Musikblätter des Anbruch

Musikblätter des Anbruch, Wien, UE, 1926

From 1919 to 1934, the Viennese publishing house Universal-Edition (UE) released the earliest journal specifically devoted to modern music: the Musikblätter des Anbruch, as of 1929 simply called Anbruch. The (Musikblätter des) Anbruch was connected to the eponymous expressionist group, whose periodical Der Anbruch. Flugblätter aus der Zeit (1917–1922) represented the mouthpiece of literary expressionism. Otto Schneider, later artistic director of the Neue Musikgesellschaft “Der Anbruch” in Berlin, was (co-)founder and chief editor of both the Flugblätter and the Musikblätter until 1922, being also responsible for Der Anbruch. Ein Jahrbuch neuer Jugend (1920).

Focusing on modern music and culture, the journal’s establishment also correlated with the establishment of Melos in Berlin (1920–1934) and Der Auftakt in Prague (1920–1938). Furthermore, it came along with the foundation of Arnold Schönberg’s Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen (1918), the Salzburger Festspiele (1920), and the Internationale Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (IGNM, 1922), whose leading figures regularly contributed to the (Musikblätter des) Anbruch: In 1922, critic Paul Stefan, co-founder of the IGNM, succeeded Schneider as chief editor until the journal’s demise in 1937. The editorial board also included names such as Alfred Kalmus, Paul Amadeus Pisk, Hans Heinsheimer, and Theodor W. Adorno. Progressive composers and writers—critics as well as musicologists—were among the journal’s contributors, e. g. Ernst Křenek, Franz Schreker, Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg, Kurt Weill, Béla Bartók, Egon Wellesz, Paul Bekker, and Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt. Moreover, several authors studied with Arnold Schönberg (Alban Berg, Paul Amadeus Pisk, Paul Stefan, Erwin Stein, Egon Wellesz, Alexander Jemnitz), Franz Schreker (Ernst Křenek, Paul Amadeus Pisk, Karol Rathaus), or Alban Berg (Theodor W. Adorno). Therefore, the (Musikblätter des) Anbruch represented the most important platform for contemporary critical, aesthetical, and theoretical discourses in the German-speaking countries.

The journal was divided into three main sections: 1) comprehensive articles on music theory and aesthetics; 2) discussions and analyses of the latest compositions and performances; 3) commentaries on recently published music and on musical life. Despite an astonishing range of topics, also including non-European (musical) cultures, the journal’s focus lay on contemporary music. Special issues were devoted to Soviet Russia, jazz music, dance, singing, contemporary opera, music and mechanics, or particular composers; sections on music automatons discussed innovative instruments and sound generators. As each issue closed with an extensive advertisement section, the journal further functioned as self-promotion for the young Viennese publishing house, which had been releasing contemporary music since 1908.

As of September 1930, the Anbruch incorporated Pult und Taktstock. Fachzeitschrift für Dirigenten. In 1935, the journal was taken over by the Vorwärts-Verlag and renamed Anbruch. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Musik, gradually neglecting its former leading figures and thus, its principles, which used to be modernism and internationalism.

Special issues: Musik und Maschine (October/November 1926); Leichte Musik (March 1929); Probleme der Kompositionstechnik (September/October 1929); Wo stehen wir? (June 1930).