Baußnern, Waldemar von


Baußnern, Waldemar von

Champagner, an overture for grand orchestra

SKU: 1972 Category:



Waldemar von Baussnern
(b. Berlin, 29 November 1866 – d. Potsdam-Sanssouci, 20 August 1931)


Overture for large orchestra

Waldemar Edler von Baussnern was born in Berlin to an aristocratic family from Transylvania, thereafter spending his childhood in the homeland of his ancestors. His time as a student of Friedrich Kiel (1882-1885) and Woldemar Bargiel (1885-1888), both in Berlin, was probably the source of his Romantic affinities and foundational for the polyphonic character of his music.1 In 1891, he assumed his first permanent position as director of the Mannheim Music Society. By 1895 he was already leading the Bach Society in Dresden2 and his first concert, which took place in the same year in the Gewerbehausssaal, received high praise in the Dresdner Zeitung for its youthful, lustrous, rousing sound.3 The Dresden period was probably his most productive. Alongside various compositions, he founded the c. 180 voice Dresden Choral Society in 19014. He boldly asserted his position musically by dedicating his second symphony (1899) to Johannes Brahms, emphasising his connection with Brahms, with his era and the tradition.5

Baussnern gave up activities in Dresden in 1903 to become a teacher at the Cologne Conservatoire (a position he held until 1908). However, the enormous workload pushed him to his limits – up to forty hours of teaching per week in eight subjects, not to mention the time spent on his own composition.6 There is no doubt that high-mindedness and idealism set him apart both artistically and personally.7 In the same period, social gatherings were organised on Sundays at the Baussnern house in Lindenthal (Cologne) with musicians, poets and other artists. Those who attended praised not only his piano and organ playing but also his striking voice. He dedicated himself with the same devotion to completing various works by the Mainz composer Peter Cornelius (1824-1874), including his opera ‘Gunlöd’ (1906).8

Three years later Baussnern became director of the Grand Ducal Academy of Music in Weimar. Here he was able to soak up the spirit of Goethe’s town and find creative inspiration. The town, which before him had been the workplace of greats such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Ernst Bach and Johann Nepomuk Hummel, must have been a fruitful influence. In his role as director, he strove, with the help of the best teachers, to enable students to reach full musical maturity. Baussnern understood how to combine tradition (an appreciation of Mozart, Bach and Schumann’s works, which were taught a great deal) with an approach that was progressive and modern for his time, all for the benefit of education. Indeed, his founding of an ‘Association for Contemporary Music’ in 1912, with the express purpose of nurturing contemporary music attests to this. Nevertheless, these endeavours were not always met only with favour and accord, but at times also hostility. In 1910 he was named professor and in 1913 became a citizen of the German Empire – up until that point holding Austro-Hungarian citizenship


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Score Data


Repertoire Explorer




210 x 297 mm





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