(b Prague, May 27, 1884; d Tel-Aviv, Dec 20, 1968). German-Israeli writer, translator, composer and librettist of Czech birth. He began piano studies at the age of six, and was then a pupil of Adolf Schreiber; later, after Schreiber’s suicide, Brod had some of his songs published and wrote his biography. He studied law and worked in Prague for a time as a state employee. He was a fine pianist and a composer (mostly of songs); his first published volume of verse (1907) earned the approval of Rilke, his first novel (1909) brought him notoriety. Thoughts on music are woven into his novels and poetry: his final book (1962) was a novelistic defence of Karel Sabina, librettist of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, who was discovered to be a police informer. Brod was a friend of other German-Jewish writers in Prague such as Kafka and Werfel, and did much to promote their careers, becoming Kafka’s biographer and literary executor. His own talents and wide sympathies enabled him to become a prominent music and theatre critic (for the ...
Yehuda Walter Cohen and John Tyrrell
revised by Israel J. Katz
(b Filzburg, nr Libau [now Liepāja, Latvia], June 11, 1882; d Johannesburg, Aug 15, 1938). Jewish cantor and musicologist of Russian birth. Raised in a traditional German Jewish environment, he trained as a cantor in Libau; he also studied briefly at Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) where he met Eduard Birnbaum. Later he studied at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin and at the conservatory and university in Leipzig; his claim to have studied at both institutions with Kretzschmar (history), Zöllner (composition) and Jadassohn (harmony) remains unsubstantiated. He served as cantor at the Adat Jeshurun congregation, Leipzig (1902). From 1903 to 1905 he was a cantor at Regensburg and then after a year in Johannesburg he was persuaded by the president of the Zionist movement, David Wolffsohn, to emigrate to Jerusalem, where he lived from 1906 to 1921. These were decisive years for Idelsohn's research into the diverse musical traditions of the Sephardi and ‘Oriental’ Jewish communities and Muslim and Christian sects. Although his plans in ...
(b Strasbourg, Sept 21, 1909; d Zürich, Feb 27, 1978). Swiss musicologist of Alsatian origin. He studied economics in Munich and Berlin – receiving the diploma in engineering in 1933. He lived in Israel from 1934 to 1952, and after working for many years as an agricultural and industrial economist he studied the harpsichord with Frank Pelleg and music theory with Paul Ben-Haim (1951–2). He completed his training with Landowska, Curt Sachs, Eduard Müller and Hindemith, under whom he received the doctorate at Zürich University in 1957 with a dissertation on the development of music theory in England. From 1956 he lived in Switzerland as an interpreter and teacher, and in 1961 he was appointed lecturer at the Zürich University musicology department. In 1970–71 he was visiting professor at the University of Iowa and in 1971–2 at Indiana University.
Jacobi’s research centred on the theory and practice of music in the 17th and 18th centuries. As well as making a complete edition of Rameau’s theoretical works, a subject to which he devoted numerous writings, he was concerned with Baroque performing practice, particularly of harpsichord music, and the continuo. Jacobi wrote extensively on Albert Schweitzer, a family friend, and edited his writings on music. In years of collecting he built up an important music library, which included original sources of music theory from the Middle Ages to the present, French Baroque harpsichord music and more than 300 Schweitzer autographs. For his work on Rameau the French government appointed him a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in ...
[Jakob Liebmann Meyer ]
(b Vogelsdorf, nr Berlin, Germany, Sept 5, 1791; d Paris, France, May 2, 1864). German composer. The most frequently performed opera composer during the 19th century, linking Mozart and Wagner.
Meyerbeer was descended from distinguished families in the Jewish society of Berlin. His father, Jakob (Juda) Herz Beer (1769–1825), was an industrialist and contractor to the Prussian army, and his mother, Amalia (1767–1854), was the daughter of the banker Liebmann Meyer Wulff, whose family can be traced back to Jost Liebmann, a Jew at the court of the Great Elector. Amalia Beer received the finest minds of Prussia in her salon, including the future King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the poet A.W. Iffland, and Alexander von Humboldt, with whom Meyerbeer maintained a close lifelong friendship. At an early age he took piano lessons from Franz Lauska, and by the time he was 11 he was a successful prodigy, although he encountered hostile anti-Semitism in his childhood....
(b Vienna, Sept 13, 1874; d Los Angeles, July 13, 1951). Austro-Hungarian composer.
His father Samuel (1838–89) was born in Szécsény, his mother (née Nachod, 1848–1921) in Prague. They came to Vienna from Pressburg (Bratislava). Schoenberg accordingly inherited Hungarian nationality, which was converted to Czech on the formation of the state of Czechoslovakia in 1918. He became an American citizen in 1941. The family was Jewish, and the three children, Arnold, Ottilie and Heinrich, were brought up in the orthodox faith. Neither parent was particularly musical; Schoenberg remembered his uncle Fritz Nachod, who wrote poetry and taught him French, as the main cultural influence of his childhood. But his sister and brother showed musical talent, and the latter, like their cousin Hans Nachod, became a professional singer. Schoenberg’s musical education began when he was eight with violin lessons, and he very soon began composing by the light of nature, imitating the violin duets by such composers as Pleyel and Viotti that he was given to learn, and arranging anything that came his way – operatic melodies or military band music – for the same combination. Somewhat later, having met a schoolfellow who played the viola, he was able to spread his wings to the point of writing trios for two violins and viola....
(b Kalischt, nr Iglau [now Kaliště, Jihlava], Bohemia, July 7, 1860; d Vienna, May 18, 1911). Austrian composer and conductor. He wrote large-scale symphonic works and songs (many with orchestra) and established a career as a powerful and innovatory conductor; while director of the Vienna Hofoper between 1897 and 1907 he provided a model of post-Wagnerian idealism for the German musical theatre. His compositions were initially regarded by some as eccentric, by others as novel expressions of the ‘New German’ modernism widely associated with Richard Strauss. Only during his last decade did they begin to enjoy the critical support and popular success that helped to ensure the posthumous survival of his reputation as a composer beyond the years of National Socialism in Germany and Austria. Mahler suffered the fate of innumerable banned composers of Jewish origin at a time when his music was still imperfectly known and understood outside the German-speaking countries of Europe. The centenary of his birth in ...