Louis Spohr (1784–1859), composer, violin virtuoso, conductor, and educator was regarded as one of the most significant, trend-setting musical personalities in the early Romantic period beyond Central Europe. Many contemporaries praised the violinist as the Paganni’s opponent, they admired the conductor because he used a baton for the first time in large music festivals and as an orchestral educator.
Scholars from every continent sought out the educator, because he advanced the subject-related pedagogical principles of the philanthropinists, beyond instrumental and theoretical lessons demanded the learning of foreign languages, swimming, regular exercise, the visiting of mines, factories, and art collections.
With over 200 students, the staunch Democrat Spohr contributed decisively in this manner to the elevation of the social repute of the profession of musician. Since 1908 the Spohr Society unified the evidence of his compositional production and work in a museum; but the collection property was confiscated in the year 1933 and was destroyed for political and racist reasons. Since 1954 the International Louis Spohr Society e.V. (Registered Association) has made an effort to reconstruct what was lost, to the extent possible, in an archive and museum. Until now, 20,000 items are accessible for research, practice, and interested laymen.
In the museum section, portraits of musicians and poets, autographs, first editions of musical scores and historical music instruments from the period from 1800 to around 1870 document the works of Spohr, his students, other violin composers, and of violin makers.
Germany possesses musical traditions and legacies of extraordinary value: Handel, Schuetz and Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Wagner - to mention only a few names - are composers who are known and treasured throughout the world. Their work has played a significant role in shaping a unique musical landscape.
Numerous orchestras, choruses, ensembles, renowned music festivals and series, music houses with museums, public archives and libraries, but also private collections preserve their musical heritage.
It is necessary to revitalize this inestimable fund again and again and to develop it for the present. At the same time, an important role befits the houses combined in the consortium of music museums of Germany. In them we encounter the work of the musicians and composers who have extraordinarily enriched the cultural nation of Germany. However, beyond the individual portrait, beyond the procurement of individual oeuvres, the music museums also contribute overall to the maintenance of musical tradition. The present brochure underscores this aspect of the synoptic presentation and invites the reader on a journey into the musical history of Germany. I hope this tour guide will be actively used and receive a large response.Bernd Neumann, Member of the Lower House of the German Parliament
Minister of State with the Federal Chancellor
Commissioner of the Federal Government for Culture and Media
Quoted from: Foreword to the brochure "Music Museums in Germany", 2007.