Hermann Hirschbach

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Hermann Hirschbach (born February 29, 1812 in Berlin , † May 19, 1888 in Gohlis near Leipzig) was a composer , music critic , chess writer and magazine editor.


Hermann Hirschbach, who wrote himself Herrmann , was the son of Zore, née Moses Aron and Samuel Hirsch. He grew up in Berlin, where he trained as a violinist. First he studied medicine. Then he switched to music, studied violin and composition and was a student of the musicologist Heinrich Birnbach (1793–1879). Hirschbach dealt intensively with chamber music. He became an employee of the New Magazine for Music ( NZfM ) published by Robert Schumann and moved to Leipzig. Hirschbach published several influential articles on the music of Ludwig van Beethoven , whose 9th symphony he did not appreciate, but whose late string quartets he regarded as the benchmark of contemporary compositional art, with which he initially found the approval of Schumann. Schumann also shared an interest in chess and often played with other contemporary musicians, with Hirschbach considered the best Leipzig chess player.

In 1836 Hirschbach had started composing string quartets. In total he wrote 2 operas, 14 symphonies with program titles, 3 overtures, an octet, a septet, 2 quintets with clarinet and horn, 4 string quintets, 13 string quartets and several other instrumental pieces. His composition Lebensbilder for string quartet from 1841 was reviewed by Robert Schumann and influenced his three string quartets Op. 41. From the end of 1843 to 1845 he published the magazine Musikalisch-Kritisches Repertorium (1845 as the Musikalisches Repertorium ). Hirschbach's reviews of musical works were often viewed as hurtful in their sharpness, which contributed to his increasing isolation in the music world.

Over three years, from 1846 to 1848, Hirschbach published the German chess newspaper in Leipzig . It was the first chess newspaper to appear regularly in Germany, half a year before the chess newspaper that appeared in Berlin from July 1846 and which in turn took the name Deutsche Schachzeitung from 1872 .

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8th Chess rdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess bdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess kdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess ndt45.svg Chess rdt45.svg 8th
7th Chess pdt45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess pdt45.svg 7th
6th Chess --t45.svg Chess bdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 6th
5 Chess ndt45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess nlt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess qdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg 5
4th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess blt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 4th
3 Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 3
2 Chess plt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess plt45.svg 2
1 Chess rlt45.svg Chess nlt45.svg Chess blt45.svg Chess qlt45.svg Chess klt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess rlt45.svg 1
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Position after 6.… Qd8 – g5

Template: checkerboard / maintenance / new

The variant in the Evans Gambit of the Italian game 1. e2 – e4 e7 – e5 2. Ng1 – f3 Nb8 – c6 3. Bf1 – c4 Bf8 – c5 4. b2 – b4 Bc5 – b6 5. b4 – b5 Nc6 – a5 6 .Nf3xe5 Qd8 – g5 ( diagram ) Hirschbach recommended in the Deutsche Schachzeitung in 1847 without any further analysis, with the words:

"With this move, Black will probably have an advantage."

It bears the ECO code C51 and is known as the "Hirschbach Variation" ("Hirschbach Variation"). Nowadays, instead of Hirschbach's move 6… Qd8 – g5, 6… Ng8 – h6 is usually preferred.

From 1861, Hirschbach also published some works on stock market trading and a chess textbook.

Musical works (selection)

Chamber music

  • String quartet No. 1 in E minor, Op. 1 (1837), premiered on March 11, 1839 in Berlin
  • String Quintet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 2 (1836), premiered on March 11, 1839 in Berlin
  • String quartet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 29 (1837), premiered on March 11, 1839 in Berlin
  • String Quartet No. 3 in D major op.30 (1837)
  • String Quartet No. 4 in F sharp minor, Op. 31 (1838)
  • String Quartet No. 5 in A minor op.32 (1838)
  • String Quartet No. 6 in C minor, Op. 33 (1838), published in October 1853 by Julius Friedländer
  • String Quartet No. 7 in C minor, Op. 34 (1838), published in October 1853 by Julius Friedländer
  • String Quartet No. 8 in F major op.35 (1839)
  • String Quintet No. 2 in G minor, Op. 39 (1856)
  • String Quartet in E flat major op.43 (1857)
  • String Quartet in B minor op. 49 with voice ad libitum (1859), setting of the poem Too Late! by Nikolaus Lenau

Orchestral music

  • Overture in E minor “Dedicated to the German Nation” op. 28
  • Symphony No. 2 in A minor, Op. 46, “Life Struggles” , only survived in an arrangement for piano for two hands by Heinrich Enke, published in March 1859 by the Leipzig publisher CFW Siegel

Literary works


  • About Beethoven as a contrapunctist . In: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik , Volume 8, No. 48 of June 15, 1838, pp. 189f.
  • Beethoven's ninth symphony . One view . In: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik , Volume 9, No. 5 of July 17, 1838, pp. 19-21, No. 7, pp. 27-30, No. 8, pp. 31-32 (Hirschbach);
    • with Georg Dietrich Otten alias pseudonym "O.": subsequent controversies, No. 15, p. 59–60, No. 16, p. 63 (O.); No. 20, pp. 80-81 (Hirschbach); No. 41 pp. 163–164, No. 42 pp. 167–168 (O.)
  • About Beethoven's last string quartets . In: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik , Volume 11 (1839), No. 2 pp. 5–6, No. 3, pp. 9–10, No. 4, pp. 13–14 and No. 13, pp. 49–51

Magazine editor

  • Musical-critical repertory (1843–1845)
    • Sample book, autumn 1843
    • A musical-critical repertory of all new phenomena in the field of musical art , published by an association of artists, edited by Herrmann Hirschbach, Gustav Brauns, Leipzig 1844
    • Repertory for music , edited with the participation of several by Herrmann Hirschbach, Gustav Brauns, Leipzig 1845
  • as publisher: Deutsche Schachzeitung , Gustav Brauns, Leipzig 1846–1848


  • as editor: Contributions to the practice and theory of the game of chess. In a series of treatises, games, riddles, etc. , a summary of the volumes of the Deutsche Schachzeitung . Gustav Brauns, Leipzig 1849
  • From the stock exchange, or: The spirit of speculation in the last 40 years, visit to the stock exchange, stock market maneuver, bull market etc. Bear market, premium deals, coincidences of course movements, etc. 2nd edition. Leipzig 1864; 1st edition as: Von der Börse I: Der Geist der Speculation . Dyk, 1861
  • Catechism of the stock exchange business, fund and stock trading , JJ Weber, Leipzig 1863
  • Handbook of the art of chess . 2nd Edition. Gustav Brauns, Leipzig 1865; 1st edition as: Textbook of the game of chess for beginners and more experienced , 1864


  • Robert Pessenlehner : Herrmann Hirschbach, the critic and artist. A contribution to the history of the Schumann circle and the musical criticism in the first half of the XIX. Century. Bosse, Regensburg 1932. archive.org
  • Alfred Baumgärtner: Hermann Hirschbach (1812–88) . In: Music of Romanticism . Kiesel, 1983, p. 341
  • Robert and Clara Schumann's correspondence with correspondents in Berlin 1832 to 1883 , ed. by Klaus Martin Kopitz , Eva Katharina Klein and Thomas Synofzik (= Schumann-Briefedition , Series II, Volume 17), Cologne: Dohr 2015, pp. 225–288, ISBN 978-3-86846-028-5

Web links

Wikisource: Hermann Hirschbach  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Joseph Wulf: Music in the Third Reich . Ullstein, 1983, p. 356
  2. Ludwig Finscher, Friedrich Blume (ed.): The music in past and present , part 2, volume 15. 2nd edition. Column 314
  3. Frank Große: Schach und Schumann in Zwickau , August 10, 2007, Chessbase.com
  4. A. Baumgartner: Music of Romanticism . 1983, p. 341
  5. according to Hermann Abert : Robert Schumann . Berlin 1903, p. 90
  6. Friedhelm Krummacher : Das Streichquartett , Laaber, 2003, p. 51
  7. quoted from Hermann Beger: Some remarks on the rejected Evans gambit . In: Schachzeitung , May 1865, pp. 129-134
  8. David Hooper, Kenneth Whyld (Ed.): The Oxford companion to chess . Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 173
  9. Signals for the musical world , vol. 11, no. 41 from October 1853, p. 326 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive )