Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies


The author attributes the anonymous 1826 Berliner allegemeine musikalische Zeitung (BamZ) review of the Leipzig performances of Beethoven’s Ninth, which suggests removal of the choral finale and inspires A.B. Marx to a passionate defense, to the critic Amadeus Wendt. The career of Wendt as a philosophy professor is firmly established, as is his criticism for the BamZ, Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (AmZ), Cäcilia, Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung mit besonderer Rucksicht auf den österreichischen Kaiserstaat (WamZ), and other journals. Wendt’s Hoffmannesque opinions of instrumental music are contextualized via his extensive criticism of opera and vocal music, highlighting themes such as inappropriate virtuosity, (im)proper text-setting, and instruments’ tendency to overpower voices. His Beethoven criticism is also briefly examined with reference to his aesthetics, including Kantian ideas on mannerism. While specific verbiage and viewpoints are highlighted as Wendtian in the 1826 review, the attribution of the review (eventually signed Das musikalische Correspondent aus Leipzig) also rests on the very strong likelihood that Wendt is that musical correspondent from Leipzig, based on tracing references in other signed work for the journal. As the critic was a well-known writer on aesthetics, the attribution helps elevate his side of the debate with Marx on the validity of the choral finale for the Ninth––a position which foresaw the crushing burden of the originality imperative and the identity crisis for symphonic music that acceptance of the Ninth would bring.



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