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Author Kestenberg, Leo, 1882-1962, author.

Title Leo Kestenberg and Franz W. Beidler : complete correspondence 1933-1956 / translated and edited by Philip A. Maxwell.

Published Victoria, BC, Canada : Online Press, 2013.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Southbank  780.7092 KEST/MAXW    AVAILABLE
Physical description 329 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes index.
Summary Franz Beidler was not only the grandson of Richard Wagner but also the executive secretary of Leo Kestenberg. Leo Kestenberg was the most powerful and most progressive arts administrator in Weimar Germany, from the early 1920s until the end of 1931. He was so important in the democratic Germany of the 1920s that he was commonly known as Pope Leo Kestenberg fashioned a reform of musical pedagogy in Germany that improved this area immensely. So successful were the changes introduced that the so-called "Kestenberg Reform" still continues to have great influence today, all over the world. Kestenberg also began a great progressive movement in opera at the Kroll Opera in Berlin. He engaged great conductors such as Otto Klemperer and Erich Kleiber and excellent singers and musicians. The stage design and direction was often shockingly modern and very relevant to the times. Kestenberg improved university education during the 1920s by appointing great composers like Schoenberg, Hindemith, Schreker, and Pfitzner to teaching posts. Working in Kestenberg's offices, Franz W. Beidler and his wife Ellen produced a Year Book of Music in 1931 which catalogued every aspect of musical life in Germany. It would have continued the next year if not for the rise to power of Hitler and his Nazis in 1933, which put an end to the Yearbook and its Archive. Hitler's rise also caused both Kestenberg and Beidler to flee Germany. Kestenberg was both Jewish and a socialist; Beidler was also a socialist and, although not Jewish, married to a Jewish woman. Kestenberg found a safe haven in Prague where he founded an international organization for the improvement of musical pedagogy around the world. Over the next years, he organized three large conferences of international musicologists and teachers - in Prague, Paris, and Switzerland. These were great successes and marked the spade work which led to the founding in 1953 of the ISME (International Society for Music Education). The letters exchanged between Kestenberg and Beidler, the latter of whom moved to Zurich, give a detailed account of the genealogy of the ISME, how the ISME was conceived and what its birth pains were like. The letters also show how not only Kestenberg and Beidler dealt with having to make new lives under great pressure but also how many musicologists and musicians of their acquaintance fought to survive the Nazis, some with success, others not. The harrowing times brought out the best in both men. As soon as Kestenberg began to suspect that the days of Czechoslovakia were numbered, he began to look for a way of saving himself, his family, and his work. Coincidentally, he was offered a job as managing director of the young Palestine Orchestra, an offer by the violinist Huberman, which Kestenberg accepted. In Palestine, Kestenberg experienced a rebirth of his connection to his father who had been a cantor in two of Czechoslovakia's great synagogues, in Prague and in Reichenberg. Kestenberg who had been an avid admirer of German literature, music and art, rediscovered the greatness of Yiddish and Hebrew literature, cultural treasures that his father had so valued, in addition to his admiration of German culture. After the war, Beidler was invited by the Mayor of Bayreuth to organize the rebirth of the Bayreuth Festival, the rest of the Wagner family having been compromised by their connection to Hitler. Beidler developed a plan for a far-ranging, democratic and progressive foundation to run the Festival. He was in favor of performing works by Wagner but also by others. He also proposed doing away with the dynastic succession. He would have leading, distinguished international intellectuals and theatre people on the advisory council. Sadly, the idea was jettisoned by the opposition of "old Wagnerians" (code: Nazis) and conservatives. Beidler had been clairvoyant but in vain. Two great men and their impressive letters.
Local note Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library copy donated by Dagny Beidler, 2013.
Other author Beidler, Franz W. (Franz Wilhelm), 1901-1981, author.
Maxwell, Philip A. Translator.
Subject Kestenberg, Leo, 1882-1962 -- Correspondence.
Beidler, Franz W. (Franz Wilhelm), 1901-1981 -- Correspondence.
Wagner family.
International Society for Music Education.
Music -- Political aspects.
Music -- Social aspects.
Music -- Instruction and study -- History -- 20th century.
Arts administrators -- Germany -- Correspondence.
Music teachers -- Germany -- Biography.
Variant Title Leo Kestenberg, Franz W. Beidler : complete correspondence 1933-1956
Local donor Beidler, Dagny. Donor.
ISBN 9780992061814