Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt

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Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt (born November 1, 1901 in Strasbourg ; † August 15, 1988 in Berlin ) was a German musicologist and music critic .


Coming from a family of officers, Stuckenschmidt was the son of later major general Johannes Stuckenschmidt and his wife Clara Viktoria Helene, née Cerf. At the age of 19 he wrote music reviews as a Berlin correspondent for the Prague magazine Bohemia , then lived as a freelance music writer in Hamburg , Vienna , Paris , Berlin and Prague , advocated avant-garde music at an early age and got to know numerous composers and performers personally. In the summer of 1920 he took part in the First International Dada Fair . In 1923/1924 he led the concert cycle Neue Musik in Hamburg with Josef Rufer , lived in Vienna in 1924 and in Paris in 1925, where he became acquainted with the composers of the Groupe des Six . In 1927/1928 he helped organize the concerts of the Berlin November group , and in 1929 he succeeded Adolf Weißmann as a music critic for the Berliner Zeitung am Mittag . Many of his essays appeared in the beginning . Stuckenschmidt also had ambitions for composition, of the six short piano pieces that he wrote between 1919 and 1926, however, only two were printed in remote magazines. Since participating in Arnold Schönberg's analysis seminars from 1931 to 1933, he dealt with the composer's life and work and was the first to evaluate his estate for a biography ( Arnold Schönberg , 1951, 1957, 1974). He wrote books on Boris Blacher , Ferruccio Busoni and Maurice Ravel , among others . In 1932 he married the soprano Margot Hinnenberg-Lefèbre .

In 1934 he was banned from writing because of his commitment to new music and Jewish musicians. The trigger was a denunciation by Fritz Stege . The procedure was based, as Frank Hilberg judges, on "mostly unfounded accusations ('lack of moral maturity')". Hilberg continues: “The Nazi Fritz Stege had opened the Kesseldrive in 1933 and used all his connections to National Socialist organizations to get rid of Stuckenschmidt (and other advocates of new music). There is seldom the opportunity to understand such a process based on lies, denunciation and convictions in detail. The dimension of such arbitrary rule is oppressive - which not only lead to existential questions, but also affect family members. In 1934 Stuckenschmidt was expelled from the Reich Association of the German Press. "

Stuckenschmidt's urn grave in the Wilmersdorf cemetery

In 1937 Stuckenschmidt emigrated to Prague, where he wrote first for the Prager Tagblatt and from 1939 to 1942 for the occupation newspaper Der Neue Tag . In 1942 he was drafted into the Wehrmacht as an interpreter and released from American captivity in 1946.

After the end of the war, Stuckenschmidt became head of the new music department at the station RIAS Berlin, 1947 music critic of the Neue Zeitung , published the magazine Voices with Josef Rufer from 1947 to 1949 and was a lecturer since 1948, since 1949 associate professor and full professor of music history at the 1953-1967 Technical University of Berlin . From 1956 to 1987 he was a music critic for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung .

Stuckenschmidt received numerous awards for his work, he was a. a. Member of the PEN Club and the German Academy for Language and Poetry , Darmstadt . In 1974 he became a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin (West), and in 1977 the University of Tübingen awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Stuckenschmidt was buried in the Wilmersdorf cemetery.


  • 1921 New Music. Three piano pieces: 1. Expression Violet, 2. The Champagne Cobler and the Green Sun, 3. Alexander the Great's march over the bridges of Hamburg.


  • 1951 Arnold Schönberg. Zurich and Freiburg, 2teA 1957
  • 1951 New Music. Volume 2 of the series Between the Two Wars. Berlin.
  • 1954 Edited by Ferruccio Busoni Draft of a new aesthetic of music. Frankfurt.
  • 1957 The glamor and misery of music criticism. Berlin.
  • 1957 Stravinsky and his century. Berlin.
  • 1958 Creator of New Music. (20 composer portraits), Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt.
  • 1963 Boris Blacher. Berlin, revised version by H. Kunz 1985.
  • 1964 Opera at this time - European opera events from four decades. Velber near Hanover.
  • 1965 Johann Nepomuk David. Wiesbaden.
  • 1966 Maurice Ravel - Variations on Person and Work. Frankfurt, engl. Translation 1968.
  • 1967 Ferruccio Busoni - Timeline of a European. Zurich, engl. Translation 1970.
  • 1969 What is music criticism? Thoughts on the destruction of art judgment through sociology. in: Studies on Valuation Research. Vol. 2, pp. 26-42, ed. Harald Kaufmann, Graz.
  • 1969 Twentieth Century Music. London and New York, French translation 1969.
  • 1970 Twentieth Century Composers. London, the German original was published in 1971: The great composers of our century. Munich.
  • 1974 Arnold Schönberg - Life, Environment, Work. Zurich, Atlantis.
  • 1976 The music of half a century. 1925-1975, essay and criticism. Munich / Zurich, Piper.
  • 1979 Born to hear. A life with the music of our time. Autobiography, Munich, Piper.
  • 1981 Margot - portrait of a singer. Munich.
  • 1983 Creator of Classical Music - Portraits and Revisions. Settlers, Berlin.


  • Of the music critics and music writers in Europe, Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt is the only one who has gained a high reputation far beyond the borders of our continent. His activity as a music critic of several international newspapers, open to all current problems and with the greatest competence, would have been enough to establish a reputation that spread eastward to Japan and westward to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. (...) The explosiveness of his language, which was often provocatively bold, especially in those early years, and which was always paired with elegance, which was a novelty in the music-critical field and which was a novelty in the music-critical field, demanded as much contradiction as it did enthusiastic approval; (...) . - Neue Zürcher Zeitung , 1971.


  • Werner Grünzweig , Christiane Niklew (ed.): Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt: The German in the concert hall. in: Archives on the music of the 20th century. Volume 10, Wolke Verlag, Hofheim 2011, ISBN 978-3-936000-27-6 .
  • Robert Schmitt Scheubel (ed.): Music in the technical age. A documentation. Berlin 2012, consassis.de-Verlag.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Birth register of the Strasbourg registry office (3983/1901)
  2. Self-presentation on the website of the German Academy for Language and Poetry, accessed on July 23, 2019.
  3. ^ Frank Hilberg: From protagonist to anachronist - To a collection of texts by Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt. In: MusikTexte No. 134 (2012), p. 89. See also the text documentation Berufsverbot Stuckenschmidt at Wikisource.
  4. -uh .: Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt. On his seventieth birthday (November 1st) . In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung No. 299 of November 1, 1971, p. 27.