Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Weber, Ludwig (i)

(b Nuremberg, 13 Oct 1891; d Essen-Werden, 30 June 1947). German composer and teacher. To a large extent self-taught, he was a primary school teacher in Nuremberg from 1912. With the help of Wilhelm Widmann and Anton Hardörfer, he engaged in the study of old music, but eventually became involved in the German youth music movement, which had a lasting influence on his career. He was appointed to a post in Münster in 1925, and then joined the staff of the Essen Folkwangschule in 1927. His best-known composition is Christgeburt, a chamber piece based on old folksongs and incorporating acting, singing and dancing; it has been much performed by the Folkwangschule. In 1949 a Ludwig Weber Society was formed to publish the large quantity of manuscripts he left.


(selective list)

Str Qt, 1913; Sym., b, 1915–16; Streichermusik, 1920; Str Qt, 1921; Wind Qnt, 1923; Hymnen, 1924–7; Christgeburt, chbr play, 1925; Musik, org, brass, 1928; Tonsätze, pf, 1929; 10 Chorgemeinschaften, 1931–46

Principal publisher: Kallmeyer/Möseler


MGG1 (A. Hardörfer)

A. Hardörfer and L. von Rudolph, eds.: Ludwig-Weber-Jb 1961 (Wolfenbüttel and Zürich, 1961)

A. Hardörfer: ‘Weber, Ludwig’, Rheinische Musiker, iv, ed. K.G. Fellerer (Cologne, 1966)

G. Berkemeier: Der Komponist Ludwig Weber (1891–1947): Leben und Werk (diss., U. of Münster, 1981)


Weber, Ludwig (ii)

(b Vienna, 29 July 1899; d Vienna, 9 Dec 1974). Austrian bass. He abandoned projected careers as teacher and artist when he discovered his vocal promise and began to study with Alfred Boruttau in 1919. Having gained experience at the Vienna Volksoper he joined some of the smaller German companies in the mid- and late 1920s. After a successful appearance at the Munich Wagner Festival of 1931 he joined the Bavarian Staatsoper in 1933 and soon began to receive invitations to sing abroad. He was first heard in London in 1936 (Pogner, Gurnemanz, Hunding and Hagen), and in the following years he added Daland, King Mark, Osmin and Rocco to his Covent Garden roles. He joined the Vienna Staatsoper in 1945 and during its 1947 London season he sang the Commendatore and Rocco. In the following seasons he returned to give further performances of his Wagnerian roles, and to sing Boris Godunov (1950). From 1951 he was a regular singer at the Bayreuth Festival, and he also appeared at Buenos Aires. He had a magnificently rich and solid bass voice and could darken his tones to accommodate the malevolence of Hagen as successfully as he conveyed the suffering and dignity of Mark or Gurnemanz. In Mozart he commanded the line and agility to be a splendid Sarastro, Osmin and Commendatore, and he also often appeared on the concert platform. He lacked perhaps the boisterous high spirits of the complete Baron Ochs, though he was never less than impressive in this part (and some have compared him with Mayr); his recording of the role, and of his Gurnemanz in the 1951 Bayreuth recording, are still much admired.


D. Brass: ‘Ludwig Weber’, Opera, ii (1950–51), 352–5


Weber, Max

(b Erfurt, 21 April 1864; d Munich, 14 June 1920). German social economist and sociologist. He held professorial appointments in economics and sociology at the universities of Berlin (1893), Freiburg (1894), Heidelberg (1897–1903) and Munich (1920). He is regarded as the founder of comprehensive sociology which he developed from the social theories of Hegel, Comte and Marx and the historical philosophies of Dilthey, Windelband and Simmel. He avoided monocausal interpretations and stressed the concrete relationships between a spiritual climate and the corresponding material (economic and political) historical data. The range of his writings reflects his sharp distinction between the sociologist’s freedom of evaluation and socially relevant comment (which he considered a non-scientific process and not a task of the sociologist), for the conservative outlook of his political writings frequently conflicts with the perspective of his scientific works. In his only substantial musico-sociological work, ‘Die rationalen und soziologischen Grundlagen der Musik’ (Eng. trans., The Rational and Social Foundations of Music, Carbondale, IL., 1958, 2/1969), originally an appendix to Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Tübingen, 1921–2, 5/1972), Weber applied the idea that the development of capitalism entails a corresponding increase in the rationalization of social structures to the development of musical materials and instruments. He ascribed the development of the diatonic tonal system to a historical process of increasing rationalization, represented in Europe chiefly by the middle classes. The materials of music are progressively purged of all the ingredients appropriate to it under feudal conditions: musical materials and idioms are increasingly restricted to functional elements. Melismata and microtonic intervals, found in ancient and non-European music, are swept away by diatonic principles which become the basis of a functional harmony.

Weber deduced a similar process of rationalization in musical instruments, dependent both on concrete social conditions and requirements and on the concurrent development of musical materials. For example in his study of the evolution of keyboard instruments he ascribed to the increasingly public nature of musical performance the progression from clavichord to fortepiano to modern piano.

Although Weber’s sociology of music contains elements of materialist philosophy, it quickly drew criticism from Marxist writers. Anatoly Lunacharsky criticized his neo-Kantian conception of rationalism as one-sided, considering musical materials in isolation, and ignoring the physiological and emotional elements of music, which are often inconsistent with the theory of progressive rationalization of musical materials which Weber had evolved from the 19th-century philosophy of musical progress. Although he examined the social determination of specific musical phenomena, he did not study the range of historical epochs in sufficient depth to re-establish whether a rationalizing trend can be applied to them.

Weber’s theory of the increasing rationalization of musical materials greatly influenced Adorno’s musico-sociology, though in Philosophie der neuen Musik, Adorno went far beyond Weber in investigating the social problems of this rationalization. Likewise, Weber’s work influenced positivist musico-sociology (Silbermann, Blaukopf, etc.) only indirectly. His influence was greater on cultural sociology as a whole than on its musical specialization, and the fact that his musicological work came into being as an appendix to Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft suggests that he himself thought of musico-sociology as only a part of a more comprehensive social history. Although the postwar serialist composers tried to rationalize the relationships between musical idiom and the structuring of material to an extreme degree, there is no evidence that they were at all directly influenced by Weber’s theory.


W.E. Mühlmann: Max Weber und die rationale Soziologie (Tübingen, 1966)

H.D. Sommer: ‘Max Webers musiksoziologische Studie’, Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, xxxix (1982), 79–99

F. Hurard: Musik, rationalité, histoire: Max Weber et Théodor Adorno (Strasbourg, 1987)

A. Rodréguez Morató: ‘La trascendencia teórica de la sociología de la música: el caso de Max Weber’, Papers: revista de sociología, xxix (1988), 9–61

K. Blaukopf, M. Ceccato and E. Netek: ‘La specificita della musica occidentale nella sociologia di Max Weber’, Annali di sociologia, v/1 (1989), 113–31

A. Serravezza: ‘Max Weber: la storia della musica come processo di razionalizzazione’, Musica e storia, i (1993), 175–209

C. Braun: ‘Grezen der Ration, Grenzen der Soziologie: Amnerkungen zum Musiksoziologen Max Weber’, AMw, li (1994), 1–25

P.K. Etzkorn: ‘Aspekte der Rezeption von Max Webers Musiksoziologie in den Vereinigten Staaten’, Wege zu einer Wiener Schule der Musiksoziologie: Konvergenz der Disziplinen und empiristische Tradition, ed. I. Bontinck (Vienna, 1996), 149–58

C. Braun: ‘Max Weber und die Suche nach dem musiksoziologischen Gründervater’, ibid., 119–47


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