Route and stations of the Leipzig Music Walk (Leipziger Notenbogen)
The 5 km (3 miles) long Leipzig Music Walk (Leipziger Notenbogen) is a supplementary "musical" promenade and in planning process.
Site of Richard Wagner's Birth Place
Bronze plaque by Fritz Zalisz
Richard is a Leipziger...
Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig on 22nd May 1813, the year of the Napoleonic Battle of the Nations in and around the city. Johanna Rosine Wagner gave birth to Richard, her ninth child, in the house of the Zum roten und weißen Löwen inn (The Red and White Lion) in Brühl 3, the house on the north side of the Brühl road opposite Hainstraße.
The house was named Richard Wagner's Birth Place in 1882, before being pulled down only four years later. The new building on the site assumed the title Wagnerhaus in 1906.
This building was only to stand until 1914, before being demolished to make way for an extension to the Brühl department store.
Following severe bomb damage, reconstruction and modernisation, the store adopted its present form in 1968. The aluminium façade designed by the Leipzig architect Harry Müller accounts for the building's affectionate nickname, Blechbüchse (tin can). A preservation order ensures that this relatively recent addition to Leipzig's cityscape remains immune to any notions to redevelop the site.
The recent destruction of the adjacent building has presented Leipzig with the opportunity to integrate either a structural or an aesthetic memorial to Wagner's birth house into the planned construction of a new shopping centre on the neighbouring site.
The bronze plaque by the Leipzig sculptor Fritz Zalisz (1893-1971) serves as a reminder to the site of the birth of the city's most celebrated musical son.
Site of Old Theatre
"Altes Theater" (Komödienhaus) around 1830
Until 1693, the city of Leipzig had no theatre of its own. In 1692, the Elector of Saxony, Georg IV, awarded the "privilege" of opera performances in Leipzig to the former deputy conductor of the Dresden Court, Nicolaus Adam Strungk. Strungk leased a plot - No. 495 - at the northwest end of the Brühl road (the site of the Ritterpassage today) and oversaw the erection of a wooden theatre, 40m x 15m, with an amphitheatrical auditorium. This theatre, following in the footsteps of that in Hamburg, was only the second civic opera house (i.e. not belonging to a royal court) in Germany. The theatre was inaugurated with a production of Strungk's opera Alceste on 8th May 1693.
Rather than running a continuous annual season, operas were only staged during Leipzig's three annual trade fairs, resulting in a total of approximately fifty performances per year. Due to the high rent for the site, it proved impossible to operate economically, leading to Strungk, his partners and his offspring falling into great debt. Georg Philipp Telemann played, sang and conducted at the house for three years, as well as composing more than two dozen operas for performance here. The enterprise was finally called to a halt in 1720, the theatre having fallen into a state of extreme disrepair; the building was eventually pulled down in 1729. The itinerant theatre troupes of the day were subsequently forced to perform either in a makeshift theatre at the Peterstor, in the stables at the Rannisches Tor, in the city's various baroque gardens or in Zotens Hof (now Oelßners Hof, Nikolaistraße 24).
In 1764, the engineer Georg Rudolf Fäsch and fellow freemason, Gottlieb Benedict Zemisch, announced their intention to erect a concert hall on the Ranstädter Bastei
(Ranstadt Bastion), the site having been donated by Prince Xaver. Zemisch, along with two fellow members of his lodge, Herr Schwabe and Herr Gleditsch, had been responsible for the instigation of the Großes Concert (Grand Concert) series in 1743 - the birth of the orchestra later to become the Gewandhausorchester. He had funded the conversion of a hall in the Drei Schwanen (Three Swans) inn in the Brühl road out of his own pocket; for the new venture on the Ranstädter Bastei, he decided on the construction of a theatre: the Komödienhaus (Comedy House). The theatre was opened during the Michaelmas trade fair on 10th October 1766 with a performance of Johann Elias Schlegel's tragedy "Hermann".
Gottlieb Benedict Zemisch, who had made his fortune in the tobacco trade, encumbered himself with such huge debts - due, in no small measure, to his philanthropy - that he was forced, in 1778, to give up his patronage of the arts, transferring ownership of the Komödienhaus to his wife and losing his house, Katharinenstraße 21. The same year also saw the temporary end to the Großes Concert, presumably for the same reasons.
The Komödienhaus staged almost all operatic and dramatic productions in Leipzig well into the 19th century. E.T.A. Hoffmann held the post of Musical Director of the Joseph Seconda Opera Company here for one year from 1813. Albert Lortzing (see Notenbogen Station 6) was also engaged at the theatre, appearing as actor, singer and conductor. His operetta Czaar und Zimmermann received its premiere here on 22nd December 1837, as did Hans Sachs and Der Wildschütz in 1840, to mention but three. August Heinrich Marschner (see Notenbogen Station 3) saw the first production of his romantic opera Der Vampyr (The Vampire) in the Komödienhaus in March 1829.
Richard Wagner's sister, Rosalie, was a soloist in the opera company at the Komödienhaus. He himself, however, was to make little positive impression in Leipzig with his early compositions. Wagner was to wait until 1853 for the first appearance of one of his stage works at the theatre: Tannhäuser. A production of Lohengrin followed the following year, then Der fliegende Holländer in 1862.
Wagner's father was a great theatre-lover himself, spending much of his time with the actors and singers of Leipzig's Komödienhaus (he was a good friend of E.T.A. Hoffmann) in the Grüne Linde inn at the Petersteinweg.
The Neues Theater (New Theatre) on Augustusplatz (see Notenspur Station 10) was opened in 1868, the Komödienhaus subsequently assuming the title Altes Theater (Old Theatre). Both theatres were destroyed by bombing in 1943.
Site of Marschner's Residence
Heinrich Marschner (1795-1861), Source: Wikipedia
Heinrich Marschner (1795-1861) first came to Leipzig in 1813 in order to enrol for a degree in law. However, his passion for the arts and intensive contact to the music publisher Friedrich Hofmeister (see Graphic Quarter - music publishers), St. Thomas's Organist Friedrich Schneider and Thomaskantor (Cantor of St. Thomas's) Johann Gottfried Schicht, from whom he took music lessons, strengthened his resolve to devote himself entirely to music. Despite his departure only two years later, Marschner fervently maintained these friendships.
Marschner was to return to Leipzig in 1827 as his wife, Marianne (née Wohlbrück), was offered an engagement as soloist at the Leipzig Opera (see Site of Old Theatre). Marianne's salary was sufficient to provide comfortably for the family and to allow her husband to compose without financial pressure. During this time, Marschner worked on the completion of his opera Der Vampyr (The Vampire), which received its premiere at the Leipzig Opera on 29th March 1828.
Although his wife's contract at the Opera was not extended at the end of the season, Marschner considered Leipzig to be the most advantageous place to live and work, due to the performance possibilities the city offered. His next opera, Der Templer und die Jüdin (The Templar and the Jewess), premiered in Leipzig on 22nd December 1829, became, for a time, the opera house's most frequently performed production.
The family could not, however, live from the sale of his compositions alone, persuading Marschner, in January 1831, to accept the appointment to the position of Court Music Director in Hannover.
Marschner was to visit Leipzig frequently until the end of his life; as he wrote to Hofmeister in 1839: "...you know how devoted I am to Leipzig!"
Gustav Mahler's Residence
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) around 1885
In August 1886, the 26-year-old Gustav Mahler took up the post of Assistant Conductor to Arthur Nikisch at the Leipzig Opera. Mahler's performances at the theatre met with great success, among them productions of Wagner's Tannhäuser, Weber's Freischütz, Beethoven's Fidelio und Halévys Die Jüdin.
In Leipzig, Mahler was made welcome in the house of Carl von Weber, a grandson of Carl Maria von Weber, and agreed to attempt the completion of a fragment of an opera by the old master in the family's possession, Die Drei Pintos (The Three Pintos). The work received its first performance, conducted by Mahler himself, at the Leipzig Opera on 20th January 1888, attracting attention far beyond the bounds of the city to Mahler's compositional talent.
The success may well have motivated Mahler to devote himself to a greater degree to his own creational muse; in March 1888, after only six weeks intense work, he completed his First Symphony.
The fervour with which Mahler strived to conclude his first great opus resulted in the neglect of his duties at the Opera, causing friction between him and both the theatre management and the ensemble members. In addition, Mahler faced increasing resistance from the musicians of the orchestra, due in part to his uncompromising rehearsal style, in part to his competitive attitude towards the highly regarded Arthur Nikisch. In May 1888, Mahler requested to be released from his contract and departed Leipzig.
Site of Albert Lortzing's Residence
Albert Lortzing (1801-1851); lithograph by Schlick, 1845
To this day, Gustav Albert Lortzing (1801-51) bears the reputation of musical jester, a jovial, carefree composer in Biedermeier fashion. This abiding image is the result of one-and-a-half centuries' tempering and dilution of his texts and the moderation of the social criticism they contain. Lortzing's musical motifs, ideas and characters have, nonetheless, been willingly appropriated by numerous composers since, including Wagner.
Albert Lortzing's engagement at Director Ringelhardt's Leipzig Theatre began on 1st November 1833. During the twelve years of his employment, Lortzing appeared as both actor and singer, directed productions himself and even conducted. His most significant works for the stage also derive from this period, the most well known of which being Czaar und Zimmermann, first performed in the theatre on the Rannische Bastei (Rannische bastion) on 22nd December 1837.
Lortzing was involved in numerous associations and societies, for instance the freemason lodge Balduin zur Linde, the Littérateur Society, the Schiller Society and the Tunnel über der Pleiße (Tunnel over the River Pleiße) club. The membership of the Tunnel, which met for many years at the Hotel de Pologne in Hainstraße, included Friedrich Hofmeister, Heinrich Marschner, Friedrich Wieck, Heinrich Laube, Anton Philipp Reclam und Rosalie Wagner. Since political activity in those years of the "Metternich Era" was all but forbidden, it was common to assemble in sociable, ostensibly apolitical associations. Lortzing also applied his gift for word play in full measure in the expression of his social and political criticism on the stage.
Albert Lortzing was dismissed as conductor of the Opera on 1st May 1845 by the incoming theatre director, Dr. Karl Christian Schmidt. Lortzing subsequently supported his family by copying the orchestral and vocal parts of operas and through appearances as a guest conductor. In April 1846, Lortzing accepted an appointment as conductor at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, his family joining him there at the end of September. However, the revolution of 1848 brought about the cessation of all operatic activity for the foreseeable future. Lortzing accepted the renewed offer of employment at the Leipzig Opera, starting in September 1849. Only two months later, on November 1st, he resigned from his post on grounds of intrigue and machinations against him. In 1850 he commenced the engagement that was to be his last, at the Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtisches Theater (the present-day Deutsches Theater) in Berlin.
A plaque on the house Große Funkenburg claims that Lortzing lived in an apartment in the former summer house throughout his Leipzig years. This is, however, not at all accurate. Correspondence, address books and other documents prove that he occupied the flat here from the autumn of 1844 for only one-and-a-half years, following his promotion to Kapellmeister (conductor of the Opera). His first apartment in Leipzig was in house 1008 in Naundörfchen (behind the present-day fire station) from 1833 to 1838. The family subsequently took up residence in house 1086 in the Frankfurter Straße, to the right of the Funkenburg. In 1849, following the debacle in Vienna during the revolution, the Lortzing family returned to Leipzig and moved into Tauchaer Straße 2, nowadays the Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße.
Erwin Schulhoff's Residence
Study from 1910, photo: Werner Schneider
The composer and pianist Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942) studied at the Königliches Konservatorium (Royal Conservatoire) in Leipzig from 1908 to 1910. He resided for the duration of his studies in Elsterstraße 35. Schulhoff's mentors at the Conservatoire included Max Reger, whose method of teaching composition was as inspiring as it was unsystematic. Reger was also renowned for his hearty jokes and sending his students off to fetch beer.
In 1921, Schulhoff gave a piano recital of new music which the critic, Walter Niemann, rated as being one of the "most interesting and most necessary for many a year." Born in Prague in 1894, Schulhoff was a genial musician in many respects. He sought an "outlook on life, free of lies and convention." As pianist, he committed himself to the performance of the works of the avant-garde with a passion. Jazz, music for quarter-tone piano, music of extreme rhythmic vitality, equally that of great sensuality, music of Dadaistic influence, even the popular folk music of the time - Schulhoff's repertoire embraced the most diverse imaginable variety of styles.
Experimental music enthused him just as greatly as the music in the taverns of the Prague suburbs, where it "stinks of cheap schnapps and flat beer" (Schulhoff). In his Manifesto for Hostelry Music of 1924, Schulhoff recommended that conservatoires send their composition students to these public houses in order to widen their horizons.
Schulhoff's own output, comprising piano music, songs, chamber and orchestral music, ballet scores and other stage works, was eclectic and mostly very unconventional. Long before John Cages infamous " 4'33'' ", Schulhoff composed In futurum, that consists entirely of rests.
Sensitised by the events and consequences of the First World War, Schulhoff, in common with many of his contemporaries, developed a left-wing political orientation. At the outset of the 1930's he developed an intense interest in Marxist ideology, even setting the Communist Manifesto to music in the form of a cantata.
Schulhoff died in an internment camp in Wülzburg, Bavaria, in 1942.
Former Blüthner Piano Factory
View of the Royal Saxon Court Julius Blüthner piano factory, postcard around 1900 (Source: City History Museum)
With the aid of three employees, Julius Blüthner began manufacturing pianos in 1853 in a workshop on the corner of the present-day Käthe-Kollwitz-Straße and Friedrich-Ebert-Straße. The venture was to expand so rapidly that, by 1864, it was necessary to erect two additional buildings on the premises (Blüthner having, in the meantime, bought the site). Further development of the factory complex was to follow. The Municipal Administration Report of 1878 confirms the company's growth to the largest business in Leipzig, with 450 employees. A total of 14,000 instruments had been produced in these initial 25 years.
In the same year, Blüthner had a sizeable hall built on the factory grounds that was to serve both as a showroom for the various models in production and as a concert hall. The faded inscription Eingang zum Blüthner-Saal (Entrance to Blüthner Hall) can still be seen on Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 67 today.
In the 19th century Leipzig was one of the leading centres of piano manufacture. Around 1890, over twenty firms were based either in the city or in the surrounding area, for instance Feurich, Förster, Irmler, Schimmel and Zimmermann.
The Blüthner factory complex was almost totally destroyed during the Second World War. The villa of the firm's founder and the former headquarters in Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 71 were, however, to survive the bombing; with the proceeds from the sale of the villa, Blüthner's descendants were able to relaunch the company on new premises in the city.
Plan of the Forum Thomanum, Weis & Volkmann Architektur
The Forum Thomanum is a campus encompassing an area of around 6,000m² lying between Hillerstraße and Schreberstraße, Käthe-Kollwitz-Straße and Ferdinand-Lassalle-Straße. Pertinently, the Sebastian-Bach-Straße runs directly through the middle. The development of the campus will be concluded by the year 2012, the 800th anniversary of the Thomaskirche, Thomasschule and Thomanerchor (St. Thomas's Church, School and Choir), resulting in an amalgam of buildings and institutions, both existing and new.
The spiritual nucleus of the campus consists of the Thomanerchor with its boarding house, the Thomasalumnat (2), the Thomasschule (1) (the Gymnasium (high school), at which all members of the choir, as well as other Leipzig schoolchildren are enrolled) and the Lutherkirche (3), the Luther Church belonging to the parish of St. Thomas. These core establishments will be supplemented by several new institutions: a nursery (4), primary school (5), International Youth Music Academy (8) with accompanying rehearsal facilities (6) and a sport and leisure complex (7).
All these constituent parts of the Forum Thomanum share one common objective: the multifaceted, artistic-based education of children & adolescents. This has, potentially, one highly desirable additional benefit: the cultivation of qualified "new blood" for the Thomanerchor. The creation of a campus of this kind is without precedent in Germany. It is also intended that the campus should function as an intellectual, cultural forum for the general public, by means of the courses, concerts, performances, exhibitions, competitions and, of course, church services to which it will play host. "A platform for artistic education and cultivation and the willing participation of all": the philosophy of the Forum Thomanum, as formulated by the project's co-initiator, Thomaskantor (Cantor of St. Thomas's), Georg Christoph Biller.
University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" - Max Reger
Hochschule für Musik und Theater (College of Music and Theatre)
Main Building, Grassistraße 8, photo: W. Schneider
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy founded the Leipziger Konservatorium (Leipzig Conservatoire) in 1843 - the first specialist music college in Germany. The Konservatorium was originally housed in a building in the courtyard of the first Gewandhaus (see Site of Old Conservatoire, Notenspur Station 20), before taking occupation of Hugo Licht's neoclassical edifice in the Grassistraße in 1887. The inauguration took place on 5th December of that year.
One of the most influential figures to contribute to the College's burgeoning renown was Max Reger, who, in addition to his post as Universitätsmusikdirektor (University Music Director), held a professorship for composition from 1907 until his death in 1916. Other luminaries to play a prominent role in shaping the institution's history since its move to the Grassistraße include the Thomaskantoren (cantors of St. Thomas’s) Günther Ramin and Kurt Thomas, and three Gewandhauskapellmeister, Carl Reinecke, Arthur Nikisch and Hermann Abendroth.
Eminent alumni of more recent times include the former Gewandhauskapellmeister Kurt Masur, Thomaskantor Georg Christoph Biller, Gewandhausorganist Michael Schönheit and the pianist Karl-Heinz Kämmerling.
Today, the Hochschule offers an extensive range of practically-orientated studies, encompassing musical genres from classical to jazz, pop to musical theatre, as well as drama. The student population numbers approximately 850 young people at any one time, who present their talent to the public in more than 600 events annually.
The construction of the College's modern concert hall (Großer Saal) was completed shortly before the end of the millenium. The design for the 430 seat hall was awarded a prize by the Saxony division of the Federation of German Architects in 2004.
In 2002, the Hochschule expanded its capacity to cater for the demands of the modern-day music industry beyond measure with the acquisition of substantial, superbly appointed premises on Dittrichring, near the Schauspielhaus (Playhouse) and the Thomaskirche.
The traditional bond between the Hochschule für Musik and the Gewandhaus, stretching back to the college's inception, has been intensified with the recent introduction of a Masters qualification in the form of an orchestra academy in conjunction with the Gewandhausorchester.
Internet: Hochschule für Musik und Theater (HMT)
Site of second Gewandhaus, Mendelssohn-Waterside
The (second) Gewandhaus in the year of its inauguration
From the middle of the 19th century, the popularity of the Gewandhaus concerts, and with it, the demand for tickets, increased immensely. The capacity of the Gewandhaus (see Notenspur Station 21) was simply insufficient to cater for the demand, leading to the decision to erect a new, larger concert hall. The Neues Gewandhaus (New Gewandhaus) was inaugurated in December 1884, after two-and-a-half years' construction.
In contrast to the first Gewandhaus, the Neues Gewandhaus did not belong to the city, but to the Gewandhaus Concert Board itself. The main hall (Großer Saal) - highly praised for both its architecture and its acoustic - seated 1,500 concertgoers; the chamber music hall accommodated 500 people.
The Neues Gewandhaus played host to many of the world's most eminent musicians, such as Anton Bruckner, Igor Strawinsky und Yehudi Menuhin. The Gewandhauskapellmeister Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Bruno Walter made their exceptional contributions to the evolution of the Orchestra here during their respective tenures. The hall was even to witness the likes of Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss and Peter Tchaikovsky conducting performances of their own works.
In 1892, a memorial to Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was unveiled in front of the Neues Gewandhaus. In 1936, however, the Nazi regime claimed this monument to a "full-blooded Jew" would provoke "public offence" and removed it. Three years earlier, immediately after coming to power, the regime imposed an occupational ban on Bruno Walter, forbidding him to conduct: he left Leipzig, never to return.
After suffering a direct hit in the bombing of February 1944, the Gewandhaus's interior burnt out entirely. Despite a long-running campaign for its reconstruction, the remaining shell was finally demolished in 1968.
As early as 1947, a new memorial to Mendelssohn, cast by Walter Arnold, was erected in front of the ruin of the Gewandhaus. The monument now stands only a few metres away from its original location, on the Mendelssohn-Ufer, the bank of the renewed Pleiße mill stream.
A scale model of the second Gewandhaus is on permanent exhibition in the current Gewandhaus (see Notenspur Station 1).
Site of the Ez Chaim Synagogue (orthodox synagogue)
Photograph: Atelier Herman Walter, source: Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig
The Ez Chaim Synagogue (Ez Chaim: tree of life) was consecrated in 1922. Its capacity of 1,200 seats made it the largest orthodox synagogue in Saxony. The Synagogue's construction was enabled by a substantial donation made by Chaim Eitingon, a well-known tobacco merchant.
The Synagogue's history is closely associated with the work of Ephraim Carlebach. Carlebach officiated as orthodox rabbi from 1917, but was to have to wait until 1924 before being employed on equal terms alongside Leipzig's liberal rabbi. A large proportion of Leipzig's Jews were east-European immigrants.
The worship's appeal extended beyond the confines of Leipzig's Jewish community, largely due to Nahum Wilkomirsky, the renowned cantor of the Synagogue. Born in 1885, he grew up in Lithuania. Contemporaries hailed him unanimously as "one of the greatest cantors of his time" (S. J. Kreutner). Hans Reimann's tourist guide "Leipzig. What Baedeker doesn't tell you" (1929) read: "Go in. If you're lucky, it'll be a Jewish festival and the board on the right will announce: 'Today's worship is led by Wilkomirsky'. What Rosenblatt is in New York and Fleischmann in Cologne, so is Wilkomirsky to the Jews in Laibzj." In 1936, Wilkomirsky departed Leipzig for Paris, subsequently moving to London before, in 1945, finally building a new life in the USA. He passed away, aged 69, in Oakland, California.
In accordance with orthodox Judaism, the Ez-Chaim-Synagoge had no organ and a choir consisting only of boys and men. The choirmaster from 1928 until his exile was Fabian Gonski who, as well as assisting at the Ohel Jakob Synagogue in the Pfaffendorfer Straße, also directed the Jewish choral society Hasamir (Nightingale).
The Ez-Chaim-Synagoge was destroyed in November 1938.
Arthur Nikisch around 1915; photo: Gewandhaus zu Leipzig
Arthur Nikisch, born in Hungary in 1855, received his musical education in Vienna. In 1878, he came to Leipzig in order to take up the appointment of Chorus Master at the Opera House. The following year, he assumed the post of First Kapellmeister (Conductor). Nikisch remained in this position until 1889, during which time he nurtured the increasing popularity of Wagner's operas in Leipzig. For a two-year period, Nikisch shared the duties at the Opera with the young Gustav Mahler.
Following engagements in Boston and Budapest, Nikisch returned to Leipzig to take up the coveted post of Gewandhauskapellmeister (Musical Director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra). During his tenure, Nikisch advocated the works of Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner and, particularly, Anton Bruckner. He had already conducted the premiere of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony with the Gewandhausorchester in the Opera House in 1884, a performance that was to contribute in no small measure to Bruckner's increasing renown. Nikisch also reformed the programming of the Gewandhaus concerts, introducing purely symphonic programmes to the subscription series - a novelty at that time.
Athur Nikisch offered his services free of charge for concerts of the Labourers' Education Institute. On one occasion, on 31st December 1918, he conducted Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for the Institute's "Peace and Freedom Celebration"; this concert instigated the Gewandhaus tradition - upheld to this day - of a performance of Beethoven's "Choral Symphony" each year on New Year's Eve.
In addition to the post of Gewandhauskapellmeister, Nikisch had also assumed the musical direction of the Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester in 1895, as well as being a sought-after guest conductor the world over. He led the Gewandhausorchester on its first ever foreign tour, to Switzerland, in 1916.
In 1922, the year of his death, the square next to Nikisch's house in Thomasiusstraße 28 was renamed Nikischplatz. The building on the site of the house which was home to the Nikisch family from 1906 dates from the 1980s. On the 75th anniversary of Nikisch's death, a memorial hewn by Harald Alff was unveiled on the site.
Hugo Lederer's bust of Nikisch, which stood in front of the artists' entrance to the second Gewandhaus (see Notenbogen Station 11) from 1930, is now on display in the Neues Gewandhaus (third Gewandhaus) (see Notenspur Station 1).
The Nikisch family vault can be found in Leipzig South Cemetery.
Site of Gottschedstraße Synagogue (liberal synagogue)
Photo: Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann (Source: Stadtgeschichtl. Museum, before 1901)
The synagogue in the Gottschedstraße was designed by Otto Simonson, a student of the architect Gottfried Semper, and seated 2,000 worshippers.
At its consecration in 1855, music by Salomon Jadassohn was performed, who began his long tenure as choirmaster of the Tempel ten years later. In contrast to orthodox Judaism, this liberal synagogue's choir comprised both male and female voices and even included many non-Jews. The inclusion of an organ (built by Ladegast in 1868) in the musical contribution to worship was also in accordance with reformed Jewish tradition.
Three cantors of the Gottschedstraße Synagogue are of particular note: Rafael Frank, Max Jaffé and Samuel Lampel. After arriving in Leipzig in 1903, Frank was prodigiously active in the most diverse fields. Today he is remembered predominantly for his work on the development of Hebraic fonts ("Frank-Rühl-Hebrew"). Both Jaffé and Lampel entered the Synagogue's service in 1914. Alongside their cantor duties, both men taught at the Ephraim Carlebach School. In 1928, Lampel (appointed Senior Cantor of the Synagogue one year earlier) published a highly esteemed anthology entitled Kol Sch'muel (The Voice of Samuel), comprising 57 compositions and arrangements for the Sabbath and Festive Liturgy.
The Tempel was destroyed in the early hours of 10th November 1938. Following the deportation of both of the community's rabbis, Lampel assumed this office. From 1939, services were able to be held at the salvaged synagogue in the Keilstraße, until this too was closed in 1942. In the same year, both Lampel and Jaffé were deported and are believed to have been killed in an extermination camp shortly afterwards.
The Synagogue's choirmaster from the year 1924 was Barnet Licht, who played an influential role in the Jewish Cultural Alliance during the years of the Nazi regime, subsequently surviving internment in the Theresienstadt ghetto.
Mendelssohn Memorial nearby St. Thomas's Church
Mendelssohn Memorial by W. Stein, 1892 (recast 2008) (Photo: W. Schneider)
The Thomaskirche (St. Thomas’s Church) is the true gateway to Leipzig, the City of Music. In the year 1212, the establishment of the Augustinian Canons in Leipzig was simultaneously the birth of the Thomanerchor (St. Thomas's Boys Choir).
During the early centuries of the Choir's history, music in the Thomaskirche was restricted to the musical accompaniment of the liturgy in the Mass. The advent of the Reformation in Saxony in 1539, however, was to usher in a new era of sacred music. Music now came to be valued as an integral element of the annunciation in worship, requiring a considerably greater contribution from the Thomanerchor and demanding the composition of a substantial amount of new sacred music from the respective cantor. This was the dawn of the golden epoch of the Thomaskirche, its school and its choir.
Having assumed responsibility for the Thomasschule and Thomanerchor in 1543, the City Council succeeded in appointing a long succession of prominent composers to the office of Thomaskantor (Cantor of St. Thomas’s), the most eminent of all, of course, being Johann Sebastian Bach.
In October 2008, a recast of Werner Stein's Mendelssohn Memorial from 1892, which was destroyed by the Nazi regime, was erected next to the Thomaskirche. Mendelssohn was a great admirer of Bach and provided the decisive impetus for the 19th century renaissance of his music.
Max Klinger Staircase/Wagner Monument
The Richard-Wagner-Monument at the Goerdelerring, inaugurated on the 22nd of May 2013 (photo: Werner Schneider)
The new monument is located at the Leipziger Promenadenring, close to Richard Wagner’s former birth place at the Brühl. The composer’s 200th anniversary on the 22nd of May 2013 was marked with the inauguration of Stephan Balkenhol’s work of art, a Wagner statue crowning the historic pedestal by Leipzig’s sculptor Max Klinger.
The entire ensemble of the staircase, the pedestal and the monument is the evidence of the decades of efforts made in order to raise Richard Wagner’s monument in his hometown. As early as 1883 a committee was set up to achieve this purpose. In 1904 the committee managed to put Max Klinger in charge of the implementation of this project (Leipzig's famous sculptor gained recognition for his music-related works, especially for his famous Beethoven Sculpture (see Notenspur-Station 14). The location chosen for the monument was an outside staircase that connected Matthäikirchhof with the public park of the Promenadenring. At half height of the staircase Klinger planned to establish the 3 meters high pedestal that would carry the over 5 meters high Wagner statue. The foundation stone ceremony took place on the 22nd of May 1913, marking Richard Wagner’s 100th anniversary. World War I as well as financial difficulties impeded the completion of the monument. By the time of Klinger’s death in 1920 only the marble pedestal with relief figures from Wagner’s opera tetralogy “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (The Ring of the Nibelung”) had been completed. It stood in the Klingerhain (Klinger Grove) at the Elster embankment between 1924 and 2009. The reconstructed staircase and the pedestal have been reunited in the public park at the Goerdelerring since 2010. The composer’s statue by Stephan Balkenhol (b.1957) established in the year 2013 became the last episode in the over a century-long history of Wagner’s Monument in Leipzig.