In the 1870s, both August Wilhelm Ambros and Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin worked as reviewers of music in Vienna: Ambros had regularly been writing for the Wiener Zeitung since 1872, and Laurencin was, among other things, a Viennese correspondent for the newly established music journal Dalibor in Prague. The reviews by these two authors illustrate their respective approach to music aesthetics in the wake of their famous public responses to Hanslick’s treatise On the Musically Beautiful in the 1850s. Moreover, a comparison of Ambros’s and Laurencin’s reviews points to significant differences between music criticism in Vienna as opposed to Prague. In fact, Ambros’s and Laurencin’s Viennese reviews challenge the classification of the two authors as anti-formalist opponents of Hanslick: This fact becomes particularly evident in Ambros’s criticism. Not only did Ambros show broad open-mindedness in view of Brahms’s music, but he also wrote an enthusiastic review on the fourth revision of Hanslick’s treatise. Even Laurencin, who undeniably tended towards idealistic aesthetics, does not accord with the classification as “Wagnerian.” Thus it can be concluded that the music aesthetics in the second half of the 19th century were considerably more complex than the common binary narrative of Wagnerians versus anti-Wagnerians suggests.

Ambros’s and Laurencin’s Careers as Music Critics

[1] August Wilhelm Ambros (1816–1876) and Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin, Baron of Armond (1819–1890), were born in the territory of what is today the Czech Republic: Ambros in Bohemian Mýto close to Prague, Laurencin in Moravian Kroměříž. Each has gone down in the history of musical aesthetics in virtue of one writing, with a close connection to the work of Eduard Hanslick. Hanslick’s 1854 treatise Vom Musikalisch-Schönen[1] [On the Musically Beautiful] prompted Ambros and Laurencin to write polemics: the former published his the following year under the title Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie[2] [The Boundaries of Music and Poetry]; the latter published his in 1859, after the appearance of Hanslick’s second (revised) edition,[3] under the title Dr. Eduard Hanslick’s Lehre Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. Eine Abwehr[4] [Dr. Hanslick’s Doctrine of the Beautiful in Music: a Rebuttal], with a dedication to Franz Liszt. When Ambros relocated to Vienna at the beginning of 1872 (27 years later than Laurencin), the paths of the two critics of Hanslick crossed again—both went from being music critics to being rival colleagues of Hanslick, the Viennese “pope of critics.” It is precisely this common Viennese period that stands at the center of the present article, especially since this period is bound up with two key issues: on the one hand, on the basis of Ambros’s and Laurencin’s musical critiques of the 1870s it is possible to trace the development of their aesthetic views after the publication of the aforementioned polemics against Hanslick; on the other hand, it is possible to compare the coverage of Viennese musical life in the Viennese and Prague press. Ambros’s musical critiques from the Wiener Zeitung and Laurencin’s Viennese correspondence reports in the Prague journal Dalibor[5] form the source basis for this.

At the time that Ambros took over the music and art section of the Wiener Zeitung[6] and Laurencin took up his correspondence work for the Dalibor,[7] both were already experienced music critics. Ambros gained his long years of experience chiefly in the Prague feuilletonist paper Bohemia and in the Prager Zeitung,[8] while Laurencin published above all in the Allgemeine Wiener Musik-Zeitung, the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, and the Blätter für Musik, Theater und Kunst.[9] In contrast to Laurencin, Ambros was basically a musical autodidact.[10] He nonetheless succeeded in making a name for himself not only in the field of musical criticism and aesthetics, but also in musical historiography. With his monumental Geschichte der Musik[11] he even made a key contribution to the established historical musicology. Ambros also made his mark as a musical historian in his Viennese critiques.[12] Instead of outbursts of poetic enthusiasm in the Schumannesque style, which were typical of Ambros’s early “League of David” Prague period,[13] the Viennese critiques are dominated by sober treatments of works interspersed with observations about musical history. The purpose and goal of musical criticism is no longer the “poeticizing paraphrase”[14]—the attempt to hold on to the fleeting moments of a musical performance in poetical (metaphorical) speech—but rather the passing of judgement, the refining of the public’s taste, and the influencing of the formation of repertoire. Laurencin’s reports in the Dalibor—like his other critiques, incidentally[15]—consist first and foremost of descriptions of subjective feelings and impressions. Laurencin inclines on the one hand towards pedantic exactness and on the other towards enthusiastic frenzy;[16] for the most part, however, he has to be brief, for he has much less space at his disposal in the Dalibor than Ambros has in the Wiener Zeitung. As a correspondent he often limits himself to brief reviews, which form a complex picture only in their totality.[17]

Responses to Hanslick’s Vom Musikalisch-Schönen in the 1850s

[2] Ambros and Laurencin’s musical-aesthetic conception was already interpreted in the 19th century primarily against the background of the polemic against Hanslick. In the treatise Das Musikalisch-Schöne und das Gesammtkunstwerk vom Standpuncte der formalen Aesthetik[18] [The Beautiful in Music and the Complete Artwork from the Viewpoint of Formal Aesthetics] by the Herbartian Otakar Hostinský, Ambros’s musical aesthetics study Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie is characterized as follows:

Seine Schrift über “die Grenzen der Musik und Poësie” … bietet die von den Gegnern HANSLICK’S in’s Treffen geführten Gründe zugleich in so grosser Zahl und von so verschiedenen Gesichtspuncten, dass man sie füglich als den ersten Repräsentanten der gesammten gegen das Buch “Vom Musikalisch Schönen” gerichteten Polemik ansehen darf.

[His writing on “die Grenzen der Musik und Poësie” presents the reasons put forward by the opponents of HANSLICK at once so copiously and from so many different points of view that one may conveniently regard them as the premier representatives of the entire polemic directed against the book “Vom Musikalisch Schönen.”][19]

In the chapter “Hanslick and his opponents,” Hostinský thoroughly analyzes Ambros’s approach[20] and also briefly describes the polemic, waged from “an exclusively Hegelian standpoint,”[21] of Laurencin. However, in speaking of Ambros and Laurencin in one breath and numbering them among the “opponents of Hanslick,” and in representing Ambros’s arguments as a certain compression of the entire anti-formalist polemic, he gives a narrow interpretation. Although Ambros immediately gives notice in the Introduction to Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie that he will often “contest” Hanslick’s views,[22] his polemic is by no means to be compared with Laurencin’s heated attack, which builds on the argumentation of Johann Christian Lobe.[23] Laurencin defends the standpoint of feeling as “the only possible point of departure for all science of music,”[24] and he can therefore only classify Hanslick as a representative of “soulless materialism” and a “fanatic against program music.”[25] Ambros’s approach is consequently more complex, because Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie is intended to be a double polemic. The author pits himself on the one hand against Hanslick and on the other hand against modern program music (Berlioz), the developmental tendency of which makes him suspicious:

Die Tonsetzer wollen ihren großen außermusikalischen Ideenreichtum in die Musik hineintragen, ihr Dinge aufzwingen, für welche sie keine Sprache hat …. Aber eben deswegen, weil der bunte Ideenreichtum sich überfluthend in alle Kreise drängt, gilt es, sich klar bewußt zu sein, was in jedem Kreise Raum hat und was nicht.

[Musicians wish to drag their great extra-musical wealth of ideas into music, force upon it things for which it has no speech. Precisely for this reason, however, that the motley wealth of ideas urges itself overflowingly into all circles, it is important that one should have a clear idea as to what belongs or does not belong to either sphere.][26]

The Hegelian aesthetics of ideas of Adolf Bernhard Marx, on which Ambros builds,[27] indeed forms an overarching framework for his argumentation against Hanslick, yet nonetheless the polemic itself is marked by affinities both to romantic metaphysics and, under the surface, to Hanslick’s “idealistic materialism.”[28] Despite consciously distancing himself from the formalistic standpoint, Ambros has not only completely grasped the Hanslickian form/spirit concept but has approached it himself in the second half of his writing through the continuous passage from the transcendence principle to the immanence principle.[29]

Development of Ambros’s and Laurencin’s Aesthetic Views in the 1870s

[3] Ambros confronts the problem of program music in Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie without having experienced the symphonic poems of Liszt; he can tentatively make for himself a picture of Wagner’s music drama only from Wagner’s theoretical writings. Twenty years later the situation of the European musical scene already looks essentially different. The battle between the aesthetics of content and the aesthetics of form assumes new dimensions through the intensive preparations for Wagner’s “Bayreuth” on the one hand and the flowering of Brahms’s “absolute” instrumental music on the other. There are quarrels between Wagnerians and anti-Wagnerians both in Vienna and in Prague, where the Wagner polemic encroaches significantly on the discussion about the establishment of Czech national music (N.B., national opera).[30] It is precisely in this context that Ambros’s critiques for the Wiener Zeitung and Laurencin’s reports for the Prague Dalibor originate.

The exchange on musical aesthetics with Hanslick, with whom, incidentally, both Ambros and Laurencin were on friendly terms,[31] enters a new phase in the 1870s. Laurencin continues along the path taken in Dr. Eduard Hanslick’s Lehre, while consciously distancing himself from the conservative party and its Brahms propaganda.[32] Ambros strives to reach an understanding with Hanslick. This desire finds expression especially in his comprehensive review[33] of the fourth edition[34] of Hanslick’s Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. Ambros welcomes the edition as an “essentially improved” one. Nonetheless, on closer examination it emerges that most of the passages that Ambros cites and endorses are already contained in the first edition.[35] The tenor of the review was not so much on account of the changes in the later editions—these, as is well known, tended rather in the opposite direction, especially since Hanslick, under the influence of Robert Zimmermann, had deleted some idealistic-sounding passages[36]—than it was motivated by an increasing liberalization of Ambros’s musical criticism and aesthetics. The Ambros of 1874 accepts Hanslick’s standpoint as a “philosophical” attitude of reception.[37] In order to defend Hanslick’s approach, Ambros even goes so far as to (mis)interpret the revision of the treatise as a kind of softening of the harshly formalistic standpoint under the influence of contemporary instrumental music:

Als Hanslik [sic] seine Schrift später, nicht mehr in dem Lärm und Tumult des allgemeinen Kampfes, wieder einmal vornahm, als die Programm-Symphonien außer Mode kamen und die kurzen Klavierstücke mit Ueberschriften—beiläufig gesagt: auch schon bei François Couperin und Rameau wohl bekannt—seltener wurden, als man gelegentlich wieder von bedeutenden Tonstücken in größeren Formen hörte, die einfach Symphonie, Sonate u. s. w. hießen und der Phantasie des Hörers nicht zumutheten, dazu ganze Novellen zu dichten, schliff Hanslik die schärfsten Spitzen weg.

[When Hanslik revisited his writing again later, no longer in the noise and tumult of the general struggle, when program symphonies went out of fashion and short piano pieces with titles—well known, incidentally, in the days of François Couperin and Rameau—became rarer, when one occasionally heard of significant compositions in grander forms, which are simply called symphonies, sonatas, etc., and do not expect the reader’s imagination to compose whole novellas for them, Hanslik cut off the sharpest points.][38]

Ambros’s rehabilitation of Hanslick’s formal aesthetics is certainly partly fabricated, but his enthusiasm for the music favored by the conservative party is nonetheless spontaneous and genuine. When in December 1872 Brahms’s Triumphlied op. 55 was premiered in Vienna, Ambros allowed himself to get carried away to the point of penning a truly enthusiastic review full of prophetic confidence:

Eine Zeit, welche es noch vermag Werke hervorzubringen wie das “Triumphlied” von Johannes Brahms … bedeutet denn doch noch etwas und sogar viel! … Nein, eine Zeit, welche dergleichen vermag, ist noch keine Zeit des Kunstverfalls! … Brahms aber “trete” ruhig weiter, der Weg, den er tritt, führt zur Unsterblichkeit!

[A time that is still capable of bringing forth works like the Triumphlied of Johannes Brahms still means something, and even much! No, a time that is capable of such is still no time of the fall of art! But let Brahms “tread” on gently; the way that he treads leads to immortality!][39]

[4] What did the readers of the Prague Dalibor learn of the Triumphlied? Laurencin keeps it short: a “frozen music” that does not flow from the composer’s “own soul.”[40] Laurencin also expresses his thoroughly lukewarm attitude to Brahms on other occasions,[41] when he even extends his criticism to Brahms’s conducting.[42] Ambros, however, values Brahms’s achievements in this area too.[43] It is noteworthy that he discovers in Brahms a symphonist as well,[44] without having heard his first symphony.[45]

The judgement on Brahms goes along with an appreciation of the classics Haydn and Mozart. Since Laurencin is accustomed to measuring the classics against the “spirit of modern music,” works such as Mozart’s piano concerto in C major (K. 503) or Franz Lachner’s suites embarrass him. Ambros admires in the former work the “fine embroidery of passages” and rejoices over these “buried treasures”;[46] Laurencin repudiates it as a youthful work written “while drinking coffee” and full of empty, expressionless phrases.[47] The differences in the reporting about Haydn’s London Symphony C major (Hob. I:97) are uncanny. Laurencin mocks Haydn’s “playing with notes” [Tonspielerei],[48] while Ambros finds the rococo swing of this work charming.[49] Although Laurencin professes the principle of totality and so wishes to be open to the works of all artistic periods,[50] his judgements all too often violate this principle. As “the son of a more fortunate and higher-standing artistic period,” he looks down on Haydn’s symphony—the product, according to him, of a “childhood period” of art.[51] Ambros decisively rejects this model, by which he had still been influenced in Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie.[52] His displeasure at the glorification of modern music at the expense of the music of older epochs is directed unmistakeably against the New Germans:

Wir [haben] dazu lächeln gelernt, wenn man uns z. B. gelegentlich Mozart verblümter und Gluck unverblümter Weise als veraltet und nicht mehr hörenswerth schildert und wenn manche kritische Tintenfässer zu Petroleumbüchsen werden, mit denen die Prachtbauten jener hohen Meister in Brand gesteckt werden wollen, und das alles nur, damit Raum werde, daß einziehe der König der Ehren und keine Götter auf Erden seien neben ihm.

[We have learnt to smile when, e.g., someone describes Mozart obliquely, and Gluck plainly, as obsolete and no longer worth listening to, and when some inkpots turn into petrol cans with which the magnificent buildings of these high masters are to be set alight, and all of this solely in order that room may be made for the mighty king of honor to move in, next to whom there are no gods on earth.][53]

From Ambros’s rejection of the idea of progress and his critique of the imitators of Wagner,[54] we may not, however, yet draw any conclusions about his judgement of particular works by Wagner. The concert performances of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung that Ambros heard in Vienna helped to dispel his fearful ideas of the Complete Artwork as a “monster formed from the centaur-like coalescence of all arts.”[55] Thus, on the strength of the 1874 performance of the first act of Walküre in the Bösendorfer Saal, Wagner is apostrophized by Ambros as one of the greatest and most ingenious musical dramatists of all time.[56] Laurencin’s reaction to this evening, of such surpassing significance for many Viennese Wagnerians, was rather more lukewarm. The performance, using a four-hand piano reduction, was in his opinion a “labor of Sisyphus” that in no way helped people to get to know Wagner’s music-drama.[57] It is also evident from his appraisal of Julius Zellner’s set of five programmatic pieces Melusine (op. 10) that Laurencin’s pedantry—in this case, his insistence on the complete agreement of music and program—sometimes makes it difficult for him to approach modern musical works. Laurencin finds the fifth piece lacking in true dramatic life and faults it for being in a major key, in contradiction to the programmatic idea (Melusine remains alone and bewails Raimund’s death).[58] Ambros, on the other hand, considers just this fifth piece the most successful and, moreover, most successful in both purely musical and programmatic respects:

Besondere Freude hat mir die letzte Nummer gemacht—sie zeigt, was man aus Richard Wagner lernen und holen könne, das nicht bloß für die ganz eigene künstlerische Individualität dieses musikalischen Mannes des Tages Berechtigung hat. Ohne Tannhäusers Pilgerfahrt wäre diese Bußfahrt Raymunds vielleicht nicht entstanden …. Ich bemerke noch, daß diese fünf kleinen Instrumentalsätze nicht allein durch den äußerlich verknüpfenden Faden des Programms, sondern auch innerlich durch einzelne Themen und durch die (im Gegenstand motivirte) Wiederkehr des ersten Anfangs zum letzten Schlusse, ganz so und aus demselben Grunde wie in Mendelssohns Ouverture, zusammengehalten werden.

[The last number gave me special joy—it shows what can be learnt and drawn from Richard Wagner that does not belong exclusively and properly to the unique artistic individuality of this musical man of the day. Without Tanhäuser’s pilgrimage, this penitential journey of Raymund’s would perhaps not have come into being. I further note that these five little instrumental movements are held together not only by the externally binding threads of the program, but also inwardly by the particular themes and by the return (motivated by the subject matter) of the opening at the conclusion—just as in Mendelssohn’s overture, and for the same reason.][59]

[5] Just as Ambros, despite his enthusiastic reception of Brahms, cannot be classified as an anti-Wagnerian, conversely Laurencin is no dogmatic Wagnerian.[60] He keeps a healthy distance from the Wagner party thanks above all to his strong interest in church music.[61] Similarly to Ambros, Laurencin reports enthusiastically on the performances of the old masters in the church music concerts of the Society of St. Cecilia,[62] but—and here again he is close to Ambros—without striving for a German Cecilianism.[63] Moreover, Laurencin’s occasional positive judgements on contemporary chamber music, such as those on the works of Karl Grammann and occasionally even on Brahms,[64] are rarely “progressive.”

Musical Criticism and the Idea of Czech National Music

Ambros and Laurencin find a common language not only with reference to church music. Their judgements are in agreement on, for example, the C minor symphony of Anton Bruckner.[65] Laurencin hears in the symphony merely “mosaic-like waste-phrases glued together”; the impression the work makes on him is that of a slavish imitation partly of classical and partly of Wagnerian works.[66] Ambros’s dismissive judgement is based on very similar arguments:

Wo wir eine zusammenhängende, gegliederte, Eines durch das Andere motivirende Rede wünschen und erwarten, vernehmen wir unaufhörliche Suspensionen, Interjectionen—musikalische Frage- und Ausrufungszeichen und Gedankenstriche, denen kein Inhalt vorangegangen und keiner nachfolgt. Wo wir eine festgefügte musikalische Tektonik erwarten, werden wir durch willkürlich an einander gereihte Tongebilde bis zur Athemlosigkeit gehetzt.

[Where we wish for and expect a coherent, articulate speech in which one thing follows naturally from another, we experience instead unlistenable suspensions, interjections—musical question marks and exclamation marks and dashes, with no content either preceding or following them. Where we expect fixed musical tectonics, we are hounded by arbitrarily ordered tonal structures to the point of breathlessness.][67]

In this case it would have made no great difference if Ambros’s review of Bruckner had been printed in the Dalibor. Nonetheless, on the whole the editorial staff would have had difficulty remaining true to the newspaper’s credo—“v pravdě národní hudba na pokročilém stanovisku moderního umění” [true national music, from the progressive standpoint of modern art][68]—if Ambros had been its Viennese correspondent. In his musical essays and reviews in the Wiener Zeitung, Ambros pleads neither for the idea of Czech national music nor for the program of the modern musical school. The absence of a nationally oriented criticism is on the one hand unsurprising, considering that in the concerts reviewed by Ambros the music of Czech composers was performed extremely rarely.[69] On the other hand, it nonetheless becomes evident from a comparison with Laurencin that a commitment, while in Vienna, to Czech national music was at that time already entirely possible. While Ambros in 1874 is reporting with great interest on the performances of Rossini, Donizetti, Lortzing, and Boieldieu, among others, at the newly opened Comic Opera (later the Ring Theatre), Laurencin is writing for the Dalibor an extensive study of Bedřich Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, relying simply on the published piano reduction.[70] This is the first essay on the opera, and one of the most detailed treatises on a Czech composition to have been written up to that point.[71] In describing The Bartered Bride as a masterpiece of modern comic opera, he completely fulfills the objectives of the Dalibor. In the new series of Dalibor, Ambros is represented only by an essay on Anton Rubinstein[72]—an analytical observation on the qualitative differences within Rubinstein’s œuvre. The relation of the editorial staff, or rather of the “leader of ideas”[73] Hostinský to his compatriot Ambros, was clearly somewhat ambivalent; the same issue (1874) includes Hostinský’s content-focused interpretation of instrumental music,[74] in which the author takes issue with Ambros’s interpretation of Beethoven in Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie. For Hostinský, who is enthusiastic about Liszt and Wagner without giving up the formalistic standpoint of his aesthetics,[75] Ambros remains a child of romantic aesthetics of content whose thinking is insufficiently progressive and nationalist.


[6] The relationship between theoretical and practical musical aesthetics in the 19th century was a very complex one. A striking illustration of this is the musical literary labor of Hanslick: although the relationship between his treatise Vom Musikalisch-Schönen and his essays in musical criticism has often been seen as contradictory, more recent analyses have shown that, for Hanslick, the two work-areas are in fact connected.[76] In Ambros’s case as well, it becomes clear that the seeming inconsistencies and contradictions between his 1855 polemic against Hanslick and his Viennese musical criticism rather reflect a one-sided reception of his Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie. In order to recognize that the musical criticism actually grows organically out of the book, one must visualize again the musical situation, in many ways precarious, around the middle of the century. Both the “dead time”[77] of the symphonic genre and the discrepancy between Wagner’s theoretical concept and the resounding reality of his romantic operas prevented Ambros in Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie from relating his pluralistic aesthetic conception to contemporary music.[78] It was only through his experiences of the music of Brahms on the one hand and of Wagner’s music dramas (though in an imperfect realization) on the other that the somewhat heavy-handed and indeed ridicule-provoking ambivalence[79] of his book was converted into a plurality, which contrasts strongly with a representation of the musical aesthetics of the time as one of irreconcilable conflict between Wagnerians and anti-Wagnerians. Even in the case of Laurencin, who in his polemical writing argues from a more starkly marked idealistic standpoint, it is evident from his critiques that the musical-aesthetic thought of the second half of the 19th century was by no means as black and white as the contemporary partisan struggle, or rather the opening/closing words in some of the “polemics” that originated in this struggle, might suggest. For his deceased colleague Ambros, he writes in 1877 an extensive obituary in which he praises among other things Ambros’s “universalism” and his “philosophical tolerance.”[80]


  1. Eduard Hanslick, Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. Ein Beitrag zur Revision der Aesthetik der Tonkunst (Leipzig: Rudolph Weigel, 1854), accessed October 30, 2015.
  2. August Wilhelm Ambros, Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie. Eine Studie zur Aesthetik der Tonkunst (Prague: Heinrich Mercy, 1856) [post-dated; actual year of publication: 1855]; 2nd ed. (Leipzig: Heinrich Matthes, 1872), accessed October 30, 2015. English translation: August Wilhelm Ambros, The Boundaries of Music and Poetry. A Study in Musical Aesthetics, trans. J. H. Cornell (New York: Schirmer, 1893), accessed October 30, 2015.
  3. Published in Leipzig: Rudolph Weigel, 1858.
  4. Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin, Dr. Eduard Hanslick’s Lehre Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. Eine Abwehr (Leipzig: Heinrich Matthes, 1859), accessed October 30, 2015. Laurencin’s Dr. Eduard Hanslick’s Lehre was indeed first published after the second edition of Hanslick’s Vom Musikalisch-Schönen, but it came into being already after the appearance of the first edition; cf. ibid., V.
  5. That is to say, the second series of Dalibor, which appeared from 1873–1875.
  6. Ambros was in charge of the section from the beginning of 1872 until his death. During this period, in addition to numerous essays in art history, around 150 extensive essays on music and music criticism, as well as nearly 100 short music reviews, came from Ambros’s pen.
  7. Laurencin’s correspondence reports are contained in the 1873 and 1874 volumes edited by Ludevít Procházka. The editorial staff took care of the Czech translation; Laurencin knew Czech, to be sure, but he wrote his reports in German. On this point, cf. Vlasta Benetková and Hubert Reitterer, “‘Dalibor’ zwischen Wien und Prag. Der Wiener Musikkritiker Laurencin und die Prager Musikpublizistik,” Das internationale musikwissenschaftliche Kolloquium Wenn es nicht Österreich gegeben hätte ...,” 30.9.–2.10.1996 Brno, ed. Petr Macek, Colloquia on the History and Theory of Music at the International Musical Festival in Brno 31 (Brno: Filozofická fakulta Masarykovy univerzity; Praha: Editio Supraphon, 1997), 57.
  8. There is an overview of Ambros’s writings, including his journalistic publications, in the index of Bonnie and Erling Lomnäs and Dietmar Strauß, Auf der Suche nach der poetischen Zeit. Der Prager Davidsbund: Ambros, Bach, Bayer, Hampel, Hanslick, Helfert, Heller, Hock, Ulm. Zu einem vergessenen Abschnitt der Musikgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts, vol. 1, Erläuterungen, Nachlaßregesten, Konzertdokumente (Saarbrücken: Pfau Verlag, 1999), 362–383.
  9. On Laurencin’s music criticism, cf. Regine Friedrich, “Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Wiener Musikkritik” (PhD diss., University of Graz, 1966). Laurencin’s reports in the Dalibor were not, however, taken into account in Friedrich’s monograph—they were first mentioned by Vlasta Benetková and Hubert Reitterer in “‘Dalibor’ zwischen Wien und Prag”.
  10. Laurencin’s first music teacher was Wilhelm Wildfeyer, in Brno he was a pupil of Gottfried Riegel and Josef Anton Novotný, and in Prague he was taught by the composers Václav Jan Tomášek (Tomaschek) and Karl Franz Pitsch.
  11. August Wilhelm Ambros, Geschichte der Musik, vol. 1 (Breslau: F. E. C. Leuckart, 1862); vol. 2 (Breslau: F. E. C. Leuckart, 1862); vol. 3, Im Zeitalter der Renaissance bis zu Palestrina (Breslau: F. E. C. Leuckart, 1868); vol. 4, Im Zeitalter der Renaissance von Palestrina an, fragment, ed. Gustav Nottebohm (Leipzig: F. E. C. Leuckart, 1878); vol. 5, Beispielsammlung zum dritten Bande nach des Verfassers unvollendet hinterlassenem Notenmaterial, ed. Otto Kade (Leipzig: F. E C. Leuckart, 1882); vol. 6, Namens- und Sachregister, ed. Wilhelm Bäumker (Leipzig: F. E C. Leuckart, 1882). All accessed October 30, 2015.
  12. Robert Hirschfeld has already highlighted the music-history aspect of Ambros’s criticism in the Wiener Zeitung:
    Ambros, der Musikhistoriker, brachte das geschichtliche Moment der Entwicklung in die ästhetische Beurteilung; er konnte Wagner nicht denken ohne Gluck, die Florentiner Akademie in die Vorstellung aufzunehmen; er brachte kein fertiges System mit, sondern die tiefe Kenntnis der Geschichte.

    [Ambros the musical historian brought the historical moment of the development into aesthetic judgement; he could not think of Wagner without also thinking of Gluck or the Florentine Academy; he brought along no finished system, but rather a deep knowledge of history.]
    Robert Hirschfeld, Zur Geschichte der kaiserlichen Wiener Zeitung 8. August. 1703–1903 (Vienna: Selbstverlag und Druck der kaiserlichen Wiener Zeitung, 1903), 235, accessed October 30, 2015. 
  13. The earlier critiques followed from Ambros’s activity in the League of David—one of the artistic and intellectual circles founded on the model of Robert Schumann’s half-fictitious League of David. Cf. Lomnäs and Strauß, Auf der Suche nach der poetischen Zeit, 35–37.
  14. Cf. Carl Dahlhaus, “Analyse und Werturteil,” Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 2, ed. Hermann Danuser in association with Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen and Tobias Plebuch (Laaber: Laaber 2001), 23.
  15. Cf. Friedrich, “Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin,” 35.
  16. Cf. Benetková and Reitterer, “‘Dalibor’ zwischen Wien und Prag,” 55.
  17. A similar observation applies to Laurencin’s music criticism in general. Cf. Friedrich, “Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin,” 104.
  18. Otakar Hostinský, Das Musikalisch-Schöne und das Gesammtkunstwerk vom Standpuncte der formalen Aesthetik (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel 1877), accessed October 30, 2015.
  19. Ibid., 15.
  20. Ibid., 14–28.
  21. Ibid., 29.
  22. Ambros, Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie, IX.
  23. Laurencin bases his attack on Lobe’s review “Gegen Dr. Eduard Hanslick’s ‘Vom Musikalisch-Schönen,’” Fliegende Blätter für Musik. Wahrheit über Tonkunst und Tonkünstler 2 (1857): 65–106, accessed October 30, 2015.
  24. Laurencin, Dr. Eduard Hanslick’s Lehre, 164.
  25. Ibid., 56 and 188. His judgement on Hanslick’s treatise is summarized in the following passage:
    Die hübsche, fließende Schreibart, der einzige Vorzug, welchen man gerechterweise dieser revidirten Aesthetik einräumen darf, ist doch fürwahr ein karger Ersatz für den überall auffälligen Mangel an Logik, an positiven, namentlich weiter zurückgreifenden, Tonliteraturkenntnissen und für den wahrhaft kindischen Eigensinn, mit welchem hier alle Spur von Gemüthsleben aus der musikalischen Sphäre fortgedrängt oder … bis zum Verbrechen der schweren Verwundung gemißhandelt wird.

    [The charming, fluent prose style, the only merit which one may justly concede to this revised aesthetics, is yet poor compensation for the overall manifest failings in logic and lack of familiarity with the relevant literature, and for the truly childish stubbornness with which all trace of feeling is driven out of the musical sphere or is mishandled with nigh-criminal heavy-handedness.]
    Ibid., 137.
  26. Ambros, Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie, III–IV; trans. J. H. Cornell (New York: Schirmer, 1893), VII.
  27. As a counter-argument to Hanslick’s formal aesthetics, Ambros deploys the three-stage model of musical development from Adolf Bernhard Marx’s treatise Die Musik des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts und ihre Pflege. Methode der Musik (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel 1855, accessed October 30, 2015), that is, an argument for a historical shift from form-centered to content-centered art. The history of music is accordingly divided into the periods “musical-crystal formalism” (from the Middle Ages to the Baroque), “music of mood” or “art of the soul” (from Haydn to Beethoven’s early work), and “music of the spirit” (beginning in Beethoven’s middle period). Ibid., 60–96; Ambros, Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie, 8–9 and 64–65.
  28. Cf. Mark Burford, “Hanslick’s Idealist Materialism,” 19th-Century Music 30, no. 2 (Fall 2006): 166–181, accessed October 30, 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/ncm.2006.30.2.166. On this point, cf. also Mark Evan Bonds, Absolute Music. The History of an Idea (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014): 183–185, accessed October 30, 2015, http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199343638.001.0001.
  29. While Ambros conceives the formal and ideal moments dualistically in the first half of his writing (the idea is placed in a metaphysical space above the form), in the second half he assumes the principle of immanence, thus of the identity of form and content. With reference to Beethoven’s Pastoral, he opines:
    Bei der Beethoven’schen Synphonie [sic] entwickelt sich dasjenige, was allenfalls als Programm formulirt neben der Synphonie stehen könnte, vollständig in ihr, wird aus ihr selbst erkennbar und verständlich, und somit fallen der musikalische und der dichterische Gedanke zusammen. Die Sphären beider decken sich vollständig.

    [In the case of the Beethoven symphony is developed that which, formulated as a program, might be set beside the symphony, and yet wholly within it, becoming recognizable and intelligible through the symphony itself; hence, the musical and poetical thoughts coincide. The spheres of both are in perfect congruity.]
    Ambros, Die Gränzen der Musik und Poesie, 177–178. The author treats Ambros’s aesthetic writing in the monograph August Wilhelm Ambros im musikästhetischen Diskurs um 1850, Münchner Veröffentlichungen zur Musikgeschichte 75 (Munich: Allitera, forthcoming).
  30. Cf., e.g., Marta Ottlová and Milan Pospíšil, Bedřich Smetana a jeho doba [Bedřich Smetana and his time] (Prague: Nakladatelství Lidové noviny, 1997); Petr Čornej and Roman Prahl, eds., Čechy a Evropa v kultuře 19. století [Bohemia and Europe in the Culture of the 19th Century] (Prague: Národní galerie, 1993).
  31. Dem jungen Feuerkopf Hanslik [sic], welcher damals, um einen von Berlioz mündlich gebrauchten Ausdruck auf ihn anzuwenden, toujours comme du poudre à canon war, sprühte aber Poesie, und zwar modernste, aus allen Fingerspitzen. Eine tüchtige philosophische und überhaupt wissenschaftliche Bildung greift zügelnd und mäßigend ein. So fand ich ihn. Aus der ersten Bekanntschaft wurde bald ein Freundschaftsband, das bis heute festhält.

    [The young hothead Hanslik, who was once, to apply to him an expression of Berlioz’s, toujours comme du poudre à canon, nonetheless sprouted poetry, and indeed the most modern poetry, from every fingertip. A rigorous philosophical and in general scientific formation constrains and tempers him. So did I find him. From an initial acquaintance, a bond of friendship soon developed, which remains strong to this day.]
    August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton “Eduard Hanslik,” Wiener Abendpost, April 7, 1875, accessed October 30, 2015. On Laurencin versus Hanslick, see Laurencin, Dr. Eduard Hanslick’s Lehre, XI.
  32. Cf., e.g., the review in Dalibor, no. 9 (February 28, 1873): 70–71; no. 47 (November 21, 1873): 384–385, accessed October 30, 2015.
  33. August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton “Schriften über Musik I,” Wiener Abendpost, June 24, 1874, accessed October 30, 2015.
  34. The fourth edition was published in Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1874, accessed October 30, 2015.
  35. Cf., e.g.,
    “Eignet—sagt er in der vierten Auflage—der Tonkunst wirklich eine specifische Kraft des Eindruckes, so muß man um so vorsichtiger von diesem Zauber abstrahiren, um an das Wesen seiner Ursache zu gelangen. Unterdessen vermengt man unablässig Gefühlsaffection und musikalische Schönheit, anstatt sie in wissenschaftlicher Methode getrennt darzustellen.” Goldene Worte!

    [“If—he says in the fourth edition—music truly has its own specific power to make an impression, then one must all the more carefully abstract from this magic, in order to arrive at the essence of the cause of this impression. Meanwhile one unceasingly mixes up feeling-based attachment and musical beauty, instead of describing them separately, in accordance with scientific method.” Golden words!]
    Ambros, “Schriften über Musik I”; Cf. Hanslick, Vom Musikalisch-Schönen, 7; Ibid., 4th ed. (Leipzig: Johann Abrosius Barth, 1874), 9, accessed October 30, 2015.
  36. In this regard, see, e.g., Rudolf Schäfke, Eduard Hanslick und die Musikästhetik (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1922), 27–29; Eduard Hanslick, Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. Ein Beitrag zur Ästhetik der Tonkunst, ed. Dietmar Strauß, vol. 1, Historisch-kritische Ausgabe (Mainz: Schott, 1990), 92–94; Mark Evan Bonds, “Aesthetic Amputations: Absolute Music and the Deleted Endings of Hanslick’s Vom Musikalisch Schönen,” 19th-Century Music 36, no. 1 (Summer 2012): 3–23, accessed October 30, 2015, http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1525/ncm.2012.36.1.003.
  37. Der Punkt, welcher dem Buche seinen hohen Werth giebt und eine wahre Geistesthat heißen darf, ist, daß Hanslik [sic] mit Schärfe und Klarheit nachweist, daß, um seine eigenen Worte zu brauchen: “nichts die wissenschaftliche Entwicklung der musikalischen Aesthetik so empfindlich gehemmt hat, als der übermäßige Werth, welchen man den Wirkungen der Musik auf die Gefühle beilegte,” daß er zeigt, man müsse zur Erkenntniß des Wesens der Musik, wie sie nicht der stets empfindungsvolle, stets warm fühlende, aber selten kalt denkende Musiker und nicht der Genuß suchende Kunstliebhaber, wohl aber der Philosoph braucht, einen anderen Weg nehmen, als durch die beliebte Gefühls-Antichambre, und daß er den richtigen Weg mit fester Hand zeichnet.

    [What gives the book its high value, and which one may call a deed of the spirit, is that Hanslik proves with acuity and clarity that, in his own words, “nothing has held back the development of musical aesthetics as noticeably as the excessive importance which some people have ascribed to the effects of music upon feeling,” and that he shows that, for the knowledge of music, the need for which is felt neither by the musician—always full of emotions and warm feeling, but rarely thinking coldly—nor by the pleasure-seeking art-lover, but by the philosopher, one must take a path other than that through the beloved antechamber of feeling, and that he shows the right path with a firm hand.]
    Ambros, “Schriften über Musik I”.
  38. Ibid.
  39. August Wilhelm Ambros, “Das ‘Triumphlied’ von Johannes Brahms,” Wiener Zeitung, December 11, 1872, accessed October 30, 2015.
  40. Review in Dalibor, no. 1 (3 January 1873): 3–4, accessed October 30, 2015.
  41. On the occasion of the performance of Brahms’s Paganini Variations, Laurencin expresses the view that Brahms belongs to those creators who attach more value to musical decoration and shining phrasing than to a great musical thought and its musical development. Review in Dalibor, no. 9 (February 28, 1873): 70–71, accessed October 30, 2015; Cf. also the Review in Dalibor, no. 47 (November 21, 1873): 384–385, accessed October 30; no. 16 (April 18, 1874): 124, accessed October 30, 2015. On Laurencin’s antipathy to Brahms, cf. also Friedrich, “Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin,” 95 and 99; Norbert Meurs deals with Laurencin’s criticisms of Brahms in Neue Zeitschrift für Musik in Norbert Meurs, Neue Bahnen? Aspekte der Brahms-Rezeption 1853–1868, Musik und Musikanschauung im 19. Jahrhundert 3 (Cologne: Studiopunkt Verlag, 1996), 190–195.
  42. Cf., e. g., the Review in Dalibor, no. 5 (January 30, 1874): 37, accessed October 30, 2015.
  43. August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton “Musikalisches,” Wiener Zeitung, November 12, 1872, accessed October 30, 2015.
  44. Ambros’s judgement is based on the performance of the Haydn Variations, op. 56a:
    Es steckt eine Welt von Musik in dieser seiner neuesten Arbeit, welche an Werth und Gehalt so viel gilt wie irgendeine große und größte Symphonie.

    [There is a world of music in this, his most recent work, which has as much value and substance as any great or greatest symphony.]
    August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton “Musik,” Wiener Abendpost, November 4, 1873, accessed October 30, 2015.
  45. The premiere of the First Symphony took place on 4 November 1876, five months after Ambros’s death.
  46. August Wilhelm Ambros, “Feuilleton. Musikalische Revue,” Wiener Zeitung, December 5, 1872, accessed October 30, 2015.
  47. Review in Dalibor, no. 4 (January 24, 1873): 27–28, accessed October 30, 2015. On Laurencin’s judgement concerning Lachner, ibid.
  48. Review in Dalibor, no. 23 (June 6, 1873): 187–188, accessed October 30, 2015.
  49. August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton “Musikalische Revue,” Wiener Abendpost, March 28, 1873, accessed October 30, 2015.
  50. Cf. Friedrich, “Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin,” 78.
  51. Review in Dalibor, no. 23 (June 6, 1873). Cf. n. 48.
  52. Cf. n. 27.
  53. August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton. “Zur kommenden Musiksaison,” Wiener Zeitung, October 3, 1872, accessed October 30, 2015. In this regard, cf. also Ambros’s statement in a review of Cherubini’s Les deux journées:
    Es hat uns einen durchaus angenehmen, fast könnte man sagen den erquicklichen Eindruck einer wahren Erholung gemacht, nach den allermodernsten Riesenopern, welche mit Riesenmitteln auf Riesenwirkungen ausgehen, wieder einmal ein musikalisch-dramatisches Werk zu hören, dessen Standpunkt (wie die Gelehrten der Brendelina [i.e. Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, ed. Franz Brendel] vom ‘Fidelio’ sagten) ein “kindlicher” ist, das sich nahezu in den Formen eines Singspieles bewegt und gegen dessen geist- und kraftvolle Musik manches sogenannte Epochenwerk wenigstens in musikalischer Beziehung bedenklich genug abfallen dürfte.

    [It has made a thoroughly agreeable, one could almost say the enlivening, impression on us of a true recovery, to hear once again after the ultra-modern giant operas, which strive for gigantic effects with gigantic resources, a musical-dramatic work whose standpoint (as the scholars of Brendelina [i.e. Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, ed. Franz Brendel] about Fidelio say) is a “childlike” one, which moves almost in the forms of a Singspiel and compared to whose spirited and powerful music the quality of some so-called epoch-making works may prove dubious enough, at least in a musical respect.]
    Review in Wiener Zeitung, May 28, 1872, accessed October 30, 2015.
  54. Die Wagner-Apostel haben bisher mehr durch ihren Glauben als durch gute Werke die ewige Seligkeit zu erringen gesucht—Wunder haben sie noch weniger gewirkt, weder Kranke geheilt, noch Todte erweckt; eher ein und den anderen Lebenden todt zu machen gesucht … . Aber soll ihn [Joseph Sucher] sein Talent nicht in den Abgrund führen, so muß er erlangen, was ihm völlig fehlt: künstlerisches Maß. … Möge uns Sucher in seinen nächsten Leistungen Anlaß bieten, sein Talent, das wir jetzt schon mit vollem Antheil begrüßen, geklärter, gereinigter, reifer wiederzufinden—er suche ferner den Weg ins Operntheater, er studire aber, wie gesagt, recht fleißig Gluck und (kaum wage ich es angesichts der Wagneriten zu sagen)—Mozart.

    [The apostles of Wagner have hitherto sought to attain eternal felicity more through their faith than through good works—still less have they worked miracles; they have neither healed the sick nor woken the dead, but rather sought to make the living die. But if his talent is not to lead him [Joseph Sucher] into the abyss, then he must attain what he completely lacks, artistic measure. If Sucher were to give us cause, in his future offerings, to find that his talent, which we already greet with great interest, has become clarified, purified and more mature, he should continue to seek the path into the opera theater, but he should, as mentioned, diligently study Gluck and (I hardly dare say it to the Wagnerites’ faces) Mozart.]
    August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton “Musikalische Revue,” Wiener Abendpost, January 21, 1873, accessed October 30, 2015.
  55. Review in Prager Zeitung, September 4, 1855.
  56. Wenn der Eindruck schon in dieser reducirten Gestalt ein so höchst bedeutender war, wie würde die Sache erst auf der Opernbühne wirken? Und steht der folgende Act und der dritte gegen diesen ersten nicht zurück, so sehe ich nicht ein, warum die Bühnen warten sollen und müssen, bis in Bayreuth der letzte Nagel eingeschlagen, die letzte Coulisse fertig gepinselt worden… Wenn Wagner nichts geleistet hätte, als daß er es vermag, uns fast anderthalb Stunden lang (so lange dauert wohl der erste Act der “Walküre”) mit dem Wechselgesange von nur drei Personen und bei einer sich langsam und breitest entwickelnden, dem bloßen Stoff nach genommen spärlichen Handlung in Athem und Antheil zu erhalten, ja uns völlig zu fesseln und nach seinen künstlerischen Zwecken zu stimmen, so müßte man ihn als einen der größten, genialsten musikalischen Dramatiker aller Zeiten bezeichnen.

    [If even in this reduced form the impression was so significant, what would its effect be on the stage? And if the second and third acts are no less impressive, I do not see why the stages should and must wait until in Bayreuth the last nail is hammered in and the last coulisse painted. If Wagner had achieved nothing more than to be able to hold us breathless with excitement for nearly one and a half hours (the first act of “Walküre” lasts this long) with the antiphony of only three characters and with slow-developing and sparse action, indeed to keep us in thrall and entirely attuned to his artistic purposes, one would have to describe him as one of the greatest and most ingenious musical dramatists of all times.]
    August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton “Musik,” Wiener Abendpost, February 12, 1874, accessed October 30, 2015. On Ambros’s Viennese reception of Wagner, cf. also Norbert Tschulik, “August Wilhelm Ambros und das Wagner-Problem. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Musikkritik und der Wagner-Rezeption,” Studien für Musikwissenschaft. Beihefte der Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich 29 (1978): 155–169.
  57. Review in Dalibor, no. 10 (March 7, 1874): 74, accessed October 30, 2015.
  58. Review in Dalibor, no. 8 (February 7, 1873): 45–46, accessed October 30, 2015.
  59. August Wilhelm Ambros, “Feuilleton. Musikalische Revue,” Wiener Abendpost, January 14, 1873, accessed October 30, 2015.
  60. On this point, cf. Friedrich, “Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin,” 79.
  61. Laurencin had already produced ground-breaking work on the history and aesthetics of church music in the 1840s and 1850s: Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin, “Einige Bemerkungen über das wahre Verständnis des Meßtextes im Gegensatz zu dem in dessen Auffassung üblich gewordenen Mechanismus, und über das eigentliche Verhältnis der altitalienischen Kirchenmusik zu der modernen,” Allgemeine Wiener Musik-Zeitung, no. 80 (July 4, 1844): 317; no. 81 (July 6, 1844): 321–322; no. 82 (July 9, 1844): 325–327; no. 83 (July 11, 1844): 329–330; no. 85 (July 16, 1844): 337–338, accessed October 30, 2015; Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin, Zur Geschichte der Kirchenmusik bei den Italienern und Deutschen (Leipzig: Heinrich Matthes, 1856), accessed October 30, 2015.
  62. Cf., e.g., the Reviews in Dalibor, no. 3 (January 17, 1873): 21, accessed October 30, 2015; no. 1 (January 3, 1874): 4–5, accessed October 30, 2015; no. 24 (June 13, 1874): 186–187, accessed October 30, 2015.
  63. On Laurencin’s aesthetics of church music, cf. Harmut Krones, “‘… der diese so schöne Tempelhalle alter Kirchenmusik in Schutt zertrümmert’ (Laurencin-‘Philokales,’ 1856). Kirchenmusik-Ästhetik aus Prag für Wien,” Musikgeschichte zwischen Ost- und Westeuropa. Kirchenmusik—geistliche Musik—religiöse Musik, Bericht der Konferenz Chemnitz, 28.–30. Oktober 1999 anlässlich des 70. Geburtstages von Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller, ed. Helmut Loos and Klaus-Peter Koch (Sinzig: Studio, 2002), 263–280. According to Krones, in the debates about church music reform Laurencin represents that “Austrian solution of the well-measured use of instruments that avoids falling into the stylistic elements of opera.” Ibid., 276. Ambros also sees church music reform from a similar standpoint. In his posthumously published essay “Zur Reform oder Regenerirung der Kirchenmusik,” he emphasizes:
    Der Capellastyl und der moderne Styl haben beide Berechtigung. Ausscheidung des Unwürdigen. Dahin gehört alles Opernhafte, alles musikalisch Werthlose, Flache, Leere, Gepfuschte.

    [The Cappella style and the modern style both have a justification. The removal of the unworthy. There belongs everything operatic, everything musically worthless, flat, empty, botched.]
    Wiener Blätter für katholische Kirchenmusik. Organ des Wiener Cäcilien-Vereines, no. 1 (October 10, 1878): 1–3; no. 2 (November 10, 1878): 1–3; no. 3 (December 10, 1878): 1–3; no. 4 (January 10, 1879): 1–3.
  64. Cf. Review in Dalibor, no. 12 (March 21, 1874): 93; no. 16 (April 18, 1874): 124, accessed October 30, 2015.
  65. The reviews refer to the concert on 26 October 1873, at which Bruckner’s second symphony in C minor was performed, in the 1872 version (with the changes of 1873).
  66. Review in Dalibor, no. 47 (November 21, 1873): 384–385, accessed October 30, 2015. Friedrich has already addressed Laurencin’s reception of Bruckner; nonetheless, since she considers only Laurencin’s German-language critiques, she assumes that Laurencin was acquainted only with Bruckner’s string quintet. Cf. Friedrich, “Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin,” 93.
  67. August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton “Musik,” Wiener Abendpost, October 28, 1873, accessed October 30, 2015.
  68. Dalibor, no. 1 (January 3, 1873): 1, accessed October 30, 2015.
  69. An exception is the chamber music of the composer Václav Jindřich Veit (1806–1864), whom Ambros esteemed highly. On this point, cf. August Wilhelm Ambros, Feuilleton “Wiener musikalische Revue,” Wiener Zeitung, February 25, 1872, accessed October 30, 2015.
  70. “Smetanova ‘Prodaná nevěsta,’” Dalibor, no. 12 (March 21, 1874): 89–90no. 14 (April 4, 1874): 105–106; no. 21 (May 23, 1874): 162–165; no. 24 (June 13, 1874): 185–186; no. 27 (July 4, 1874): 209–211; no. 29 (July 18, 1874): 225–226; no. 34 (August 22, 1874): 267; no. 38 (September 19, 1874): 300–301; no. 42 (October 17, 1874): 330–331, all accessed October 30, 2015. The Bartered Bride was performed in 1892 at the Viennese Music and Theatre Exhibition, in 1893 at the Theater an der Wien, and in 1896 at the Vienna Court Opera. On the Viennese reception of Smetana, cf. Vlasta Reittererová and Hubert Reitterer, Vier Dutzend rothe Strümpfe… Zur Rezeptionsgeschichte der Verkauften Braut von Bedřich Smetana in Wien am Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2004); David Brodbeck, Defining Deutschtum: Political Ideology, German Identity, and Music-Critical Discourse in Liberal Vienna (New York : Oxford University Press, 2014), 249–250, accessed October 30, 2015, http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199362707.001.0001
  71. On this point, cf. Benetková and Reitterer, “‘Dalibor’ zwischen Wien und Prag,” 58–59.
  72. “Rubinstein co skladatel oper, oratorií a symfonií” [Rubinstein as composer of operas, oratorios, and symphonies], Dalibor, no. 2 (January 9, 1874): 11–12; no. 3 (January 16, 1874): 20–21; no. 4 (January 23, 1874): 27–28; no. 5 (January 30, 1874): 36–37, all accessed October 30, 2015.
  73. Cf. “Dalibor,” Československý hudební slovník osob a institucí [Czechoslovakian Music Encyclopedia of Persons and Institutions], vol. 1, ed. Gracian Černušák, Zdenko Nováček, and Bohumír Štědroň (Prague: SHV, 1963), 224.
  74. In the original: “Jak se ‘vykládají’ skladby instrumentální,” [How to “interpret” the instrumental music?] Dalibor, no. 41 (10 October 1874): 321–323; no. 42 (October 17, 1874): 329–330, accessed October 30, 2015.
  75. On this point, cf. his writing Das Musikalisch-Schöne und das Gesamtkunstwerk; “O hudbě ‘programní’” [On Program Music] Dalibor, no. 35 (August 29, 1873): 281–283; no. 36 (September 5, 1873): 289–291; no. 37 (September 12, 1873): 297–300; no. 38 (September 19, 1873): 305–309; no. 41 (October 10, 1873): 333–336; no. 42 (October 17, 1873): 341–343; no. 43 (October 24, 1873): 349–351; no. 44 (October 31, 1873): 357–359; no. 47 (November 21, 1873): 381–384, all accessed October 30, 2015.
  76. On this point, cf., for instance, Fred Everett Maus, who reflects on the role of the composer in Vom Musikalisch-Schönen and in this connection draws parallels with the essays in music criticism. Fred Everett Maus, “Hanslick’s Composers,” Rethinking Hanslick. Music, Formalism, and Expression, Eastman Studies in Music 97, ed. Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Max (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2013), 38–51.
  77. Cf. Carl Dahlhaus, “Die Musik des 19. Jahrhunderts,” Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 5, ed. Hermann Danuser in association with Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen and Tobias Plebuch (Laaber: Laaber, 2003), 85 and 259–260.
  78. Ambros formulates the key theses of his writing against the background of Beethoven’s instrumental music.
  79. The mocking remarks came both from the formalistic and from the “future-oriented” camps in musical aesthetics. Cf., e.g.:
    Was dem Werkchen zum großen Vorzug gereicht, und es vor vielen Anderen auszeichnet, ist, daß der Verfasser selbst Musiker, und zwar ein gründlich gebildeter, geistvoller Musiker ist. … Aber dieser Vorzug gereicht ihm überall da zum Nachtheil, wo es gilt die “Grenzen” aufzusuchen—das Thema, das er sich zwar selbst gegeben hat (offenbar einem inneren Drange folgend), das ihm aber schließlich über den Kopf wächst, so daß er nur zu de[n] eigentlich rein negativen Resultaten kommt (S. 185): “Wie weit die Ausdrucksfähigkeit der Musik geht, wird wohl nie durch eine Grenzcommission zu reguliren sein”—ein Satz, der einen fast komischen Eindruck macht, weil das Hauptgewicht seiner Entwickelung auf dem weiteren unbestreitbaren Satze beruht (S. 181): “In ihrem idealen Moment hält sich die Musik innerhalb ihrer natürlichen Grenzen, so lange sie es nicht unternimmt, weiter zu gehen, als ihre Ausdrucksfähigkeit.” Verbindet man beide Sätze, so hat man ein Resultat, das im Grunde genommen Nichts sagt, als was man schon weiß, bevor man das Werk zur Hand nimmt!

    [The great merit of this little work, and what sets it apart from many others, is that the author is himself a musician, and indeed a thoroughly educated and brilliant musician. But this advantage turns out to be a disadvantage, when it comes to the essential task of the “Boundaries”—the theme, which indeed he has given himself (obviously following some inner drive), which ultimately, however, grows over his head, so that he actually arrives at purely negative results (p. 85); “How far, however, the expressional capacity of music goes, will perhaps never be regulated by any kind of Commission on Boundaries”—a sentence that makes an almost comical impression, because the bulk of the weight of his development rests on the following incontestable proposition (p. 181): “But in its ideal feature music keeps within its natural boundaries, so long as it does not undertake to go beyond its expressional capacity.” If one combines both propositions, one has a result that at bottom says nothing that one did not already know before picking up the work!]
    Richard Pohl, Review of “Die Grenzen der Musik und Poesie,” Anregungen für Kunst, Leben und Wissenschaft 2 (1857): 106, accessed October 30, 2015. Ambros’s key thesis was likewise attacked by the formalist Robert Zimmermann, “Ein musikalischer Laokoon,” [A Musical Laocoön] Studien und Kritiken zur Philosophie und Aesthetik, vol. 2 (Vienna: Wilhelm Braumüller, 1870), 263, accessed October 30, 2015.
  80. Ferdinand Peter Graf Laurencin, “Dr. A. W. Ambros. Ein Memento zu seinem 61. Geburtstage. Gedenkfeier für A. W. Ambros veranstaltet vom Wiener Cäcilien-Verein 7. Dezember 1877” [Dr. A. W. Ambros. A Recollection on his 61st Birthday. Commemoration for A. W. Ambros organized by the Viennese Society of St. Cecilia on 7 December 1877] (Vienna: Verlag des Cäcilien-Vereines, 1877).


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