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Neue Berliner Musikzeitung

(Berlin, 1847-1896)

RIPM Preservation Series: European and North American Music Periodicals (2013)

Editors: Gustav Bock, Oscar Eichberg, Richard Stern, August Ludwig

Periodicity: Weekly

Publisher: Ed. Bote & G. Bock

Language: German

Continues: Berliner musikalische Zeitung (Berlin, 1844-1847)

“It is musical criticism alone that finds itself deprived of any means to reproduce not only the levers, but also the effects of art in a vivid manner. It is true that it is left with the difficulty of justifying itself by means of musical examples, but who among the multitude of readers into whose hands a critical sheet falls is able by means of the eye, by means of the imagination, to animate the inner ear in such a way that he can visualize the musical effect of a passage.”

Thus is the journalist Ernst Kossak’s (1814-1880) justification for a new music journal, published in the inaugural issue of the Neue Berliner Musikzeitung. Founded by Gustav Bock (1813-1863) of the publishing house Bote & Bock as a competitor to Carl Galliard’s three-year old Berliner musikalische Zeitung (1844-1847), the Neue Berliner Musikzeitung faced criticism from the public for the similarity of the two journal titles, leading Bock to rename the new journal as the Neue musikalische Zeitung für Berlin from 17 February until 22 September 1847. With the 29 September 1847 issue both journals were merged and the joint publication assumed the Neue Berliner Musikzeitung title.

The publication of two music journals in Berlin, even if for less than a year, demonstrated the growth of music in the city and the need for a specialized publication; since the failure Christian Friedrich Johann Girschner’s Berliner musikalische Zeitung in 1833 and the cessation of Ludwig Rellstab’s Iris im Gebiete der Tonkunst in 1841 (the latter of which was largely devoted to publication reviews only), Berlin had lacked a proper music journal. 

The Neue Berliner Musikzeitung was created in the mold of the “Allgemeine” journals, that is, providing a broad range of content, including biographical, theoretical, and pedagogical essays, copious reviews of new compositions and books, performance and production reviews, and musical news. Letters and reports from correspondents throughout Germany and the major musical centers of Europe (Paris, Vienna, Milan, London) provided a broader perspective. Contributors included the musicologist Adolph Bernhard (A. B.) Marx, the writer and critic Otto Lange, the composer and critic Theodor Uhlig, the poet and composer Josef Seiler, the composer and writer Carl Kossmaly, the pianist Alexis Hollaender, the composer and writer Louis Köhler, among others. Of particular value are the reviews of newly published compositions and musical editions; the “Recensionen” column often begins each issue.

Following the death of editor Gustav Bock in 1863, Emil Bock (1816-1871) became editor; later editors included Richard Wüerst, August Ludwig, Richard Stern, and Oscar Eichberg. A journal illustrated only by limited musical examples through most of its publication run, only in late 1890 are lithographs and photographs introduced to accompany a regular biographical feature at the start of most issues. No reason is given for the journal’s demise, though by 1896 the journal was in competition with a number of music journals published elsewhere in now-unified Germany.