February 28

Lesser-Known Composers in the 
Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung
RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”

The influential German music journal, Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung [AMZ], appeared weekly from 1798 to 1848, and again, from 1863 to 1882. Along with reviews and analyses of printed music, reports on musical life, announcements, news, and miscellaneous sections, many volumes contain at least one portrait of a musician. A number of the composers depicted in this periodical are lesser-known today, yet distinguished enough to be featured at the time of publication.

This week, we bring attention to a few of these lesser-known composers by presenting their featured portraits in the AMZ. Are you familiar with their music? Should we be?

A. B. Marx
Vol. L, Supplementary pages ([5 January – 27 December 1848]): [1] 920/921.

Friedrich Heinrich Adolf Bernhard Marx (1795-1866) was a German composer whose works include oratorios, sonatas, and an opera, yet is perhaps best known today for his contributions as a music critic and theorist. In 1825, he became the editor of the Berliner allgemeine musikalische Zeitung and in 1830, upon the recommendation of longtime friend and colleague Felix Mendelssohn, was appointed professor of music at Berlin University. His publications include a seminal four-volume work, Die Lehre von der musikalischen Komposition, praktisch-theoretisch (The Theory and Practice of Musical Composition), and a biography of Beethoven.

G. W. Fink
Vol. XLVIII, Supplementary pages ([7 January – 30 December 1846]): [1] 944/1

German composer, music theorist, and poet Gottfried Wilhelm Fink (1783-1846) was a longtime contributor to the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitschrift, and in 1827, became the magazine’s editor-in-chief. His compositions consist mainly of songs, many of which appeared in collected editions.  He also edited the Musikalischer Hausschatz der Deutschen, a collection of around 1,000 German songs.

Niels W. Gade
Vol. XLVII, Supplementary pages ([1 January – 31 December 1845]): [1] 888/1

Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817-1890) was a Danish composer, conductor, violinist, organist and teacher. Born in Copenhagen, Gade moved to Germany in 1843 to teach at the Leipzig Conservatory, and in 1845, conducted the premiere of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. In 1848, the First Schleswig War forced Gade to return to Denmark, where he soon after founded the Copenhagen Conservatory. His oeuvre includes symphonies, a violin concerto, chamber music, keyboard works, and cantatas. A number of Gade’s most popular works may be sampled in this lengthy recording.

Ferdinand Hiller
Vol. II, Supplementary pages ([1864]): 1 S.

German composer, conductor, writer, and music-director Ferdinand Hiller (1811-1885) was a leading figure in the musical life of 19th-century Germany, having worked professionally in Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Dresden, and as twelve-time festival director of Das Niederrheinische Musikfest (Lower Rhenish Music Festival). The dedicatee and conductor of the premiere of Robert Schumann’s only piano concerto, Hiller’s own compositional output spans practically all genres. Below is an excerpt of his Opus 69 Piano Concerto.


Henri Herz
Vol. XLII, Supplementary pages ([1 January – 23 December 1940]): [1] 1060/1

Henri Herz (1803-1888) was known as both a celebrated pianist and composer. Born in Vienna, Herz settled in Paris as a student at the Paris Conservatoire, where he became a longstanding professor.  In 1839, Herz, like Sax and Pleyel, created a factory in Paris for the construction of instruments.  Often, instrument manufacturers also built performance venues to promote their specific brands.  Herz and his brother Jacques Simon Herz followed this model and constructed the Salle des Concerts Herz on the rue de la Victoire.  Works of many well-known composers, including Berlioz and Offenbach were performed there.

Herz’s published compositions include over 200 works, mostly for the piano; a sampling may be heard in the following clip below.


RIPM search tip: To view more portraits in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, access the RIPM Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, and fill in the following fields: Keyword = Porträt; Periodical = Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung [1798-1848]; Type = Illustration.

For more information on the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, read RIPM‘s introduction to the journal in English, or, German!

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RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

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Posted February 28, 2018 by Ben Knysak in category "Illustration(s) of the Week