Der Musikfreund: aus den Schriften und Erzählungen des Verfassers der Kreisleriana by E. T. A. Hoffmann
Selected and edited by Herbert Schulze. Deutscher Verlag/Breitkopf
This agreeable little volume of 174 pages would make a perfectly acceptable gift-book; but it is hardly a serious companion to musical studies or research. For one thing, the selection is too restricted; Hoffmann's seminal essays on Beethoven, though readily available in the Goldmann pocketbook selection, are simply omitted here. The editorial tone is analogously bland and superficial, with some owlishly earnest glimpses of the obvious. Thus the obligatory 1809 Ritter Gluck is followed by the admonition that “in our sequence we now have lo traverse an interval of four years, for our next contribution was not published until 1813. One ought not however lo suppose that Hoffmann remained inactive in the interim”. Again, the reader is gently cushioned against the disappointment of having to say a final farewell lo editor and author: on p.169 we read that “we are approaching the end of our selection, and at the same time we also reach the last phase of Hoffmann's life”. But at least the general climate of pervasive benevolence proves propitious for helpful factual annotation, which flourishes in abundance. Meanwhile the fertile field of Hoffmann and music still awaits cultivation in depth.
The Musical Times, June 1978 (p.513) © the estate of eric sams