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German Violists in the USA during the late 19th century...

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  • Myron Rosenblum
    Dear Violists, In doing my old research on the viola d amore, I came upon a few German violists-viola d amore players who came to the USA, settled here, formed
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 27, 2012
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      Dear Violists,

      In doing my old research on the viola d'amore, I came upon a few German violists-viola d'amore players who came to the USA, settled here, formed music groups, toured and then played with some prestigious American orchestras and opera companies.  Two such musicians were Walter Voigtlander and Richard Stoelzer.

      When browsing through viola d'amore music at the New York Pubic Library some years ago, I came upon some original manuscripts of Walter Voigtlander.  One was a method book for Viola d'amore -- The Modern Viole d'Amour Player,  and the other was a volume of etudes for viola d'amore that he had arranged from many of the standard violin and viola etudes --  Kreutzer, Fiorello, Dont, Mazas, Bruni, Campagnoli, Rode, Vieuxtemps  and others.    His title for this is:  Studie of the Viole d'amour for the Violin Player and 42 Studies transcribed for the Viole d'amour from Violin and Viola Studies for Self Study, fingered by Walter Voigtlander.

      Here are Voigtlander's  biographical data:

      Born in Leipzig in 1859.
      Came to the USA in 1885 and went to Detroit. He formed an ensemble there that gave concerts. He worked for 10 years in the mid-west.
      1895; Played in a quartet in Chicago
      1895-97 -  played in the Pittsburgh Symphony as principal viola
      1897 - Came to New York City and played viola d'amore solos in Carnegie Hall
      12 years in the New York Philharmonic
      2 years in the Hammerstein Opera Orchestra
      7 years in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
      Died in 1933 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetary, The Bronx. NYC.

      Voigtlander still has some relatives living in the mid-west, and his collection of music was found not long ago in Oklahoma.  That collection now resides in the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center. Among the collection are many arrangements of classical and more popular works that were likely used for his touring group. 

      Richard Stoelzer.   Some years ago, I received a phone call and  was asked if I would play on an English violet (a festooned viola d'amore, with usually 7 playing strings and 14 sympathetic strings) in  a concert at Adelphi University to inaugurate the acquisition of a collection of music and instruments by one Richard Stolezer.  I  had never heard of him, but went to the workshop of William Monical on Staten Island to pick up the instrument that Monical had restored into playing condition.

      The violet was quite a nice instrument, and one of two violas d'amore that Adelphi had acquired. There was also a Viola Alta, made by Karl Hoerlein in Wuerzburg in 1877 with a body length of 47 cm and 5 strings.

      Biography of Stoelzer:

      Born in 1864, near Dresden and grew up in Leipzig. At the Leipzig conservatory, he studied viola, clarinet and composition. 
      1885: He came to the USA on tour with an orchestra and remained in America.   Worked for a while in New York City.
      1888 - joined the Boston Symphony  Orchestral Club as viola and viola d'amore soloist and played there until 1891.
      1891 he joined the Mozart Symphony Club of New York and toured the entire USA and Canada until 1905.
      In later years, he played with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra 
      Died in 1947.

      There is a catalogue of this collection with a detailed list of he music that he accumulated in his lifetime. In addition to   some standard classical chamber works, there  are many arrangements of opera tunes overtures,  marches,  waltzes,  and more popular music of the day, that were likely used on his tours,
      Among the collection are  the Vieuxtemps Elegie for violin arranged for piano, violin and viola, many of Stoelzer's own arrangements fhings, with some viola d'amore solos,  a series of works by Hermann Ritter for viola alta and piano.

      For those of you in the New York City area, it might prove fruitful to pay a visit to Adelphi University (in Garden City,New York) and go through this music. You never know what viola gems you might find!

      Myron R. 
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