Thanks, Old Timer!!
by Daniel N. Leeson
This bicentennial retrospective would be incomplete without a reminder of and a thank you to a few special lovers of Mozart's music. They made a significant contribution to our knowledge of Mozart and we need reminding about the debt we owe them. Without their work, the picture of Mozart, both man and musician, would be far less complete. Since the only known copies of certain Mozart compositions were part of the personal holdings of some of these people, it is almost sure that a few compositions of the standard Mozart repertoire would have become lost without their care and concern. Their efforts, often carried out at personal expense, have helped bring us to the current base of Mozart knowledge.
Those who want to do serious Mozart study often begin with and reap the benefits of the work of these special people. To those not actively engaged in Mozart research, their contributions are cloudy or even unknown. What did they do, what is so special about them, and what debt do Mozart lovers owe them?
Because Ludwig Köchel was spoken of extensively elsewhere in MadAminA! (see "Ritter von Köchel's Katalog" in the Spring 1991 issue), he is not included here. For the same reason, Johann Anton André, whose importance lies in the fact that he purchased a vast collection of autographs from Mozart's widow Konstanze, is also not spoken of here (see "L'Opera Ultima," also in the Spring 1991 issue of MadAminA!). The following selection of people-only the deceased were chosen represents personal opinion. I begin chronologically.
Aloys (Alois) Fuchs (1799-1853) was an Austrian collector of Mozart's music. He bought autograph scores and, if unavailable for purchase, he personally made manuscript copies of originals. When doing so was impractical, he paid someone else to make the copies. If an original was lost or unavailable, he would copy a copy of the original. When a printed edition existed, he would seek it out, buy it or copy it, and add it to his collection. Everything to do with Mozart interested him: letters, music, memorabilia.
Fuchs's importance lies in the fact that his interest in collecting came at the right time. He was born in the decade following Mozart's death when his music that which was published was the object of intense curiosity. The focus naturally centered on listening to and performing it. Serious technical study of both Mozart the man and Mozart the musician was not to begin before the middle of the nineteenth century. It was during a large portion of that 60-year period that Fuchs collected Mozartiana. It was as if he anticipated and prepared for the technical study to come by creating a cache of treasures that waited safely until needed. Fuchs's holdings and the catalogues that he prepared of them occupy a vital place in Mozart research. Köchel used them as a prime source in the preparation of his catalogue.
Fuchs was not a professional musician. His training was in philosophy and law, and his living came from a variety of bureaucratic positions with the Austrian government, including drafting assistant, chancery clerk, and war office official. He was an amateur organist, cellist, and choir singer. His donations of a large part of his holdings to Prague's Narodni Museum and Vienna's Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde established those sites as important centers of Mozart research.
Otto Jahn (1813-1869) was, like Fuchs, a man who supported his Mozart interests by making a living doing something else. He was a philologist, an archaeologist, and one of his era's leading scholars of Greek mythology. A specialist in Greek vase painting, he also published a text-critical edition of Persius and Juvenal still considered valuable. He was Professor of Classics at the University of Bonn, where he also served as the Director of the University's Art Museum.
Though without serious musical training, Jahn's passion for music rivaled his youthful love for the classics. He became a Mozart scholar at the age of 39 as an indirect result of his interest in writing a biography of Beethoven. After amassing a large body of material, Jahn concluded that his Beethoven studies could not continue without an understanding of the music of both Mozart and Haydn. Once begun, his Mozart studies occupied much of the remainder of his life. In an unselfish act of generosity, Jahn gave his collection of Beethoveniana to Alexander Wheelock Thayer, whose The Life of Beethoven (1866-1879) owes much to Jahn's research.
Jahn originally intended to publish both a biography and a thematic catalogue of Mozart's music. On learning of Köchel's work, he donated a mass of relevant material to his colleague and worked only on the biography. In gratitude, Köchel dedicated his catalogue to Jahn, a magnificent
gesture repeated with each edition of this centerpiece of Mozart study.
By virtue of his four-volume biography of the composer (1856-59), Jahn holds a central position in Mozart scholarship. He sought out and spoke to every one of the few surviving people who had known Mozart some 60-odd years earlier. He located and laboriously copied out family correspondence. He examined every Mozart autograph that could be made available to him, often traveling great distances to do so. His personal collection of Mozartiana included a copy of every known work composed by Mozart, either in a published edition or in a manuscript copy made at his expense. He relied heavily on the Aloys Fuchs cache in assembling his vast holdings.
Jahn's biography of Mozart is without precedent in scope and scale. Simply and clearly presenting a mass of data, he covers important tangential topics such as the place of Mozart's music in the eighteenth-century social world. While Jahn's views on some matters have become less valuable with time, his biography remains the starting point for the serious Mozart lover. It is important enough to have been revised and republished six times, most recently in 1955. An English translation exists.
Jahn's personal holdings were so vast that, at his death in Göttingen in 1869, three separate auctions were held to dispose of his estate, one for classics, one for archeology, and one for music. Alone, the music auction took five days. Its contents are still sought out by scholars and examined for the value that the items have to contemporary Mozart research.
Marie-Olivier-Georges Poulain, Comte de Saint-Foix (1874-1954) was France's most important Mozart specialist, a prolific author, founder of the Société Française de Musicologie, and, as a member of the Academie des Arts et Sciences in Aix-en-Provence, an important force in that city's famous Mozart festival. Unfortunately, his research, including his five-volume biography/chronology of Mozart (1912-46) whose first two volumes were co-authored by Theodore de Wyzewa has fallen into some disfavor and disuse. This is because his romantic, subjective style conflicts with contemporary scientific scholarship. Saint-Foix had a habit of attempting to solve problems by inventing plausible but fictitious scenarios that surmounted all obstacles. This approach, called "The Principle of Occam's Razor," accepts the most reasonable of many possible solutions as the probable one. With repetition, Saint-Foix's speculations were often elevated to the status of traditional wisdom. It was only a short journey from there to the point where Saint-Foix's scenarios were presented as the way things happened.
But Saint-Foix, a rarity among musicologists, was a trained professional performer, holder of a diploma in violin from Paris's Schola Cantorum and an able quartet player. He brought a keen eye and a performer's instinctive approach to his research. In retrospect, some of his scenarios appear to come from peering into a very accurate crystal ball. For example, years before anyone voiced a concern about the authenticity of the Sinfonie Concertante for four winds and orchestra, Saint-Foix pointed out unexplainable anomalies in its structure. He specialized in microanalysis, ignoring large-scale structure in favor of this f-sharp or that chord inversion.
Saint-Foix is out of fashion because many of his speculations have turned out to be incorrect. Often ignored is the fact that many have turned out to be prophetic. His writings are like a diamond field studded with 24 carat flawless gems lying just below the surface. His chronology of Mozart's compositions, part of his Mozart biography, was the single greatest
influence in Einstein's reworking of the Köchel catalogue.
Alfred Einstein (1880-1952) remains this century's most important Mozart scholar. He possessed a simple but elegant writing style and his influence still dominates contemporary
Mozart study. After receiving his doctorate in musicology in 1903, Einstein specialized in many areas of which Mozart was only one. Nor did he think it was the most important one. For example, he was an expert on German works for viola da gamba from the 16th and 17th centuries. In pre-xerography days, he spent years hand-copying hundreds of pieces to complete the first comprehensive study in any language on the Italian madrigal. His work in this arena is yet to be superseded as a whole. Professionally, he served as music critic for both the Munich Post
and the Berlin Tageblatt. He was the first editor of what is still one of the world's most important musicological journals, the Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft. It was a position that gave him extraordinary influence. He was also a gifted editor of music and supervised the production of many still in-print editions including Mozart's complete string quartets and quintets. More than 30 years after his death, Edition Peters was still printing new material edited by Einstein.
After his arrival in the United States in 1939 he became an American citizen in 1945 he taught at Columbia, Princeton, the Hartt School of Music, the University of Michigan, Smith, and Yale. His estate is housed at the University of California in Berkeley with the Mozart portion of it separated into individual manila envelopes. Each bears a specific Köchel listing. Deposited in every envelope is relevant material, much of it by Einstein, for the work bearing that Köchel listing.
His knowledge of the breadth of Mozart's music was without parallel in his lifetime. One can only appreciate his importance as editor of the third edition of the Köchel catalogue (K3) with a knowledge of an interesting and unknown anecdotal aside that contains a bizarre political dimension. Einstein, a Jew, voluntarily left Germany in the mid-1930s. He completed work on K3 in Italy in April, 1936, with publication occurring in Germany shortly before the start of the Second World War. I once asked Einstein's daughter, Eva, how it was possible for her father's revision of the catalogue to have been published in Germany in the late 1930s, considering the Nazi attitude to all things Jewish. She described the project as one with which the Nazi hierarchy could not cope. No one had her father's stature in Mozart research. Getting someone else to do the work would have cost Breitkopf & Härtel a fortune in already-invested money, and delayed publication for years. The decision to print K3 under Einstein's editorship rose through the Nazi hierarchy as each bureaucrat pushed the decision upward. Finally it reached the desk of Joseph Göbbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda. K3 was printed only after his personal approval.
There was nothing stuffy about Einstein. When he and his family arrived in the United States as immigrants, they spoke little English. To learn the language, they attended a WPA class in English for the foreign-born held at the community house of Congregation Ansche Chesed on West 100th Street in New York City. The instructor, who used group singing as a teaching technique, asked if anyone could play the piano. Einstein volunteered and that is how he became accompanist for the immigrants as they sang "Yankee Doodle." Each student was periodically required to make a brief speech. Then the instructor would comment on accent, grammar, and usage. Einstein spoke briefly on his interests and mentioned that he had done work on madrigals. When asked what a madrigal was, he responded, "A madrigal is a short chorus in a free rhythm for unaccompanied voices, mostly serenades dedicated to the beautiful Italian ladies. It was the noblest form of vocal music in that time." It does not sound as if Einstein needed much help either in grammar or vocabulary, but the instructor criticized his pronunciation of the English "th" sound and gave him an assignment to practice the sentence "The sixth rhythm seems rather thrilling." (See The New Yorker, June 3, 1939.)
Biographical writings report that Alfred Einstein was a relative to the scientist Albert Einstein. Yet my inquiries to Eva Einstein elicited the response that neither she nor her father could confirm any familial connection with the famous physicist. The families of both men came from the same small town (Buchau am Federsee near Ulm) so a relationship is possible, but remains unproven. In Munich they attended the same school and both sang in the chorus together. During the 1920s, the two men, neighbors in Berlin, were plagued with mail getting misdirected to the wrong "A. Einstein."
By a fortuitous circumstance, I live near El Cerrito, California where Einstein is buried. Each year on February 13, the anniversary of his death, I visit the graveside with a tape recorder and play Mozart. Einstein's wife, one of the three Zauberflöte ladies to whom he cryptically dedicated Mozart, His Character, His Work (1945), lies by his side. (The other two ladies were his sister, Bertha and his daughter, Eva.)
Otto Erich Deutsch (1883-1967) was the most unusual Mozart scholar. (In fact, his scholarship far transcended the realm of Mozart. His name has been immortalized as the D. that designates the works of Schubert, with which he is as intrinsically bound as Köchel is to Mozart's.) He had little interest in the aesthetics of music, less in its performance aspects, and none in musical criticism. He made a living in a variety of professions unrelated to music: art critic and historian, bookseller, and librarian.
Deutsch had two remarkable qualities: he was a tireless collector of facts, and he allowed these facts to speak for themselves. These two qualities made his biography of Mozart a unique literary form. The technique is so special, it bears the description "Documentary Biography" and is unlike any other method of doing a life history.
Deutsch chronologically presents various documents contemporary to Mozart that refer to him in important, though sometimes tangential ways. The biography consists entirely of documents bearing little apparent relationship to each other. On the surface this sounds like an unpromising way to construct a biography. It appears to be impossible to make something exciting or vital out of artifacts such as: (1) a brief remark in the diary of one Joseph Benedikt von Loes, a Salzburg businessman, who comments on the fact that he took a brief evening walk with the Mozart family; (2) a condolence message written by Mozart in the memorial book for the funeral of his personal physician; (3) a newspaper advertisement announcing manuscript copies at a price-per-page for the piano concerti, K. 413, 414, and 415; (4) a notice of a benefit concert for two itinerant basset horn players at which Mozart was one of many performers; (5) a notation from Mozart's expense book documenting his spending one kreuzer for two mayflowers; (6) a note in an album of his wife's cousin, Edmund Weber, in which Mozart tells him to "Be industrious [and] shun idleness"; (7) the official inventory of Mozart's estate at the time of his deah ("3
poor silver spoons, 8 underpants, 1 tin teapot, l Venetian blind, 1 matrimonial bed..."); and (8) Beethoven's 1825 written comment that "Even now people still claim very forcefully that Salieri was Mozart's murderer."
Yet Deutsch's way of selecting and piecing together a range of disparate sources is a moving and thought-provoking experience. Besides the unexpected emotional impact, the scholarly value of Deutsch's documentary biography is great because it gives insight into the sociological contributions of Mozart's era to his creations and vice versa.
As if producing one masterpiece were not enough for a single lifetime, Deutsch then combined his skills in art history with his interest in musical biography to produce a second: Mozart
and His World in Contemporary Pictures. His special love for visual illustration as a basis for conveying biographical information was a brilliant extension of his passionate interest in facts. Finally, Deutsch began a multi-volume critical edition of Mozart's letters with W.A. Bauer. Only death prevented the completion of his work on the commentary.
Emily Anderson (1891-1962) was a multilingual Irishwoman who served in the British Foreign Office from the mid- 1920s until 1951. For a part of this period, Anderson took part in the cloak-and-dagger activities of British intelligence for which she received the Order of the British Empire. As a professional woman with a complex career, she had to have had little leisure time. Yet she managed to devote a good portion of what there was to translating the letters of Mozart and his family into English. What magnificent translations they are! She was the first person to publish Mozart's scatological letters in unabridged form in any language. Though known to exist by scholars, the correspondence was either printed privately or heavily censored or bowdlerized. Mozart's coprophilous nonsense-rhymes, word games, and naughty suggestions to his
cousin, Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, were a revelation to the English-speaking world when Anderson's translation appeared in 1939. Remarkably, she handled Mozart's silly poems, both obscene and otherwise, with such skill that the German rhymes were preserved in translation.
For example, in a letter to his mother on January 31, 1778, Mozart writes:
Gefurzt wird allzeit auf die Nacht
Und immer so, dass es brav kracht.
Doch gestern war der furze Konig,
desen Fürze riechen wie Hönig,
Nicht gar zu wohl in der Stimme,
Er war auch selbsten voller Grimme.
In Anderson's brilliant translation, this scandalous text became:
At night of farts there is no lack,
Which are let off, forsooth, with a powerful crack.
The king of farts came yesterday
Whose farts smelt sweeter than the May.
His voice, however, was no treat
And he himself was in a heat.
Her handling of the letters in a lively, readable manner remained faithful to the original. The beautifully researched footnotes enable understanding of the letter's contents and are an extremely valuable part of the book. Even today, hers continues to be the standard English-language version of Mozart's letters. The translations were revised and reprinted in 1966 and in 1985.