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Dear Music Lovers!
“Back then, nobody was astute enough to notice the huge wheels turning in those massive, hidden mills that began to grind inexorably towards the Great War,” writes Joseph Roth in his novel Radetzkymarsch.
When Emil Hertzka, who had assumed management of Universal-Edition in 1907, signed the rental agreement for the offices in Vienna’s Musikverein on 26 June 1914, he, like many others, still considered the old world to be in perfect order. Just two days later, this world began to crumble following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.
However, 100 years on, UE is still headquartered in the Musikverein. The same rooms once frequented by Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg, Béla Bartók, Leoš Janáček and Kurt Weill are now patronised with equal ease and familiarity by Pierre Boulez, Arvo Pärt, Wolfgang Rihm and Georg Friedrich Haas.
What made it possible for UE to survive two world wars and become the publishing house that it is today, building on the key works of modernism to provide the same support for the contemporary music of our era? This issue of the Musikblätter follows the history of UE through the work of three great men without whom the publishing house could never have become the institution that it is today. These men are Emil Hertzka (1869–1932), who reshaped the identity of the publishing house with his new focus on contemporary music, Hans W. Heinsheimer (1900–1993), who helped establish the major theatrical works of the early 20th century, and Alfred Schlee (1901–1999), who saved countless compositions from destruction during the Second World War and brought virtually all the significant composers of his day to UE after it. We humbly bow before these visionary leaders who so perceptively recognised the signs of their times. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are also faced with the question of how to respond to the challenges of our time. The music market has become enormously diversified and every niche requires support from a publishing house that operates at the cutting edge of the times.
In order to meet the high demand for the Musikblätter, we have therefore decided to publish it exclusively in electronic form in the future. All the content you need for your work and dramaturgical decisions will be available to you in multimedia form.
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We very much hope that you will continue to support the Musikblätter in its new form!
We hope you will enjoy this issue.
The UE Promotion Team