A rare find in a german antiquarian bookshop.

Last summer I visited Dresden and as always I looked forward to visiting some antiquarian bookshops; especialy the "Dresdener Antiquariat", because it has a lot of out-of-print books and musical scores. This time I was very lucky; not only did I find (at last!) a piano score of Lortzing's "Der Wildschütz" (The Poacher), that is unacceptably expensive in The Netherlands (where I live), but my best catch was the little booklet "Der deutschen Jugend gilt mein Lied" for only € 4!

That is why I keep lugging antiquarian bookshops: despite the internet, abebooks and e-readers there are still some very rare gems that nobody else would buy, but that are valuable to me!
As was printed on the front page:

Über Leben und Wirken von Albert Lortzing.
Material zur Gestaltung von Heimabenden in den Gruppen der Freien Deutschen Jugend.
Zusammengestellt und geschrieben von Manfred Jordan.
Herausgegeven vom Zentralrat der Freien Deutschen Jugend- Abteilung Kultur

It is not "just" a Lortzing biography. And, by the way: on the risk of blowing my own horn, you won't find anything on Lortzing that isn't already mentioned on this website. It was written to be used during the meetings of the Free German Youth, also known as the FDJ (German: Freie Deutsche Jugend), the official communist youth movement of the German Democratic Republic and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.
What's in it? "Einleitung des Gruppenleiters", "Sprecher", "Wir erzählen", "Überleitung", "Wir lesen vor"; it reminded me of my youth, when my parents bought me a children's prayer book for the catholic mass, to be able to follow the - latin - mass as a child. Also: "Wir spielen oder lesen mit verteilten Rollen" (role-playing avant-la-lettre) and - best of all - concerted music making and singing of Lortzing's music - isn't that what's still happening in church? (well...the congregational singing, they're not singing music by Lortzing in church, of course)
Except that there are some pieces of music in this booklet that you'll find nowhere else: on page 43 the "Neues Osterlied" and on page 56 the "Deutsches Studentenlied", respectively LOWV 80 nrs 2 and 1. "Vier Chöre" for male choir, written during the revolution of March 1848 in Vienna. It has been printed in July 1848, but then it fell into oblivion. Okay, the orchestral parts are still missing (you can always look for them at the Library of the Lortzing archive in Detmold). Furthermore, on page 63, "Der deutschen Jugend gilt mein Lied" (LOWV 95,4), although deliberately renamed as "Es geht der Weg durch Nacht zum Licht" and in a lower key than the original.
It is really a collector's item and I'm proud to possess it. However, for all of you interested in Lortzing (or probably in the history of socialism/communism in the German Democratic Republic) I offer you a pdf of the booklet; you can download it here.

Salamander - An "Undine"- novel.

Jürgen Lodemann is probably even more a fan of Albert Lortzing than I am. In 1962 he wrote his dissertation "Deutsche Bürgerlichkeit. Lortzing und seine Spielopern" on Lortzings Spielopern. In 2001, a Lortzing memorial year, he published "Lortzing, Gaukler und Musiker", and last year he published his novel "Salamander - a novel".

It is not just a novel. Superficially read, it is a detective, about a crime passionel. If you are shallow enough to keep it at that level, you might still have many enjoyable hours of reading, but of course you deprive yourself of the satisfaction of a more deeper understanding (and you deprive the author of his well-earned respect as well). There is a second level - it is a love story of the German city Freiburg and of Baden, one of the sixteen states of Germany. Freiburg is beautifully depicted and I wish my next vacation could have Freiburg as a destination.
But there is even more; Lortzing's opera's Undine and Regina are involved in the story-line. Not only because the female protagonist is called Undine, it also because a lot of the action in the story is centered around the rehearsals and a performance of Regina, merged with some information on the opera Undine. This is the third level of the novel: unravelling the "who dunnit", you stumble on lots of informaton, not only about Lortzing's opera's, but also on Goethe, culture, literature, politics and the culture of Islam. Did I forget something? Definitely, but it is just to show the inexhaustible richness of the novel when it comes to these ideas.
Finally, on the fourth level, it is a book about philosophy, humanity and tolerance. Lodemann's interpretation of how the two opera's are compatible in the way they reflect Lortzing's worldview is transposed to the problems of our time - which shows that Lortzing might have lived and died two hundred years ago, in an era without computers or cell phones (Lodemann writes of our own time as "Sankt Digitalien"), but that his work and his ideas are still valid. And, of course, that we misunderstand and underestimate Lortzing by thinking of him "just" as a composer of comic Spieloper.
It's a story about freedom, but also about "Mut zur Anderswelt". "Die Natur des Mannes als Naturkatastrophe".

So wisse, dass in allen Elementen
es Wesen gibt, die aussehn fast wie ihr;
in Feuers Flammen spielen Salamander,
die Gnomen hausen in der Erde Tiefen,
in Äthers Blau und in den Strömen lebet
der Geister viel verbreitetes Geschlecht.

Salamander shows that Opera, Music,Art is there to create emotion - feelings and humanism. A must-read.

Concert special: Heil sei dem Tag, an welchem Du bei uns erschienen!

Of course this is the first line of the "Kantate-Probe", the famous choral rehearsal-scene from "Zar und Zimmermann", and in the opera it is meant to pay tribute to the czar of Russia (during his stay in the Dutch town Zaandam). But next Sunday, January 30th, it will be a tribute to Albert Lortzing himself; the great but often under-estimated composer of the German Spieloper, when the Erzgebirgische Philharmonie, conducted by Dieter Klug will perform a selection of works by the master.

Albert Lortzing ist einer der bedeutendsten sächsischen Komponisten - seine Opern ZAR UND ZIMMERMANN, der WILDSCHÜTZ, UNDINE und der WAFFENSCHMIED sind zu Mustern der deutschen heiteren Oper geworden. Das concert special am 30.1. in Annaberg-Buchholz lädt ein, die Lebenswege dieses Theatermannes aus dem Biedermeier mitzugehen.

One of the works that will be performed is the "Warme weeche Bretzel"-valse, probably for the first time since 1838.

New Lortzing-Autograph in Lippische Landesbibliothek Detmold

The Lippische Landesbibliothek Detmold, house of the Lortzing-Archive, has acquired a new autograph of Lortzing, although it actually is only a receipt with Lortzing signature. You can read the original article here:

(...)es handelt sich um eine Quittung der Schlesinger'schen Buch- und Musikalienhandlung in Berlin vom 10. Juli 1850. Lortzing quittiert den Verkauf der Lieder Nr. 4 und 6 aus der Schauspielmusik zu "Eine Berliner Grisette" (LoWV 93). Der Text der Quittung stammt aus fremder Hand, Lortzing unterschrieb und datierte nur selbst. Die zwei verschiedenen Tintenfarben sind auch gut zu erkennen.

Commemorative tablet in Frankfurt

Commemorative tablet in Frankfurt

Lortzing never lived in Frankfurt, but, at the end of his life, when Lortzing was completely impoverished, "Die Opernprobe" - his last Spieloper - was performed at the Stadttheater in Frankfurt, Jan 20th while Lortzing was dying in his bed.
The plaque is in the Lortzingstraße.

©Willem Jager

O Reiner Unsinn - Edition WUZ special about Lortzing

An interesting issue of WUZ, a magazine devoted to Jean Paul - and especially his schoolmaster Wuz, who - like the Duke of Gloucester - preferred thin books over "damned fat square books".
So, WUZ apparently always issues small, thin booklets with only a few pages. I only got to know the magazine when the publisher, Armin Elhardt, offered me to send me volume 19, devoted to Albert Lortzing and written by Lortzing's greatest fan - not to say zealot: Jürgen Lodemann, as a present. A great gift - thank you mr. Elhardt!.
I know mr. Lodemann personally, I've met him, I've heard him lecturing on Lortzing in Detmold (2001) and Leipzig (2009),and I've read his "damned fat" book on Lortzing: "Gaukler und Musiker" (2000). And he gave me permission to publish his great essay "Nun kommt der Freiheit grosser Morgen" (on Lortzing's opera "Regina") on this website.
Now this small book is another example of Lodemann's persuasive style: in nineteen short statements mr. Lodemann explains why Lortzing always has been important to opera culture and still should be important to us. Beautifully illustrated with drawings by Peter Schmidt, that make this issue a must-have for the Lortzing connoisseur and the collector of Lorzingiana. But also the superficially interested reader will pick it up to read and re-read it again and again, or just to browse through the pages.
WUZ is published in a limited edition, which is a shame. The only obstacle I can think of for you, my dear reader, is the language: WUZ is entirally written in German. But, thinking about it, when you're interested in German culture you can't have a serious problem with the language.

Rebuilding the Albert Lortzing Website

I am currently in the process of rebuilding my Albert Lortzing Website. Since the Albert Lortzingwebsite is loaded with information, it will take some time to transfer everything from the old-fashioned html version to this one, that, hopefully, will make it easier for me to keep the website up-to-date. The old website will be archived here, at least during the process of the make-over.

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