Walter Abendroth

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Walter Fedor Georg Abendroth (born May 29, 1896 in Hanover ; † September 30, 1973 in Fischbachau ) was a German composer , editor and music writer.


Walter Abendroth grew up, together with an older sister and a younger brother, first in Hanover, then from 1907 in Berlin as the son of a surveyor . As a student he met Rudolf Steiner , whose anthroposophy accompanied him from then on and for whom he worked in various contexts. In Munich he first studied painting and music from 1914; In 1916 he was drafted into military service.

After 1918 his “years of wandering” took him via Göttingen , where he married in 1920, Jena , Hamburg , Cologne , then in 1930 again to Berlin. After mainly private music studies, he became a freelance composer and music reviewer. In 1930 he took over the editing of the Allgemeine Musikzeitung . He held this position until 1934, along with editorial work for the Berliner Lokalanzeiger .

After the seizure of power of the Nazis he was 1934-1944 editor of the Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger . In 1934 he expressed himself in accordance with the National Socialist cultural policy in the magazine Die Musik über die Neue Musik as "putrefactive bacillus, which the anti-grassroots will to decompose with wit and calculation had inoculated into the cultural body". In 1939 he wrote an anti-Semitic inflammatory article in the magazine Deutsches Volkstum , in which he described the intellectuality of the Jews as “a mere means to the end of the exercise of power” and “an effective tool of decomposition, an explosive for dividing the ruled peoples into powerless classes”.

After the end of the Second World War , Abendroth lived - married for the second time, with Hilde geb. Schlegl - again in Hamburg, then from 1955 in Munich. From 1948 to 1955 he was the head of the features section of the magazine Die Zeit .

He excelled in particular as a biographer (1935) and editor of the works of Hans Pfitzner .

Artistic creation

In addition to his reviewing and (music) writing activities, Abendroth wrote five symphonies as a composer , along with a large number of concerts , songs and chamber music . In his compositional work he endeavored to further develop traditional forms of music and to combine them with the musical forms of expression of the 20th century.

Works (selection)


  • Sinfonietta in three movements for large orchestra (around 1924)
  • Small orchestral music (premiered 1940 under Karl Böhm )
  • Concerto for viola and orchestra
  • First Symphony (premiered in 1941 under Paul van Kempen )
  • Concerto for Orchestra (WP 1943)
  • Sonata in Bb for piano 2 hands, op.15


Own books:

  • Hans Pfitzner , Munich 1935 (reprinted by Kiefer & Albers, Aachen 1981).
  • German music at the turn of the times. A cultural-philosophical personality study on Anton Bruckner and Hans Pfitzner . Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, Hamburg 1937 (Deutsche Hausbücherei Volume 579).
  • Johannes Brahms. Its essence and its significance in music history . Bote and Bock, Berlin 1939.
  • Anton Bruckner's symphonies. Introductions , Berlin 1940.
  • Hans Pfitzner. His life in pictures . With 84 illustrations on plates, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1941.
  • Hans Pfitzner. A picture in dedications, on the occasion of his 75th birthday on behalf of his friends a. Admirer . Ed. Walter Abendroth. Heling'sche Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 1944.
  • On the rise and fall of music , Hamburg 1949.
  • Four masters of music. Bruckner, Mahler, Reger, Pfitzner , Munich 1952.
  • (Ed. :) Hans Pfitzner. Speeches, writings, letters. Unpublished and so far scattered , Berlin 1955.
  • Bruckner. A picture biography , Munich 1958.
  • A short history of music , Frankfurt 1959.
  • Music suicide? On the theory, ideology and phraseology of modern creativity , Berlin 1963.
  • I warn the curious. Memories of a critical observer of time . Hesse publishing house, Munich 1966.
  • Arthur Schopenhauer , Reinbek 1967 (Rowohlt's Monographs, Volume 133), ISBN 3-499-50133-3 .
  • Rudolf Steiner and today's world. A contribution to the discussion about the human future , Munich 1969.
  • Reincarnation , Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt 1986.

Books edited with other authors:

  • Ferdinand von Strantz: opera guide . According to modern Guidelines completely redesigned u. except for d. latest works by Walter Abendroth. With e. Escort from EN from Reznicek u. 8 scenes. Representations. Weichert Verlag, Berlin 1935.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Ernst Klee : The cultural lexicon for the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-10-039326-5 , p. 9.
  2. a b Complete quotation from Ernst Klee: Das Kulturlexikon zum Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 9.