RMA Podcast: Ian Bent, William Drabkin & Georg Burgstaller: Heinrich Schenker and Viennese Musical Culture

Schenker Documents Online has played a significant role in animating interest in many aspects of analyst Heinrich Schenker’s life. The project was founded in 2004 with the aim to stimulate biographical, historical and socio-cultural study of Schenker and his circle by publishing his correspondence in an online scholarly edition. The site has since grown into an award-winning digital humanities resource, yielding over 1,500 items of correspondence and a full run of diary entries from 1918 until Schenker’s death in 1935. Here, three of its key contributors discuss the project and its far-reaching implications for research, and digitisation in the humanities.

Ian Bent is an Honorary Professor in the History of Music Theory at University of Cambridge. Previously he was Full Professor of Music at Columbia University in New York. His chief interest is the history of music theory and analysis. William Drabkin is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Southampton. Recently, his work has investigated the correspondence of Heinrich Schenker and his pupils and acquaintances. Georg Burgstaller received his Ph.D. from the University of Southampton. Embedded in the Schenker Documents Online international research project, his doctoral dissertation explored socio-cultural aspects of German music journalism during the fin-de-siècle and the first world war.

Since this discussion was recorded in September 2016, an application to the Austrian Science Fund, put together by our Vienna editor Marko Deisinger with assistance from Andrea Reiter, has received three years’ funding to complete transcription and translation of the remaining parts of Schenker’s diary. We must also record, with sadness, the death of Professor Reiter on 14 November 2018, at the age of 61, after a two-year battle with leukaemia; she had been an important contributor not only to Schenker Documents Online but also to most of the Schenker translation projects since the early 1990s, and her expertise in interpreting Schenker’s writing will be greatly missed.

One comment

  1. A small correction: as of now (June 2019) the Schenker diaries are complete — from 1898 to 1935 — with the exception of 1911 and 1915-17. These will be mounted on Schenker Documents Online over the next 2 to 3 years.

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