The 25th anniversary of the Loewe-Verein is being observed with a concert put on by bass-baritone Hermann Gura (1870-1944), the son of the Wagnerian singer Eugen Gura, who was part of the original 1876 Bayreuth festival and became a legendary Hans Sachs. Hermann Gura is a known “Loewe apostle.” (Die Musik noted approvingly that he was on the way to fulfilling the legacy of his father. In 1911 he would become Director of the Komische Oper after the departure of Hans Gregor for Vienna.)
- There is one piano performance tonight, by Mariannina l’Huillier, playing Bach-Liszt, Raff and a Sonata in E op. 24 for piano and violin by Sylvie Lassari. Hubby Merrick Hildebrandt is assisting on the violin. (A review observed that “she doesn’t have a lot of respect for the beat or for rhythm.”)
- The Philharmonic’s popular concert tonight is a “Beethoven-Abend,” with the first three movements of the Ninth Symphony and the Violin Concerto, with concertmaster Anton Witek as soloist. There was also a “Beethoven-Abend” last evening! And Fidelio is the opera tonight.
Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld is giving a lecture at the Singakademie on “Sexuelle Zwischenstufen,” which I translate as “Gender Fluidity.” It is advertised as for ladies and gentlemen, even though there is a slide show (!). Dr. Hirschfeld founded the world’s first homosexuals’ rights group in 1897, and proposed that year to reform the infamous Paragraph 175 statute from 1871, which criminalized homosexuality. He will be an important witness at the Moltke-Harden court case in October. (There is a chapter on him in Robert Beachy’s Gay Berlin (NY: Vintage, 2014) and extensive treatment of the Moltke-Harden scandal in Martin Duberman, Jews Queers Germans: a novel/history (NY: Seven Stories, 2017).
Lectures and readings by authors take place both in big concert halls and in smaller salon-like spaces. Many address topics just as controversial as gender fluidity. Speakers in 1907 include feminists Lily Braun and Helene Stöcker; sociologists Werner Sombart and Georg Simmel; writers Else Lasker-Schüler, Peter Altenburg, and Heinrich Mann; designer Henry van de Velde, and popular science writer Wilhelm Bölsche. (Just typing all these names makes me feel over-civilized!) In their different ways, they all address symptoms of what they see as the all-encompassing problem of “modern culture.”