appear until March 1936, with a notice appearing in the impressum that the magazine would now appear "in a casual order". This informal periodicity allowed three issues to be published in 1936: March, April/May and October-December. In the third year (1937) only one issue was published for the months of January/February. The reasons for this extremely irregular appearance and for the journal’s relatively early discontinuation are not stated within. Aside from the crisis-ridden institutional upheavals within the Austrian state (“Ständestaat”) and its dictatorial measures against a democratic culture, the journal is also likely to have been broken by internal contradictions. The responsible editor, Carl Maria Haslbruner, endorsed the reorganization of the state and took an active part in it, while the editor responsible for music criticism, Hedwig Rosenthal-Kanner, was not associated with it.
The first ten issues of the first year (1934/35) appeared in the same layout with two-column column printing of the main articles and the attached smaller sections with news and reports. From the second year (1936) the main articles appeared in one column on full pages, while reports from the concert life and the life of the clubs were printed in two columns. Issues ranged from twelve or sixteen pages in the first year, with the tenth having 20 pages; in the following two years issues usually contained twenty pages.
The rubrics in the first ten issues also sorted differently than in the following two years. In the year 1934/35, the independent main articles were followed by the headings “Berichte und Anzeigen” (Reports and Advertisements), “Verschiedenes” (Miscellaneous), “Aus den musikalischen Vereinen” (From the Musical Associations), “Musikalische Gedenktage” (Musical Remembrance Days) and a short review section “Musikalien und Bücher” (Sheet Music and Books). There was an irregular section called “Das Musikinstrument” (The Musical Instrument) with instrumental information and descriptions. In the years 1936 and 1937, the shorter concert reports were summarized under the title “Aus dem Musileben” (From Music Life) and separated into the sub-sections “Konzertreferate” (Concert Papers) and “Berichte und Anzeigen” (Reports and Advertisements), whereby the boundaries were fluid and the assignments were not always clear. A new feature was added, the “Künstlertafel” (artist table), in which individual musicians were positively highlighted by compiling positive reviews from various newspapers. The other categories mentioned, except for “Musikalische Gedenktage,” were retained. Advertising appeared in all issues, mostly in the final pages.
Editors and principal collaborators
Carl Maria Haslbruner (1878‑1952) was a Kapellmeister, choir director, music functionary, poet, and editor. Only scattered information can be located concerning Haslbruner’s activities. In 1911 he was choir director in XI. District of Vienna, then honorary president of the Austrian Music Association, editor-in-chief of its short-lived conservative magazine Musikleben (1932), and donor to and sponsor of the library of the Mozarteum Salzburg. He discovered and published after Austria's annexation to the German Reich in 1938 the Marsch des einigen Deutschlands composed by Johann Strauss Sr. in 1848. In the 1930s, Haslbruner published articles in Musica. Allgemeine Österreichische Musikzeitschrift and in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, such as a 1937 article about the composer Viktor Junk. Haslbruner wrote the libretto for the opera Der tote Mann by Robert Schollum, which was composed in 1936-38 but was not performed. Haslbruner composed and wrote text for songs, for instance “Von mir aus” in 1942. In 1938 he was elected to the board of the Austrian collecting society AKM (“Autoren, Komponisten und Musikverleger”) from which all Jews were excluded. He made no secret of his sympathy for the music politics of fascist Italy and the Austrian “estates” under the dictatorial chancellors Dollfuss and Schuschnigg. A certain orientation towards the German Reich under the National Socialist dictatorship and the music-political measures of the “Reichsmusikkammer” can also be felt.
Haslbruner was an enemy of the mechanized reproduction of music on records and the radio and even praised the ban on such presentations in Italy by Mussolini. However, he allowed positive reviews of radio concerts in the Wiener Musik-Zeitung. His articles in the Wiener Musik-Zeitung deal with the promotion of Hausmusik (house music), folk music and a guild organization of musicians with a corresponding work ethic.
Hedwig Rosenthal-Kanner (1882‑1959), b. Loewy, was born in Budapest and in 1920 married the pianist Moriz Rosenthal (1862-1946), with whom she had taken lessons after completing her training with Leschetitzky. A pianist and piano teacher at the New Vienna Conservatory and a music editor, she emigrated with her husband to New York in 1936, where from 1939 she taught at the piano virtuoso school founded by Rosenthal; she taught, among others, Robert Goldsand and Charles Rosen, before her death in Ashville, North Carolina. The Rosenthals emigrated to the USA relatively early; many of their Jewish colleagues did not do so until 1938 following the Anschluss. In the Wiener Musik-Zeitung she merged her artistic and journalistic careers, allowing (encouraging?) the journal to report on her concerts. In January/February 1937, after her emigration, Rosenthal-Kanner was still mentioned as editorially responsible for music criticism, though she no longer wrote herself. As a music critic, she had great influence over many topics, and wrote euphorically to euphemistically, for instance, referencing the wonderful symbiosis between the Viennese great composers and the Viennese musicians and listeners, while keeping silent about the ill-treatment of Bruckner and Mahler. In her writings, she saw Vienna as the hub of the international music world. Her writings also provided an example of a Jewish Wagner idolatry. Her critical stance was often contradictory; on the one hand, she generally condemned the overestimation of the conductor's function and the cult of the conductor's personalities; on the other hand, she herself cheered on the idolatry of the podium stars, by tapering concert reports to the outstanding achievements of Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Arturo Toscanini and Felix Weingartner.
Viktor Keldorfer (1873‑1959) was a choral conductor born in Salzburg, trained at the Mozarteum, head of several Viennese male choral societies, and wrote a report on the Schubertbund's journey to Rome with clear sympathy for the music policy of the Italian fascists and respect for Mussolini. He was president of the collecting society AKM.
Anny Lingg (1907‑95), born Schlesinger, later Lingg-Lessner, wrote several music reviews from Vienna and Salzburg for the Wiener Musik-Zeitung while studying musicology at the University of Vienna, where she was able to complete a "non-Aryan doctorate" with professors Robert Lach and Alfred Orel in 1938. In 1938 she emigrated to the USA, where she continued to work as a music journalist and musicologist.
Per-Erik Lunden (1909‑57) was a pianist born in Vienna with Swedish roots, wrote concert reviews and reviews in the Wiener Musik-Zeitung, while performing in Vienna.
Hans Münch (1893‑1983) was a Basel-born musician from the Alsatian musical Münch family. Later director of the Basel Conservatory and the Basler Gesangverein, he wrote articles for the Wiener Musik-Zeitung on the performance practice of Bach's cantatas and oratorios, and an introductory article on the B minor Mass.
Vera Wiesel was a music professor in Vienna who wrote concert reviews for the Wiener Musik-Zeitung focusing on new music and opera.
Some famous artists wrote guest contributions, such as Moriz Rosenthal on applause, Felix Weingartner on memorization and Bronislaw Hubermann on the role of the Jews in music (his speech on the occasion of the founding concert of the Palestinian Philharmonic Orchestra). The Wiener Musik-Zeitung’s London correspondent sensibly had the name Kurt London.
Overview of contents and major topics
In addition to critical reporting focusing on the Vienna State Opera and the Philharmonic concerts with famous conductors, the current concerts of other orchestras, ensembles and soloists were also discussed. Great emphasis was placed on the presentations of the Wiener Festwochen and the Salzburg Festival. A certain local patriotism for Vienna and a national pride in Austria as the home of music cannot be ignored. Another focal point, partly dissonant with this attitude, is the promotion of folk and house music. Reviews of music and books have their own section, but these are sparse. Historical treatises are rarely found; they are reduced to questions of performance practice such as a contribution by Haslbruner on the convent orchestra or Munich's contributions to Bach's great vocal works.
Relative importance and historical place of the journal
The magazine is a fashionable contemporary product and, on the one hand, represents an extremely idealistic and exaggerated, elitist view of high music culture using a correspondingly ingenious and mystical vocabulary (represented by Rosenthal-Kanner), and on the other hand a no less idealizing turn to folk and house music (represented by Haslbruner). While the latter, as the editor responsible, openly reveals his agreement with the anti-modern Austro-fascist cultural policy of the Austrian governments of the “Stände-Staat” (Guild state) period, the editor responsible for music criticism tries to give the appearance of the liberality and internationality of Austrian music life and to maintain and to defend them at least in the bourgeois strongholds, before the connection with the Anschluss. Anti-Semitic tones do not arise; however, she expresses slight criticism of the discrimination which Jewish musicians had to suffer in the German Reich, and she appeared to believe Austria was free of such problems.
The national significance of this short-lived magazine is likely to have been limited; few traces beyond the period of its immediate appearance can be found.
Table of initials
|P. E. L. / p. e. l.
|Anny Lingg (Ann Lessner)
|C. M. H. / c. m. h.
Carl Maria Haslbruner
This RIPM Index was based on a copy of the journal held by the Wiener Stadtbibliothek.