Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Werner, Eric

(b Vienna, 1 Aug 1901; d New York, 28 July 1988). American musicologist of Austrian birth. He attended the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (graduated 1924) and the universities of Berlin, Graz, Göttingen, Prague and Vienna, simultaneously studying composition (with Busoni, Reitsch and Schreker), musicology (with Adler, Fischer, Lach, Ludwig, Sachs, Schünemann and Wolf) and Judaic studies. He took the doctorate in musicology (Strasbourg, 1928), with Théodore Gérold. Werner taught at Saarbrücken Conservatory (1926–33) and the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau (1935–8).

In 1938 he fled the Nazi regime, emigrating to the USA where in 1939 he joined the faculty at Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati) as A.Z. Idelsohn’s successor. There he drew upon the magnificent Eduard Birnbaum collection for his early research on Jewish music. At Cincinnati he conceived the idea for a school of sacred music in New York to be linked with the Jewish Institute of Religion (founded in 1922), which was ultimately realized in 1950. He taught there until his retirement in 1967 as professor emeritus of liturgical music. He served as chairman (1967–72) of the new Department of Music at Tel-Aviv University.

Werner’s pioneering research into Jewish music, culminating in The Sacred Bridge, encompassed such diverse subjects as comparative Jewish and Christian chant, synagogue liturgy and chant, the Dead Sea Scrolls, medieval Jewish music and the traditional music of Ashkenazi Jewry; many of his views however have attracted scholarly debate. He also produced a comprehensive biography of Mendelssohn and prepared editions of music by Salamone Rossi (New York, 1956) and Salomon Sulzer (DTÖ, cxxxiv, 1983). His knowledge of mathematics, philosophy and musical aesthetics are apparent in his writings. He felt that new synagogue music should reflect current musical trends but at the same time preserve its unity with the spirit of tradition; this is reflected in the liturgical musical settings among his compositions.


De quibusdam relationibus inter accentus Masoretarum et neumas liquescentes (diss., U. of Strasbourg, 1928)

‘Die hebräischen Intonationem in B. Marcellos Estro poetico-armonico’, Monatschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums, lxxxi (1937), 393–416

Geschichte der jüdischen Volksmusik (Breslau, 1938)

‘Preliminary Notes for a Comparative Study of Catholic and Jewish Musical Punctuation’, Hebrew Union College Annual, xv (1940), 335–66

with I. Sonne: ‘The Theory and Philosophy of Music in Judaeo-Arabic Literature’, Hebrew Union College Annual, xvi (1941), 251–319; xvii (1942–3), 511–72

‘The Psalmodic Formula Neannoe and its Origin’, MQ, xxviii (1942), 93–9

‘Notes on the Attitude of the Early Church Fathers towards Hebrew Psalmody’, Review of Religion, vii/4 (1943), 339–52

‘The Eduard Birnbaum Collection of Jewish Music’, Hebrew Union College Annual, xviii (1944), 397–428

‘Prolegomena to a Bibliography of Jewish Music’, Historia judaica, vi/2 (New York, 1944), 175–88

‘The Doxology in Synagogue and Church: a Liturgico-Musical Study’, Hebrew Union College Annual, xix (1945–6), 275–351

‘Hebrew Music Theory of the Middle Ages’, PAMS 1946, 125–36

‘The Conflict between Hellenism and Judaism in the Music of the Early Christian Church’, Hebrew Union College Annual, xx (1947), 407–70

‘The Origin of the Eight Modes of Music (Octoechos)’, Hebrew Union College Annual, xxi (1948), 211–55; see also AcM, xx (1948), 1–9

‘The Jewish Contribution to Music’, The Jews: their History, Culture and Religion, iii, ed. L. Finkelstein (Philadelphia, 1949), 950–83

‘Hebrew and Oriental Christian Metrical Hymns: a Comparison’, Hebrew Union College Annual, xxiii (1950–51), 397–432

‘New Studies in the History of the Early Octoechos’, IMSCR V: Utrecht 1952, 428–37

Reviews of Selected Recordings of Jewish Music (New York, 1953)

‘The Origin of Psalmody’, Hebrew Union College Annual, xxv (1954), 327–54

‘The Mathematical Foundation of Philippe de Vitri’s Ars Nova’, JAMS, ix (1956), 128–32

‘Instrumental Music outside the Pale of Classicism and Romanticism’, Instrumental Music: Cambridge, MA, 1957, 57–69

In the Choir Loft: a Manual for Organists and Choir Directors in American Synagogues (New York, 1957)

‘Leading or Symbolic Formulas in The Magic Flute: a Hermeneutic Examination’, MR, xviii (1957), 286–93

‘Musical Aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls’, MQ, xliii (1957), 21–37

‘The Music of Post-Biblical Judaism’, NOHM, i (1957), 313–35

‘Eine neuentdeckte mozarabische Handschrift mit Neumen’, Miscelánea en homenaje a Monseñor Higinio Anglés (Barcelona, 1958–61), ii, 977–91

The Sacred Bridge: the Interdependence of Liturgy and Music in Synagogue and Church during the First Millennium (London and New York, 1959–84) [2 vols.]

‘“If I Speak in the Tongues of Men …”: St. Paul’s Attitude to Music’, JAMS, xiii (1960), 18–23

‘An Early Compendium of Ashkenazic Synagogue Music’, Studies in Bibliography and Booklore, v (1961), 110–21

‘The Family Letters of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’, Bulletin of the New York Public Library, lxv/1 (1961), 5–20

Hebrew Music (Cologne, 1961)

‘Mendelssohns Kirchenmusik und ihre Stellung im 19. Jahrhundert’, GfMKB: Kassel 1962, 207–10

‘Die Bedeutung der Totenmeerrollen für die Musikgeschichte’, SMH, iv (1963), 21–35

Mendelssohn: a New Image of the Composer and his Age (New York, 1963; Ger. orig., enlarged, Freiburg, 1980 as Mendelssohn: Leben und Werk in neuer Sicht)

‘Greek Ideas on Music in Judeo-Arabic Literature’, The Commonwealth of Music, in Honor of Curt Sachs, ed. G. Reese and R. Brandel (New York, 1965), 71–96

‘The Scope and Aims of Jewish Music Research (Isolation or Integration)’, World Congress of Jewish Studies IV: Jerusalem 1965, ii, 157–61

‘The Tunes of the Haggadah’, Studies in Bibliography and Booklore, vii (1965), 57–83

‘The Genesis of the Liturgical Sanctus’, Essays Presented to Egon Wellesz, ed. J. Westrup (Oxford, 1966), 19–32

‘The Last Pythagorean Musician: Johannes Kepler’, Aspects of Medieval and Renaissance Music: a Birthday Offering to Gustave Reese, ed. J. LaRue and others (New York, 1966/R), 867–82

‘Problem of Congregational Singing and Art Singing in the Liturgy’, Sacred Music and Liturgy Reform after Vatican II: Chicago and Milwaukee 1966, 135–47

‘Zur Textgeschichte der Improperia’, Festschrift Bruno Stäblein, ed. M. Ruhnke (Kassel, 1967), 274–86

‘Grundsätzliche Betrachtungen über Symmetrie in der Musik des Westens’, SMH, xi (1969), 487–515

‘Nature and Function of the Sequences in Bruckner’s Symphonies’, Essays in Musicology in Honor of Dragan Plamenac, ed. G. Reese and R.J. Snow (Pittsburgh, 1969/R), 365–83

‘Musical Tradition and its Transmitters between Synagogue and Church’, Yuval, ii (1971), 163–80

‘Mendelssohn–Wagner: eine alte Kontroverse in neuer Sicht’, Musicae scientiae collectanea: Festschrift Karl Gustav Fellerer, ed. H. Hüschen (Cologne, 1973), 640–58

‘Die tektonische Funktion der Variante in Bruckners Symphonik’, Bruckner-Studien, ed. O. Wessely (Vienna, 1975), 285–301

‘Mendelssohniana: dem Andenken Wilhelm Fischers’, Mf, xxviii (1975), 19–33; see also ‘Kleine Beiträge: Mendelssohniana ii: den Manen Egon Wellesz’ des Freundes und Mentors’, Mf, xxx (1977), 492–501

Trop and Tropus: Etymology and History’, Hebrew Union College Annual, xlvi (1975), 289–96

‘Two Types of Ritual and their Music’, Salo Wittmayer Baron Jubilee Volume on the Occasion of his Eightieth Birthday, ii, ed. S. Lieberman (Jerusalem and New York, 1975), 975–1008

ed.: Contributions to a Historical Study of Jewish Music (New York, 1976)

A Voice Still Heard: the Sacred Songs of the Ashkenazic Jews (Philadelphia, 1976)

‘Identity and Character of Jewish Music’, World Congress on Jewish Music: Jerusalem 1978, 1–14

‘Genealogies of Two Wandering Hebrew Melodies’, Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, xlvi–xlvii (1979–80), 573–92; repr. in Journal of Synagogue Music, xi/2 (1981–2), 12–31

‘Pseudo-Plutarch’s View on the Theory of Rhythm’, Orbis musicae, vii (1979–80), 27–36

‘Das Te Deum und seine Hintergründe’, JbLH, xxv (1981), 69–82

ed.: Three Ages of Musical Thought: Essays on Ethics and Aesthetics (New York, 1981)

‘Dualismus und Einheit in Mozarts Zauberflöte’, Festschrift Othmar Wessely, ed. W. Angerer and others (Tutzing, 1982), 555–85

‘Felix Mendelssohn–Gustav Mahler: Two Borderline Cases of German-Jewish Assimilation’, Yuval, iv (1982), 240–64

‘Hebrew Elements of the Te Deum’, Eretz-Israel, xvi (1982), 227–34

‘The Wagners’ Jewish Friends’, Wagner in Retrospect: Chicago 1983, 165–71

‘Juden um Richard und Cosima Wagner: eine Konfrontation nach einem Jahrhundert’, AÖAW, cxxi (1984), 131–69; repr. as Mitteilungen der Kommission für Musikforschung der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, no. 36 (1984)

‘Numerical Representation of Variants of Orally Transmitted Tunes’, Yuval, v (1986), 405–19

‘Gustav Mahlers Symphoniethemen: eine typologische Untersuchung der ersten vier Symphonien’, Musicologia austriaca, vii (1987), 69–127

‘Die Musik im alten Israel’, Die Musik des Altertums, i, ed. A. Riethmüller and F. Zaminer (Laaber, 1988), 76–112


A. Sendrey: Bibliography of Jewish Music (New York, 1951)

J. Cohen: Bibliography of the Publications of Eric Werner (Tel-Aviv, 1968)

W.A. Davidson, ed.: From Generation to Generation: Studies on Jewish Musical Tradition (New York, 1968) [incl. reprs. of 10 essays]

I.J. Katz: ‘Eric Werner (1901–1988): Bibliography of his Collected Writings’, Musica judaica, x (1987–8), 1–36

I.J. Katz: ‘In Memoriam: Eric Werner (1901–1988)’, EthM, xxxiii (1989), 113–19


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