Lohengrin : Wagner's baton

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Inscription on the baton (in German):

« Taktstock mit welchem Richard Wagner zum ersten Male seinen Lohengrin dirigierte,

Frankfurth am Main , 12. 09. 1862 »

 

English  translation:

Baton used by Richard Wagner to conduct his Lohengrin for the first time.

Frankfort-on-Main, Sept. 12,  1862.

 

After this performance of Lohengrin at the Frankfurter Oper on Sept. 12, 1862, under the direction of the composer, Richard Wagner gave this baton to George Eduard Goltermann, a virtuoso cellist and second Kapellmeister of the Frankfurt Opera orchestra. It was a common practice at the time, especially as Richard Wagner was in the habit of making his own batons using hazelnut or weeping-willow branches. The famous Viennese sculptor, Carl Kauba, immortalised Richard Wagner conducting his orchestra with this type of baton.  The small piece of paper glued to the baton is in the hand of George Eduard Goltermann, and this “treasure” remained in his family for 125 years.

In 1988, at the time of the heirs’ estate sale, this baton was purchased by Fréderic Pfeffer and added to his collection. 

 

In his work entitled “Richard Wagner, His Life, His Work, His Century,” author-biographer Martin Gregor-Dellin published a handwritten account of this premiere on September 12, 1862, stating:

« Wagner dirigierte am 12 Sept. 1862 in Frankfurt zum ersten Mal seinen Lohengrin. Er nahm das Vorspiel sehr langsam, und nach atemloser Aufmersamkeit brach grosser Jubel aus.

Dann kam es zu einigen musikalischen Zwischenfällen. Im ersten Akt setzte der Bassklarinettiste, der aus Platzgründen auf der ersten Sperrsitzreihe sass, um einen Takt zu spät ein und wurde von Wagner zum Schweigen gebracht. Im dritten Akt liess Ignaz Lachner hinter den Kulissen die Es-Trompeten zu früh los, so dass sie mit den von Georg Goltermann auf der anderen Seite der Bühne geleiteten E-Trompeten (Malsophon ?) zusammenfielen. Trotz dieser Störungen war der Gesamteindruck der Aufführung jedoch stark, und Orchester und Publikum brachten dem Komponisten Ovationene dar. »

English translation:

 Wagner conducted his Lohengrin for the first time on Sept. 12, 1862. in Frankfurt.  He attacked the prelude very slowly, and after intense concentration the audience burst into joyous applause. Then came a series of musical accidents.

In the first act, the bass clarinet, which because of considerations of space was placed in the hall’s first row, attacked a measure too late and was immediately silenced by Wagner.   In the third act, Ignaz Lachner sent in the B flat trumpets, placed in the wings, too soon, thereby clashing with the E trumpets of Georg Goltermann.  Despite these problems, the overall impression of the performance was very strong, and both the orchestra and the audience gave the composer an ovation.

The three items in this trunk, specially made by Louis Vuitton, are the baton that maestro Richard Wagner gave to Georg Goltermann, a bust of Richard Wagner conducting bhis orchestra by Viennese sculptor Carl Kauba, a photograph in postcard format featuring the composer (Edition BKWI ca. 1920) and a signed, handwritten 3-page letter in the hand of Richard Wagner, written in Bayreuth on January 27, 1876, addressed to a Berlin producer in which he explains at length his casting requirements for the Berlin premiere of Tristan in March 187.

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