Heuss, Alfred (Valentin)
- Anna Amalie Abert
(b Chur, Switzerland, Jan 27, 1877; d Leipzig, July 9, 1934). German musicologist and critic. From 1896 to 1898 he was a student at the Stuttgart Conservatory; subsequently he attended the Munich Akademie der Tonkunst and studied at Munich University. From 1899 to 1902 he was a pupil of Kretzschmar at the University of Leipzig, and took the doctorate in 1903 with a dissertation on the instrumental music of Monteverdi’s Orfeo and the Venetian opera sinfonia. From that time on he worked principally as a music critic, for the Signale für die musikalische Welt (1902–5), the Leipziger Volkszeitung (1905–12) and the Leipziger Zeitung (1912–18). In addition he was editor of the Zeitschrift der Internationalen Musikgesellschaft (1904–14) and the Zeitschrift für Musik (1921–9).
Heuss’s lively intellect was turned both to questions of general criticism, whether of his own time or of earlier periods, and to more specific scholarly problems, which he pursued with characteristic vigour and enthusiasm. The starting-point for all his observations was the concept of music as something to be listened to, not merely seen on paper. This is understandable, since he was himself a composer. His general approach was a brilliant application of the interpretative analytical methods of his teacher Kretzschmar, and this often led him to arrive at highly idiosyncratic results on the basis of the most minute detail (e.g. the minor 2nd in Mozart’s G minor Symphony), so that the chief fascination of his conclusions consists not infrequently in the enthuthiasm with which they are propounded. As a composer he devoted himself principally to song, a genre with which he also felt close sympathy as a scholar. He played a prominent part in German musical life of the 1920s, and strongly opposed the modern school of the time. As president of the Verband deutscher Musikkritiker he concerned himself, in a wide variety of publications, with contemporary musical matters of every sort....