Music, like all performing arts, is mediated by the temporary dimension between the creation and the performance. In the Western musical tradition, music notation has served not only as a mnemonic tool but also as a long-lasting cultural artefact countering the ephemerality of sonic events. Throughout history, there have been very different methods of graphically encoding sound, and yet we do not know how music sounded before the invention of mechanical recording and reproduction technologies at the end of the 19th century. Musicology, a young academic discipline coetaneous to those technological advances following the philological methodology, tended to consider musical texts as its main object of study.
As Nicholas Cook has pointed out, since musicology in its early stage pursued the pioneering task of retrieving ancient music, it narrowly linked the concept of musical work mainly with its textual dimension. That is, the score was conceived more as a literary text than as a dramaturgical guideline with manifold interpretive options, both during the creation process and for successive performances—or recreations. As a consequence of this disciplinary focus, histories of Western music have been traditionally more interested in compositional milestones than in conservation and interpretation practices throughout history. Nevertheless, there is enormous research regarding historically informed performance practices, but this scholarly interest has been focused especially on sacred and canonical repertories.
The retrieval and rediscovery process of music that has suffered a performative rupture is known as revival. Musical revival practices have been intermittent throughout history, but Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s (1809–47) recovery of the
Matthäus-Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) in 1823 is considered the beginning of contemporary conscious and systematic practices of early music revival. Throughout the 19th century, religious institutions and choral societies led initiatives to recover historical music, especially Gregorian chant and music repertories composed before the 18th century. Besides those initiatives, music scholars inaugurated a new type of concert: the historical one, which became a kind of corporative event in which they began to show themselves publicly as specialists. At the same time, some renowned performers or virtuosi included old, out-of-use instruments and historical repertoires in their tours in order to revamp their own concert programs and show their stylistic versatility. Most of those practices were addressed to a minority audience claiming its distinction from the taste and values of the mass musical market of the time. In both cases (the historical concerts organized by scholars and the concerts of renowned performers with early music repertoires), didactic and outreach activities were parallel activities complementary to concert programming. Other musical revival practices were participatory, that is, without a clear distinction between performers and audience. With the exception of the tours of virtuosi, most of the early music revivals at the turn of the 20th century flourished in the amateur or semi-professional spheres and far from the professional musical market.
On the contrary, after World War II the early music revival movement became highly professionalized. Due to a fully institutionalized musicology, the academic study of musical sources offered a theoretical basis for sustaining a paradigm of authenticity in performance practices. Many of the informed performance practices of that time aimed to clarify the original textual state of a work and to investigate the original contexts and interpretive traditions in order to eradicate successive historical re-interpretations. Through the texts, the performance had to emulate the sound of the “primitive creation” and first receptions, and in the case of a known author, it had to follow the author’s alleged intentions. These musical initiatives based on textual authenticity offered no room for the creativity of the interpreters. Richard Taruskin, among others, revised the premises of the paradigm of authenticity during the last decades of the 20th century. He argued that the concern for authenticity was a reflection of the anxieties of the time, that it was irremediably linked to the textual dimension of music, and that it represented only one of the legitimate ways to approach early music repertories.
As a consequence of that turn in the interpretation of early music, it was accepted that the acoustic recovery from the past is an unattainable dream. However, the research and interpretation of this type of historically informed practice and the commercial demand for it have not been discouraged since then but have rather increased enormously. All these activities are currently circumscribed in highly specialized professional fields in which amateur participation is disregarded.
The pioneering ventures of early music performing and editing practices at the end of the 19th century have been traditionally evaluated from the premises, categories, values, and paradigms of the post-war early music revival. Therefore, they have been considered misinformed, imperfect, and incomplete. The goal of this article is to re-evaluate those pioneering early musical revival initiatives in the framework of international exhibitions and to contextualize them in the values of their time. Some scholars have already highlighted the crucial role of international events, such as world fairs and international and national exhibitions, in the revival of early music repertories and practices during the second half of the 19th century, especially in France.
However, the Historische Concerte performed during the Internationale Ausstellung für Musik- und Theaterwesen (International Exhibition of Music and Theater) of 1892 have received little scholarly attention. In his monograph devoted to this exhibition, Theophil Antonicek described the repertories of the concerts in an exhaustive study of the contemporary press but avoided further analysis or interpretation. Barbara Boisits, for her part, briefly mentioned the role of this set of concerts in the history of the series of monumental editions Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich (Monuments of Musical Art in Austria) or DTÖ. She also examined the two first performances of the Historische Concerte as part of her research on the impact of Gregorian chant studies for early musicological scholarship, taking Adler’s academic interest in those repertories as a case study.
 The pioneering role of Adler in the development of musicology as an academic discipline has been studied widely.
However, the impact of Vienna 1892 on his own conceptualization of music history is still an issue to be studied. The deep influence of Adler’s musicological paradigm in the United States has been a topic of recent publications, but the transnational impact of art management and programming trends related to this paradigm is still a topic neglected in research. As we have seen before, the performative dimension of music in history has been largely disregarded due to the philological paradigm that musicology adopted upon its own foundation as an academic discipline. This is the reason why, despite the fact that numerous musicologists were involved in sonic reconstruction initiatives, there is no documental evidence of their participation. Even in their biographies, those activities were minimized because they were considered not very relevant from an academic point of view.
Notwithstanding the lack of interest in and scholarly care for the twelve historical concerts performed during the International Exhibition of Music and Theater in Vienna of 1892, I will show that they constituted a crossroads of different international patterns of understanding and performing early music. This article aims to evaluate the impact of this set of concerts in the standardization not only of monumental musical editions but also of historically informed practices of early music.
Historical Concerts and New Agents: Music Historians as Concert Promoters and Mobilizers
During the six months of the International Exhibition of Music and Theater in Vienna (from May 7 to October 9, 1892), a lot of concerts were performed inside and outside the music hall of the exhibition.
Twelve of those concerts were part of the series of the Historische Concerte. Adler and Albert Ritter von Hermann (1864 –95) were the leaders of the commission that convened and organized these concerts. Von Hermann worked at that time at the Ministerium für Kultus und Unterricht (Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Education) of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and had served since 1886 as director of the musical section of the journal Das Vaterland. Adler, besides his role as co-organizer of the historical concerts, was in charge of the overall scientific and historical aspects of the musical section of the exhibition. Furthermore, he reported on most of the musical events of the exhibition in the journal Neue Freie Presse. Both von Hermann and Adler also actively supported the DTÖ.
After the end of the exhibition, the commission edited a collection of all of the concert programs, the program notes, and a list of the composers whose works were performed during these concerts with consecutively numbered pages. Von Hermann, who was the main responsible person, wrote the introduction to this cumulative publication.
The edition of all those materials is a sign of the commemorative purpose of this publication, which served as a witness of the practices executed. In addition to this compilation, there are a lot of references to those concerts in the local and national press, as well as in various international reports by travelers who assisted at the event. A German newspaper even pointed out that the Historische Concerte were the most interesting events of the Viennese Exhibition: “Among the most interesting musical performances during the exhibition were the Historical Concerts, and among these, the three concerts given by the a cappella choir of Amsterdam, conducted by Mr. D. de Lange, were of highest significance.”
This set of historical concerts was not something new in Vienna. At that time, there was a well-documented tradition of early music concerts in the city. Between 1859 and 1869 Leopold Alexander Zellner (1823–94) organized public “Historische Konzerte” with repertoires from the Middle Ages to classicism.
Following Zellner’s idea, Robert Hirschfeld (1857–1914) promoted Renaissance-Abende (Renaissance Evenings) starting in 1884. In addition, in 1883, Josef Böhm (1841–93) founded the Chorakademie des Ambrosius-Vereines, a choir specialized in early sacred music under the influence of the Cecilian Movement. Böhm had acted as musical mentor for von Hermann since 1882, and he animated him to write an essay about the reform of sacred music. Both Böhm and Hirschfeld were also active participants of the Historische Concerte of 1892. In addition, Böhm became a member of the Leitende Kommission (executive commission) of the DTÖ, as will be discussed later in this article. Therefore, the initiative to program a set of historical concerts within the framework of the exhibition was rooted in Viennese local practices and served to strengthen the ties of a network of people who already cherished activities fostering early music in Vienna and beyond.
A group of music scholars was involved and intensively collaborated to plan the corpus of the historical concerts of 1892, but they followed heterogeneous criteria. These concerts presented them with an opportunity to showcase themselves in the public sphere as managers, keynote speakers in the introductory talks, authors of the concert notes, and promoters of musical editions related to the concerts. The introduction to the edited book of concert programs lists the names of key speakers (
Referenten). According to this source, the key speakers of the concerts were Adler, Böhm, Hirschfeld, Rudolf Edler von Larisch (1856–1934), and Moritz Prunlechner. In his introduction, von Hermann also quotes Albert J. Gutmann (1851–1915) as advisor for the conception of the program. Gutmann was a German music dealer and concert agent who in 1873 (the year of the World Exhibition of Vienna) founded a music shop and music publishing house in Vienna. Only two years before the International Exhibition of Music and Theater of Vienna, in 1890, he had established the Volkskonzerte, a series of concerts with inexpensive tickets to attract a working-class public. His influence was crucial for the balance between the cultural, the didactic, and the economic interests of the Historische Concerte.
 Böhm, who, as we have seen before, was the founder and director of the
Chorakademie des Ambrosius-Vereines, wrote the introduction to the first and third concert, both performed by his own choir. Prunlechner, along with Larisch, wrote the introduction to the second concert, dedicated to popular music of the 15th and 16th century outside Germany and performed by the Wiener Sing-Akademie. This same choir, directed by Max von Weinzierl (1841–98), performed the fourth concert, devoted to music of 15th- and 16th-century Germany. For that occasion, Prunlechner penned the introduction on his own and transcribed some of the repertory into modern notation.
Despite the fact that Hirschfeld appeared as “Referent” in von Hermann’s introduction, his name does not appear in any of the concert programs. As we know, Hirschfeld was the promoter of the
Renaissance-Abende, so perhaps he was responsible for presenting the seventh concert, devoted to German sacred songs from the 11th to the 17th century, performed by a group of pupils of two orphanages.
Daniël de Lange (1841–1918), who was not listed by von Hermann as a “key speaker,” was in charge of the introductory talk to the concerts that he directed with his
Amsterdam a cappella-Chor. He was also the author of the substantial program notes of the three concerts (the fifth, sixth, and eight of the historical concert series), which were dedicated to Flemish music masters from the 14th to the 17th century. On May 29, 1892, de Lange sent a letter to von Hermann accepting the invitation to participate in the Historische Concerte and answering several requests. Attached to this letter, de Lange sent his curriculum vitae, the preliminary program of the three concerts of the Amsterdamer a cappella-Chor, and a detailed musicological and historical introduction to them. Adler discussed and corrected the program and the historical introduction. Adler preserved all those materials, which are in his personal archive, the Guido Adler Papers at the University of Georgia.
An introduction by Heinrich Reimann (1850–1906) preceded the three concerts performed by Amalie Joachim (1839–99), devoted to the German lied. As we will see later, he was also the musicologist who had helped Joachim to select the sources, arrange them, and design the program of her cycle of German songs.
Von Hermann did not mention Reimann as “key speaker” in his introduction, but we can infer his role through the programs of the three concerts: “The introductions and notes to the individual songs are being taken from the original programs edited by H. Reimann.” These three concerts were the ninth, tenth, and eleventh of the historical series.
The last event of the
Historische Concerte featured the official presentation of a musical edition published in two volumes by Adler between 1892 and 1893. The concert had the same name as the edition and comprised parts of its repertory: a selection of vocal and instrumental works composed by the emperors Ferdinand III, Leopold I, and Joseph I. In the concert program, Adler is not explicitly mentioned. Nevertheless, his contribution as author of the detailed program notes and key speaker of the introductory conference can be inferred.
The active collaboration of different music scholars in the introductory talks and in the program notes of the concerts obviously followed a didactic agenda. In most cases they were also actively engaged in the selection of the repertory and in the management of the musical associations and groups of musicians that performed the music. Most of the scholars who collaborated on the organization of the historical concerts reinforced their social visibility as a consequence of this event. Therefore, the
Historische Concerte held in Vienna in 1892 served as an arena for negotiating the programming criteria, the repertory, and the scope of what was considered early music at that time. Figure 1: Guido Adler, drawing by Robert Fuchs; by courtesy of Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Bildarchiv Austria Early Music Concert Programming Trends
With regard to the aims, institutions, and interpreters involved in the corpus of
Historische Concerte, we can say that it did not adhere purely to any programming pattern but presented an amalgam of four different trends of programming early music. The first trend is represented by amateur choirs led by music scholars focusing on the revival of early sacred and national repertories. The agents of the second trend are pedagogical and religious institutions that had continuously preserved early music performance practices throughout history as part of their own idiosyncrasy and internal activities, disregarding the public entertainment aspects related to them. The third category is represented by renowned performers who decided to introduce old instruments and repertories as a tool to modernize their own programs and to brand their career profiles as performers specializing in early music. The fourth programming trend responded to the musical publishing business and served as a marketing strategy to sell music editions.
The two concerts performed by the
Chorakademie des Ambrosius-Vereines directed by Böhm, the first and third of the Historische Concerte, adhere primary to the first trend: an amateur choir led by music scholars focused on the revival of early sacred and national repertories. However, Josef Labor (1842–1924) played the organ and contributed with lectures about the history of music for organ followed by examples in both concerts. Labor was at that time a well-respected figure of the Viennese music scene: he was a composer, an organ and piano virtuoso, and a music teacher. At the time of the exhibition, he worked under the patronage of the Wittgenstein family, after having served as royal chamber pianist in Hanover and court organist in Vienna. Labor was a pioneer of research on early organ music, and he maintained a close relationship and collaboration with Adler, according to the numerous writings Adler devoted to him. Thus, these two concerts also contain elements of the third trend of early music programming practices, represented by renowned performers who decided to introduce old instruments and repertories as a tool to modernize their own programs.
 The two performances of the
Wiener Sing-Akademie, directed by Weinzierl, also mainly follow the first trend, but the string instruments of the Ausstellungs-Orchester (the official orchestra of the exhibition), directed by Hermann Grädener (1844–1929), accompanied these two concerts. Both of them were dedicated to secular music of the 15th and 16th century outside Germany and were accompanied by a modern piano, a Bösendorfer. In the first of them, the “Kammersänger” Gustav Walter (1834–1910) collaborated as soloist (we will see later that Walter was a pioneer in the programming of historical concerts focused on a single genre, the lied). Thus, these two concerts also blended elements of the first and third trend of early music programming practices.
The three concerts that the Dutch
Amsterdamer a cappella-Chor, directed by de Lange, performed between June and July of 1892 also respond primarily to the first trend in concert programming (a scholar behind a choir training to promote historical national repertories), but they differed from the previous ones in that they were performed entirely by highly professional musicians with an international background. The repertory of those concerts was based on the works of the main composers of the Flemish school between the 14th and the 17th century. At that time, there was a nationalistic discussion about the limits of the historical musical heritage of the Netherlands, supported by the discovery of new musical sources and scholarly research. The Vereeniging voor Nederlandsche Muziekgeschiedenis (Society for Music History of the Netherlands) was created, coinciding with the publication of the third volume of the Geschichte der Musik by the Austrian music historian August Wilhelm Ambros (1816–76) in 1868. De Lange was a member of the society’s board, and he contributed to spreading the music of this national label with different choirs and ensembles. The Vereeniging also reported on de Lange’s musical activities abroad in its journal. Furthermore, Franz Xaver Haberl (1840–1910) discovered the Trent Codices in 1880, and one year later, in 1881, de Lange created the Amsterdamer a cappella-Chor to disseminate the music discovered in those manuscripts. All concert programs of the Amsterdamer a cappella-Chor displayed the same structure: sacred music in the first part and secular music in the second. In the first performance, the court organist Rudolf Bibl (1832–1902) played a fantasia by Sweelinck on a Kaufmann organ. In this same first concert, the soloists of the Ausstellungs-Orchester performed a suite by Jean Adam Reinken (1643–1722). The second and third concert of the Amsterdamer a cappella-Chor included several old Dutch dances, arranged for piano four-hands by Johan Cornelis Marius van Riemsdyk (1841–95). Probably they used the edition of early Dutch dances that van Riemsdyk had published one decade before. Besides the participation of the court organist Bibl, these concerts featured an international collaboration between two professional institutions: a highly specialized Dutch vocal ensemble and the soloists of the official orchestra of the exhibition. In addition, these three performances incorporated elements of the fourth programming trend, since they were related to music publishing business strategies.
As we have seen before, Adler was especially involved in the preparation and promotion of the
Amsterdamer a cappella-Chor concerts. Besides his previous correspondence with de Lange in order to prepare the concert program and the concert notes, he wrote reviews in the press of every single performance led by de Lange. In his review of the first concert, published in the Neue Freie Presse, he described how Austrians had pioneered the musicological research of Dutch early music repertoires:
A society of art-loving singers from Amsterdam voluntarily undertook the task of transplanting native works of their ancestors to foreign soil. However, this had already been prepared. What the Dutch presented to us had to no minor extent been initiated long ago by Austrians: the Viennese music historians Kiesewetter and Ambros deserve the merit of having raised the appreciation of ancient Dutch art. In the hospitable home of the first [Kiesewetter], a small community met every Sunday and brought these dead works to new life. Here, Ambros became acquainted with the ancient compositions, for which he, following the epoch-making treatise of his uncle, “On the Merits of the Dutch in Music”—an award-winning essay with which Kiesewetter defeated his big competitor Fétis—advocated strongly.
In this same review, Adler stated that, despite the pioneering work made by Raphael Georg Kiesewetter (1773–1850) and his nephew Ambros in Vienna, more research was needed in order to better understand those early musical periods:
Just like the prejudice in art history that the pre-Rafael period was barbaric and unenjoyable had to be removed, Kiesewetter and Ambros successfully intervened for the just appreciation of ancient Dutch art, the so-called pre-Palestrina period. In his
Geschichte der Musik, Ambros lifted much of the old treasure, freed it from rubble and ashes, and helped it to renewed splendor. Still a lot of work must be done, still many drops of sweat will roll off from researchers’ foreheads, if the work started should be completed. Indeed, single men, like Lommer in Berlin and Kade in Schwerin, followed the steps that Kiesewetter and Ambros have determined. Yet a great part is still awaiting completion.
Adler finished this review by interconnecting the relevance of de Lange’s concerts with the recent acquisition of the Trent Codices by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Education of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As I will explain later in this article, one year before the exhibition, in 1891, Adler had convinced the highest representative of this ministry to bring the Trent Codices to Vienna to have them studied and edited: “In the precious anthologies, which the Austrian Ministry of Education recently purchased from the Trento Cathedral Chapter with heavy sacrifices to preserve them for our country, there is still a considerable part of Old Dutch art buried.”
Figure 2: Daniël de Lange, oil painting by Adri Bleuland van Oordt (1862–1944); by courtesy of the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD)
 The single concert performed by 600 pupils of two orphanages and one private school led by the Catholic Piarist Fathers (
Schulbrüder) reflects the second type of concert trend: that typical of pedagogical and religious institutions that have continuously preserved early music performance practices throughout history as part of their own idiosyncrasy and internal activities. Three institutions collaborated on this concert: The k. k. Waisenhaus (the imperial-royal orphanage in the 9th district of Vienna), the Privat-Volks- und Bürgerschule (Private Primary and Citizen School), based in Fünfhaus (now part of the 15th district) and founded by Anton Maria Schwartz (1852–1929) in 1889 to educate people of the working class, and the orphanage Norbertinum, built by the Waisenverein (Association for Orphans) between 1881 and 1890 in Pressbaum, a village located 50 kilometers from Vienna. The repertory of this concert was based on German sacred songs from the 11th to the 17th century selected from different songbooks of the 15th, 16th, and 17th century: the Rheinfelser Gesangbuch (1666), the Trierer Gesangbuch (1482), the Mich. Vehe’s Gesangbuch (1537), the Geistliche Nachtigall (1631) by David Gregor Corner (1585–1648), the Leisentritt’s Gesangbuch (1584), and the Geistliche Hirtenlieder (1657) by Angelus Silesius (1624–77). There is information neither about who the conductor was nor about the concert promoter, the key speaker, or the instruments. The program notes offered the lyrics of the songs performed and indicated the name of the print office that printed the brochure. We can see that this type of concert emphasized the historical sources and their religious functions over the performers and other people involved. It was closer to the Cecilian Movement than to the pioneering early music revival movements, supported by civil scholars and amateur music lovers.
The three performances delivered by Amalie Joachim belong primarily to the third trend of concert programming. This pattern is linked to a concrete performer, usually a virtuoso. According to Beatrix Borchard, the first attempt by Joachim to create a concert program based on early lieder dates December 28, 1890. On this day, Joachim wrote a letter to Professor Franz Wüllner (1832–1902) requesting his help selecting works to create a program for a concert of lieder “from Haydn to Mozart.”
Reimann was the scholar who finally collaborated with Amalie on the selection of works, the transcriptions, and the realization of the program for her tour. They met for the first time in 1891, and from then on he became her artistic and scientific advisor. They agreed on structuring the cycle in four sessions and together decided the pattern and design of every single concert program. Every session explained a chronological history through selected examples. Most of the repertory of Joachim’s lied cycle came from the primary sources and manuscripts of the Berliner Staatbibliothek, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, and the Königliche Bibliothek. Borchard has studied how they selected the materials from a core of two boxes of sources that Reimann sent to Joachim. Figure 3: Joseph and Amalie Joachim, wood engraving by Adolf Neumann (1825–84), in Die Gartenlaube 21, no. 38 (1873): 611; by courtesy of Wikisource
The idea of creating a soloist program with a historical background was not new. Between 1871 and 1872, Anton Rubinstein (1829–94) had undertaken an American tour with a program in seven sessions based on the history of music for keyboard. Later, he performed this cycle in Russia and Eastern Europe between 1885 and 1886. Hans von Bülow (1830–94) and Joseph Joachim (1831–1907), the husband of Amalie, had also composed a concert cycle to illustrate the catenation Bach–Beethoven–Brahms as the creation of a German style or aesthetic paradigm in instrumental music.
While Rubinstein framed his tour from a European perspective, Bülow and Joachim’s perspective was entirely Germanocentric. Besides these two initiatives, the tenor Walter, who also collaborated as a soloist with the Wiener Sing-Akademie in the second and fourth concerts of the Historische Concerte of Vienna 1892, presented a history of the lied genre (“from Thibaut de Navarre to the end of the 19th century”) in the Kärtnertortheater since 1882. The program pattern of the cycle of Amalie Joachim differs from the ones of Rubinstein and Bülow/Joseph Joachim because it was nation-based, but it did not follow a teleological approach to explain a national musical idiom in historical terms. It also differed from Walter’s initiative because it offered a history of styles via a concrete genre, not a history of a genre, as Walter did. In her cycle, Amalie Joachim mixed oral and written traditions and collective and individual creations. This stylistic approach to the history of a genre resonates with Adler’s further historiographical systematization based on the idea of musical style and its evolution, a trait that is self-evident in the conceptualization of his edited manual Handbuch der Musikgeschichte.
The three concerts by Joachim encompassed editorial marketing strategies, so they also adhere to the fourth trend of concert programming. Hermann Wolff (1845–1902) edited the concert notes,
and the publishing house Nikolaus Simrock in Berlin edited part of the scores of the program as a bonus for the concert under the title Das deutsche Lied: Eine Auswahl aus den Programmen der historischen Lieder-Abende der Frau Amalie Joachim, herausgegeben von Heinrich Reimann. The publication was not identical to the concert program since Simrock only edited the unknown lieder, avoiding the famous contemporary lieder by Schubert, Schumann, or Brahms. The volumes of Das deutsche Lied had no explicit information about the primary sources and the scholarly editorial criteria. The goal of these editions was the massive dissemination of a kind of salon music with proper quality standards intended to improve the domestic music literature. As Borchard has pointed out, Joachim’s cycle did not aim to find the “authentic” sound of the past but to bring up to date the historical repertory. Reimann adapted the original melodies to a modern piano accompaniment, trying to offer entertainment with a scholarly basis.
 This cycle was decisive for the branding of Amalie Joachim’s career as a soloist specialized in early music repertories. Joachim, accompanied by various pianists, traveled all around Germany, the Baltic countries, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Switzerland with this cycle of early lieder. She finished her international tour in the USA. Joachim performed her cycle in Vienna twice between 1892 and 1893. The first time, as part of the
Historische Concerte, she readapted the cycle, narrowing it down from four to three sessions. During the second performance of her lied cycle in the Musikvereinssaal in 1893, the critics accused Amalie of being too affect-laden and monotonous and of lacking “good taste” to perform early music. The case of Joachim was especially controversial from the point of view of the concert spaces. At that time, the lied was conceived as a salon and amateur genre. Nevertheless, Joachim’s cycle had a virtuoso character and was designed to be performed in big spaces. With this programming strategy, Joachim blended different kinds of programming trends, including scholarly attention to unknown early sources, the pedagogical aim of displaying the repertoire historically, virtuoso branding strategies, and a clear editorial marketing purpose.
The last of the
Historische Concerte follows the fourth type of early concert programming trends. It differs from the other concerts above all because it was private. It was not open to the public and visitors of the exhibition like the other concerts. The attendants needed to be invited by the emperor. Figure 4: Image of the invitation-entrance to the last concert of the Historische Concerte; Guido Adler Papers, University of Georgia, Box 53, Folder 11
Numerous institutions and individual collaborators made this concert possible. The artistic director of the concert was Böhm, and consequently the
Chorakademie des Ambrosius-Vereins performed the choral parts. According to the program, the soloist vocal interpreters of this concert were Amalie Joachim, Bertha Gutmann, Eduard Gärtner, and Adolf Weidlich, while the solo instrumental parts were played by two violinists (Michael Drucker and Josef Fitzner), a cellist (Alphons Kraholetz), and a pianist (Ferdinand Loewe). Besides the string soloists, the concert was accompanied by a piano, an organ, and a harmonium. The piano was played by a pianist named Ferdinand Foll (1867–1929) and by a music theorist soon to become one of the most influential of his generation: Heinrich Schenker (1868–1935). At that time, Schenker was 24 years old and worked as a music critic, performer (accompanist), and conductor in Vienna. This concert was therefore the result of an intense collaboration between different institutions and individuals. Some of these individuals, such as Adler or Schenker, strengthened their networks and influence in Viennese musical life enormously after the exhibition. In 1898, six years after the end of the exhibition, the Austro-Hungarian emperor, Franz Joseph I, appointed Adler to become the successor of Eduard Hanslick at the University of Vienna, where he founded the world’s first musicological department.
According to the media, the audience of this last special concert consisted of scholars, ambassadors, members of European royal families, and the aristocracy. An anonymous critic of the
Deutsche Musik-Zeitung described the distinguished audience:
Several months ago we were concerned with the publication of the musical works composed by the emperors Ferdinand III, Josef I, and Leopold I, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, and edited in Prague by Prof. Dr. Guido Adler. The first volume (the first half) of this publication was exhibited in the Habsburg interior of the musical exhibition, and a few hours before the actual end of the exhibition, a number of these works were performed in the “Vortragsaale” of the exhibition [rotunda] for a select audience. Access to this performance was only permitted with an invitation card. The concert, which had a private and distinguished character, was very well attended.
As part of the editorial marketing strategies before editing the work that inspired this concert, Carl August Artaria (1855–1919) published the list of subscribers for this volume (see figure 2). Apart from libraries and institutions, this list included the names of patrons belonging to the highest international social and cultural elite. Some of the members of this list were also invited to the concert. Therefore, this concert is another paradigmatic case of deep interdependency between scholarly research, performance practices, and marketing strategies of programming and editing early music at that time.
Figure 5: Image of subscribers of the Artaria edition; Guido Adler Papers, University of Georgia, Box 2, Folder 3
According to the testimony of von Hermann, an additional collaboration with the
Historische Concerte was originally planned but failed due to financial problems with the Ausstellungs-Commission. The organization counted on a famous Leipzig-based choir specialized in early music, the Riedel Gesangverein, founded and conducted by Carl Riedel (1827–88) until his death. The program consisted of pieces of the best-known composers of polyphonic music of the 16th century and some fragments of early oratorios. The performance was canceled at the last minute.
Antonicek pointed out that another collaboration was canceled.
As part of the attractions of the Historische Concerte, the organizers planned to display in Vienna the collection of historic musical instruments of the Conservatory of Brussels, collected by François-Auguste Gevaert (1828–1908) and Victor-Charles Mahillon (1841–1924), which eventually became the core of the current collection of instruments of the Musée des instruments de musique of Brussels. This plan did not succeed, because the organizational commission failed in negotiating the agreement to pay the cost of travel and insurance for those fragile specimens. It is still unknown whether the commission planned to use early musical instruments for all of the Historische Concerte. An informative anonymous note published on January 31, 1892, in Vaterland and Neue Freie Presse, the daily newspapers at which von Hermann and Adler were engaged respectively, points in this direction:
In preparation are also a historical singspiel, historical operettas, and a historical farce evening. There are 45 popular and 7 historic concerts planned for the Musikhalle; besides, five historical concerts will take place in the little Musikhalle, in which old but still playable instruments will be used.
 Nevertheless, most pieces were finally arranged for piano and new instruments. Therefore, the instrumental arrangement and accompaniment of the
Historische Concerte were not supposed to recover the sound and practices of the past but to modernize the aesthetics of those early music repertories. The novelty of these practices was located in the unknown repertories, and not in the pursuit of a historically “authentic” sound.
Regarding the space, all the
Historische Concerte were performed in the Vortrags-Saal (auditorium) located in one of the corners of the rotunda. Figure 6: Rotunda plan, the symphonic hall was close to the organ (see on the bottom right of the image), published in the Leporello fanfold Internationale Ausstellung für Musik- und Theaterwesen Wien 1892 (Vienna: Max Herzig, 1892).
This same hall served as the venue for the symphonic concerts. If the tickets of most of the historical concerts were sold out, as the press stated, it implied that a large public attended those pioneering concerts with early music repertories. In an article in the
Neue Freie Presse, Adler described the large but distinguished and enthusiastic audience that attended the Historische Concerte:
The distinguished audience, which filled the hall down to the last seat—a large number of interested persons had to leave empty-handed—acclaimed all contributors enthusiastically; several pieces were vehemently demanded to be repeated. We look forward to the following two concerts with great excitement.
Regarding the small audience during the first concert of the Dutch choir, Adler, years later, recalled how he encouraged the public through an enthusiastic critique in the press to attend the next ones:
The first evening, almost empty, unleashed enthusiasm among the few listeners. I took a pen and wrote a flaming article in the
Neue Freie Presse. The two following evenings were sold out—victory was achieved and the way for similar performances paved.
A foreign reporter commented similarly on the increase of attendants from the first to the third historical concert led by de Lange, proving the impact of Adler’s journalistic writings in Viennese society: “Unfortunately, the attendance at de Lange’s concerts was not proportionate to the performance offered; only at the last concert was the Vortragsaal of the rotunda filled by a paying audience.”
Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich (DTÖ)
Similarly to the historical concerts, the monumental edition has precedents too.
Adler first attempted to launch a nationally oriented, monumental music edition in 1888 with a proposal to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Education. At that time, he was associate professor at the German-speaking University of Prague. His first idea was to edit a selection of works composed by authors from the German-speaking areas of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The proposed title for this project was Monumenta historiae musices. The Ministry rejected this initiative, pointing out the lack of representation of the non-German-speaking areas of the Empire in the project. Furthermore, soon after this proposal, the young German nation issued the first volume of the Denkmäler deutscher Tonkunst, edited by Philipp Spitta (1841–94), the first volume being published in 1892.
The Viennese Exhibition of 1892 was the catalyst of Adler’s aim to develop his old editorial project. Adler was in charge of the overall scientific and historical aspects of the musical section. Additionally, he was the curator of the Austrian and German pavilions. It is relevant to highlight that all the concert titles of the
Historische Concerte, with the exceptions of the fifth and sixth concerts devoted to Flemish music, made allusions to German-speaking countries. Furthermore, following his instructions, a collection of musical sources was assembled from all around the empire, and this collection served as the basis for the future DTÖ. Figure 7: Forms sent to thousands of archives and libraries; Guido Adler Papers, University of Georgia, Box 1, Folder 27
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Education approved and supported Adler’s idea of editing a selection of works composed by the emperors Ferdinand III, Leopold I, and Joseph I themselves. The two volumes that resulted from this project could be considered the ultimate pilot or “edition zero” for the
DTÖ. The last concert in the series of Historische Concerte featured pieces from this edition.
In 1893 the Gesellschaft zur Herausgabe der Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich (Society for the Publication of Monuments of Musical Art in Austria) was institutionalized. According to Hilscher, the members of the first executive commission were Adler (director of publications), Hanslick (president), Artaria (treasurer), von Hermann (secretary), Böhm, Brahms, Wilhelm Ritter von Hartel (1839–1907), Engelbert Mühlbacher (1843–1903), Hans Richter (1843–1916), and Wilhelm Weckbecker (1859–1936).
As we have already seen before, one year before the exhibition, in 1891, Adler had brought the Trent Codices to Vienna in order to study and edit them. In 1885, Haberl had already published his research on these manuscripts in his long article about Guillaume Dufay for the first volume of the Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft. The kernel of the repertory of the fifth and sixth historical concerts, performed by the Amsterdamer a cappella-Chor, depended on Haberl’s further materials and editions. In 1892, Trent was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So for Adler these precious codices belonged to the musical heritage of the empire. Consequently, the 14th and 15th volumes of the DTÖ, published together in 1900, contain a selection of works and a complete thematic catalogue of the first six manuscripts of the Trent Codices. Conclusions
 The set of historical concerts performed during the International Exhibition of Music and Theater in Vienna was not the first initiative of its kind. Nevertheless, it is relevant for the history of early musical practices because of the efforts of the organizers to edit and preserve the concert programs, the massive audience that attended every single concert, and the international and inter-institutional collaboration developed in order to carry out the project. The initiative to program historical concerts within the framework of an international exhibition had a pedagogical intention. The character of the performances wavered between erudition and entertainment. In this article, this set of concerts acted as a showcase for archival research and demonstrated the deep interrelation between early music editorial enterprises and early music performance practices. Therefore, the
Historische Concerte project displayed musicology, an aspiring academic discipline, in the public sphere. The study of this concert series has also revealed the narrow international ties between performers, scholars, conductors, and concert promoters at that time.
Historische Concerte also served as appetizers to further systematize Adler’s ideas about the history of musical styles, the international conception of music history (based on excellence), and Adler’s conception of musico-historical development. In all of those concerts, as well as in Adler’s scholarly writings, the music of German-speaking countries was at the center of the discussion, either by implicit inclusion or by explicit exclusion. Therefore, the Historische Concerte, as well as the original DTÖ project, aspired to achieve a universal scope through a Germanocentric perspective. The conception of both cultural milestones blended imperial and national goals, with a tension between cosmopolitanism and chauvinism.
This case study also calls into question some assumptions about the development of historically informed practices in music. First of all, the big audiences that attended the
Historische Concerte contradict the historiographical assumption that the pioneering early music revival attempts were a marginal phenomenon. Second, the program was an amalgam of different types of concert programming trends. The virtuosity of Amalie Joachim’s lied cycle was programmed after a concert of sacred choral music performed by a total of 600 students of two orphanages. The two amateur Viennese choirs, the Chor-Akademie des Ambrosius-Vereines and the Wiener Singakademie, performed alongside the professional members of the Dutch Amsterdamer a cappella-Chor. The repertories were also quite large: from Gregorian chant, still performed in religious institutions, to completely unknown scenic repertories from the baroque era (last concert); from musical sources recently rediscovered (the Trent Codices) to works of the canonical repertory of concerts at that time (presented by Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, or Johannes Brahms).
Besides those aspects, there was also a huge difference between the religious motivation of the
Ambrosius Choir and the choir of orphans, both rooted in the Cecilian Movement, and the personal and artistic branding strategies of Amalie Joachim’s lied cycle. There was a similar difference between the erudite, nationalist, and institutionalizing scope of both the Amsterdamer a cappella-Chor and the last concert based on the “edition zero” of the DTÖ on the one hand and the rest of the concerts on the other. In addition, in this set of concerts, professional performers collaborated with non-professional ones. The intensified collaboration between music professionals, even with virtuosic skills, and members of amateur institutions was a consequence of the last concert: the official presentation of the edition made by Adler with imperial financial support.
This case study also shows that the pioneering early music movement at the turn of 19th century was manifold, rich, and transversal, and that it laid the foundations for the further development of early music research and practices in the 20th century.