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ortus studien 33 om341
Antje Becker
Von der Alten Musik zu den alten Instrumenten: Die Schnitger-Pioniere Paul Rubardt, Gustav Fock und Hans Henny Jahnn. Orgelhistorische Forschung um 1920/30


Softcover, VI + 225 pages
incl. VAT plus shipping costs 35,00 EUR

The organ builder Arp Schnitger (1648-1719) is well known to the music-loving public. Numerous instruments made or significantly influenced by his workshop have survived the centuries in churches across the north-western European continent. Lavishly restored, their (artistic) craftsmanship and musical qualities attract guests from all over the world to the organ benches year after year; concerts, recordings and competitions by and with internationally renowned organists convey their sound to a geographically diverse audience. [...] A good century ago, the artist Hans Henny Jahnn (1894-1959) set the course for the special presence of the organs and their builder in contemporary cultural life: He and his friend Gottlieb Harms (1893-1931) came across the instrument built by Schnitger for the church in 1689/93 in Hamburg's Jacobi Church. Inspired by the sounds of the time-honored, albeit at the time "desolately worn out" work, the two then tirelessly campaigned for a musical revival of the organ, which was to focus on compositions from its era. This went hand in hand with Jahnn's efforts to restore the organ to its original state, which must have seemed like the purest adventure at a time when knowledge of the nature of such old instruments was virtually non-existent. Only the Lübeck organ builder Karl Kemper was prepared to take the risk of such a restoration under Jahnn's direction - and subsequently make the Jacobi-Schnitger organ the central object of study for organological questions and thus the linchpin of the organ movement.
However, Jahnn and Harms were neither the first nor the only ones to make an effort to find out more about the organ builder. Others had set out to research the work of Arp Schnitger in the form of extensive studies on much quieter scientific and theoretical work: In Leipzig, the musicologist Paul Rubardt (1892-1971) published a preliminary catalog of works based on source studies in the Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau in 1927, which already hints at this underlying, more far-reaching ambitions. Four years later, Gustav Fock (1893-1974) was awarded a doctorate at the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel with a thesis on Arp Schnitger and his school. Ein Beitrag zur Orgelbaukunst des niederdeutschen Kulturgebietes um 1700. Both actors must have started their work beforehand.
So who were these Schnitger pioneers who began researching the organ builder at around the same time? Hans Henny Jahnn is well known to experts: His work as a writer and organ specialist, especially his activities around Hamburg St. Jacobi, have been well covered in the literature of Thomas Freeman, Elsbeth Wolffheim, Jan Bürger, Jochen Hengst and Heinrich Lewinski as well as Uwe Schweikert and Thomas Lipski. There is hardly any detailed information available on Paul Rubardt and Gustav Fock [...] This book aims to shed light on the careers and work of the protagonists. The aim is to reflect on the beginnings of Schnitger research and locate it in the history of ideas and science. The estates of Fock and Rubardt, which are preserved in the Hamburg State and University Library, the Musical Instrument Museum at the University of Leipzig and the Saxon State and University Library in Dresden, play an important role in this. They not only contain traces of decisive biographical aspects, but also extensive materials that make the "Arp Schnitger Project" comprehensible along the timeline and in detail. By piecing together relevant pieces of information, a portrait emerges of the foundations, motivations and qualities of organ historical research around 1920/30 - a time in which instrumentology constituted itself as a sub-discipline of university musicology and which in turn had an impact on the way music of past centuries was dealt with, in particular its interpretation.

From the foreword by Antje Becker

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