Theophil Laitenberger

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Theophil Laitenberger (born November 11, 1903 in Tuningen , † March 13, 1996 in Schorndorf ) was a German composer , church and school musician .


Growing up (motherless since the age of two) as the youngest of ten children near Heilbronn , Theophil Laitenberger received his first musical training from 1917 at the teachers' seminar in Esslingen am Neckar (the spelling of the name at that time), where the composer, music teacher and theorist August Halm recognized his musical talent and moved him to make music his profession.

He first studied counterpoint with the Regerschüler , promoter of the Donaueschinger Musiktage and later director of the Stuttgart Music Academy Hugo Holle (1890–1942), then composition, church and school music at the Stuttgart Music Academy. His most important teachers at the university were Herman Roth (1882–1938), pupil of Hugo Riemann and later advisor to Hindemith in composing the instruction in composition , Ewald Strässer (1887–1933) and Felix Petyrek , for organ the Bach researcher Hermann Keller and the organist at the Stuttgart collegiate church Arnold Strebel (1879–1949), for liturgy and hymnology Richard Gölz .

After starting school, Laitenberger worked first in Reutlingen , then from 1938 to 1968 in Calw as a school musician at the Hermann Hesse High School and as a cantor at the Evangelical City Church of St. Peter and Paul. Theophil Laitenberger's estate is kept in the Calw City Archives, which also supports the printing of his works ("Calwer Editionsreihe" / schmidmusic ).

He retired from 1968 in Plüderhausen near Schorndorf in the Remstal, where he is also buried.


The oeuvre Laitenbergers includes oratorios, cantatas, motets, songs, various compositions for organ and chamber music. The main focus of his compositional work lies in his old works. The stresses and strains of the dual job in church and school meant that, although compositions were created and performed during this time, it was not until the works that were written in retirement that they had greater national impact. Laitenberger's creations in the Calw years and before include u. a. Piano songs, cantatas, slogans and chorale motets, chorale preludes for organ and the school opera Jungfrau Maleen based on the fairy tale of the same name by the Brothers Grimm. Influenced by the impressions of his early days in the 1920s, he developed his neoclassical , strongly contrapuntal personal style, which was based on the polyphony of the masters from the time before Johann Sebastian Bach , and basically adhered to the - sometimes more freely handled - tonality . That did not correspond to the prevailing zeitgeist. Still, he managed to get performances of most of his more important works. In the area of ​​the Evangelical Church in Württemberg he was probably one of the most frequently performed living composers of Protestant church music at the beginning of the nineties. His music was sung and played in the Stuttgart collegiate church , the Ulm Minster , the Heilbronn Kilianskirche , in Schorndorf , Calw , Kirchheim unter Teck , Sindelfingen and Balingen . The radio occasionally broadcast both chamber and sacred choral music by Theophil Laitenberger. There were also performances in Hamburg , Bonn , Lisbon and Israel . On the occasion of his 100th birthday in 2003, in addition to performances of individual compositions at various locations (inside and outside of Württemberg), in October in Schorndorf and in Calw Laitenberger festival concerts were held under the direction of church music director Hannelore Hinderer, Schorndorf. The city of Calw remembered him in other events and dedicated a commemorative publication to him under the title And not end in lawsuits ... with testimonials, photo documents and an annotated catalog raisonné, the commentary texts of which were taken from the estate by the composer himself. A large part of these texts was reprinted in the catalog raisonné developed by Erhard Frieß and published in 2016, which on the basis of the existing catalog raisonné and the original manuscripts reproduces the opening bars of the works in detail for each entry and clarifies the cast, duration and level of difficulty; detailed registers open up the directory.

A representative selection of organ works by Laitenberger, including three organ sonatas, the Frescobaldi Variations (see below) and the Oboesuite (see below), was released on CD by Dabringhaus & Grimm , recorded by Andreas Sieling (organ), Wolfgang Talirz (viola) and Luca Mariani (oboe). Also available on CD are - with Thomas Pfeiffer , baritone, and Wolfgang Kübler, piano - earlier songs by Laitenberger for baritone and piano (Hesse songs, Hölderlin chants, songs by various poets) together with two piano pieces from the 1970s (Bayer Records 1990; BR 900 003 CD).

List of works (selection)

  • Zeit des Jeremia (1972), oratorio for baritone, large and small choir, 2 flutes, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, timpani, strings, organ, premiered in 1983 in Calw under the direction of Bernhard Reich , with Klaus Hirte as Jeremia.
  • Gospel report: It is a voice of a preacher in the desert (1976) for tenor, baritone, bass, choir, woodwind, tuba, percussion, strings, premiered in 1982 in the Stuttgart collegiate church under the direction of church music director Ernst Leuze.
  • Psalm 104 (1981) for soprano, tenor, bass, choir, woodwinds, 3 trumpets, percussion, strings, premiered in 1982 in Kirchheim unter Teck under the direction of church music director Ernst Leuze.
  • Cantata of the nothingness of man and of the goodness and omnipotence of God (1991) for baritone, choir, woodwind, trumpet, timpani, strings, premiered in 1993 in Calw under the direction of Johannes Sorg.
  • Be good-natured and let von Sorg und Grämen (1983), choral cantata for soprano, alto, choir, strings.
  • And don't end in complaints… (1970) for medium voice, strings, small choir, based on texts by Manfred Hausmann , Reinhold Schneider and Bernt von Heiseler .
  • I am happy and thank you (1977) for a two-part children's choir, melody instruments, percussion, organ, based on a text from West Africa, premiered in 1977 in the Stuttgart collegiate church by the Sindelfingen children's choir under the direction of church music director Klaus Roller .
  • In the world you have fear (1992), motet for 6-part mixed choir, premiered in 1992 by capella vallensis Wiesensteig under the direction of Peter Skobowsky.
  • Christe, du Schöpfer aller Welt (1991), choral motet for the Passion time for 4-part mixed choir, premiered in 1992 by the choir of the Stuttgart University of Music.
  • Six songs to poems by Hermann Hesse for tenor / baritone and piano (1922–1924): Spring day / Gentian blossom / Like the moaning wind / White rose in the twilight / Elegy in September / Assistono diversi santi.
  • Six Hölderlin songs for medium voice and piano: An Diotima (1934/1970) / The Oak Trees (1936/1970) / Sunset (1923/1970) / The Peace (1934/1970) / The Man (1923/1969) / Return home (1951/1969).
  • Concerto in E flat major:
    • 1st version for strings and woodwinds (1981/83), premiered in 1984 at Schloss Solitude Stuttgart with the Pro Musica Stuttgart orchestra under the direction of Jürgen Klenk.
    • 2nd version for organ and string orchestra (1982), premiered in 1984 in Balingen under the direction of church music director Gerhard Rehm with Friedrich Fröschle (organ).
  • Dialoge in six movements (1985) for clarinet, string orchestra and timpani.
  • Suite in f (1980) for 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba.
  • Variations on a theme after G. Frescobaldi (1978) for viola and piano or viola and organ:
    • Version for viola and piano premiered in 1987 in Plüderhausen with Vidor Nagy (viola) and Günter Schmidt (piano)
    • Version for viola and organ premiered in 1987 in the Kreuzkirche in Bonn with Christoph Aißlinger (viola) and Johannes Geffert (organ).
  • Suite in C major (1986) for oboe (violin, flute) and organ, premiered in 1993 in Schorndorf with Almut Kallenberg (oboe) and Hannelore Hinderer (organ).
  • Ist Gott für mich (1980), choral sonata for horn and organ, premiered in Heilbronn in 1982 with Michael Höltzel (horn) and Hermann Rau (organ).
  • Organ music in d / organ sonata I (1971), premiered in 1986 by Hermann Rau in Heilbronn's Kilians Church .

Sources and literature

  • "And don't end in lawsuits ..." The Calw composer Theophil Laitenberger (1903–1996). Life and work in self-testimonies. (Small series, published by the large district town of Calw, Volume 16). Calw 2003 ( ISBN 3-9806875-7-0 ).
  • "... if music shouldn't lose its power over the mind ...". A Württemberg church musician on his 100th birthday: Theophil Laitenberger (1903–1996). In: Württembergische Blätter für Kirchenmusik ( ISSN  0177-6487 ) 70th Jg./H. 5/2003, pp. 2-7.
  • Volkhard Laitenberger: "And don't end in complaints ..." The composer Theophil Laitenberger. A biographical sketch. In: Schwäbische Heimat ( ISSN  0342-7595 ) 55th year / H. 2/2004, pp. 206-214, as well as in: Landkreis Calw. Ein Jahrbuch, Volume 22/2004, pp. 165-176 ( ISBN 3-937267-04-2 , ISSN  0174-5867 ).
  • Hellmut J. Gebauer: Theophil Laitenberger. Composer, cantor, organist and teacher. 1903-1996. In: Hellmut J. Gebauer, Hartmut Würfele: Calw. History of a city. Great men and women. Calw: Archive of the City of Calw / Sparkasse Pforzheim Calw 2005 ( ISBN 3-9809615-1-6 ), pp. 171–173.
  • Hermann Wulzinger: Church music in Calw from 1866-1967. In: Andreas Traub , Ernst Rheinwald, Hermann Wulzinger, Bernhard Reich , Paul Rathgeber: Calw. History of a city. Cultural History III - Church Music. Calw: Archive of the City of Calw / Sparkasse Pforzheim Calw 2009 ( ISBN 978-3-939148-20-3 ), pp. 57-169.
  • Andreas Willscher : Laitenberger, Theophil, Organ Works, review. In: das Orchester 10/2010, p. 75, as well as in: organ. Journal für die Orgel 4/2010, p. 55.
  • Joachim Dorfmüller: Contemporary organ music 1960–1983. Wolfenbüttel and Zurich 1983.
  • Alexander Reischert: Lamentationes Jeremiae. Settings in the 20th century. In: Musik & Kirche 2007, pp. 410–414.
  • Erhard Frieß : Thematic-systematic index of the works by Theophil Laitenberger (with audio sample CD). Published by the large district town of Calw with the support of the Jörg and Ingeborg Seybold Foundation. Calw 2016 ( ISBN 978-3-939148-38-8 ).

Individual evidence

  1. Laitenberger's curriculum vitae on the Schwäbische Orgelromantik website , accessed on July 1, 2013.

Web links