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Die Barbarina

Composer: Neitzel Otto

Instruments: Voice Mixed chorus Orchestra

Tags: Operas

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Otto Neitzel was the second son out of six musically talented children of the teacher Gottfried Neitzel and his wife Louise, née Messerschmidt. At the age of eight he caused a sensation as a "Wunderkind" playing piano in his hometown Falkenburg and nearby cities (Dramburg, Kallies and Rummelsburg) in the Pommersche Schweiz, Pommern. In Stettin he was promoted by Carl Loewe, in Berlin by Eduard Grell (1800-1886), the violinist Hubert Ries and the composer Robert Tauber. Because his father was not able to finance his musical education his talented son was sponsored by patron Bernhard Loeser from the cigar manufacturers "Loeser&Wolff". (2) ("Tadellöser&Wolff", novel by Walter Kempowski) 1865 the young boy left home to become a quartaner at the Joachimsthaler Gymnasium in Berlin. He got piano lessons at the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst by Theodor Kullak, Richard Wüerst and Friedrich Kiel (according to Friedrich-Kiel-Gesellschaft e.V.).
From 1873 to 1875 he was a student of Franz List. 1875 he wrote his dissertation "Die ästhetische Grenze der Programmmusik" (The Esthetic Limit of Program-Music). He went on tour accompanying the sopran singer Pauline Lucca and the famous violinist Pablo de Sarasate on piano. (3) 1878 Neitzel became director of the Musikverein in Straßburg. From 1879 till 1881 he was music-director at the Straßburger Stadttheater and worked as a teacher at the Straßburger Konservatorium. Its Director Max Erdmannsdörfer recommended him as a representative for the German piano school at the Moscow Konservatory. He was offered a chair as "Imperatorial-Russian" professor. (4) He married his student, the alto singer Sophie Romboi. 1885 he became teacher at the Kölner Konservatorium. 1887 he became chief of the musical section of the "Kölnische Zeitung", where he published as a journalist. 1887 was the debut of his first opera "Angela" in Halle a.d. Saale.
Excited about the new technical inventions, Neitzel recorded parts of Piano Concert No. 2 by Frédéric Chopin in Cologne among other musicians on 23 January 1890 in the last session of the Edison phonograph recording expedition through Europe. With this phonograph-wax-cylinder he left one of the oldest music recordings still in existence. In the winter of 1906/07 he was invited to play and hold lecture recitals in the United States, where he played Beethoven's G-major concert in Philadelphia and Boston, directed by Karl Muck. In 1909 Neitzel directed Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and his Choral Fantasy. Because of its success Muck encouraged him to direct the orchestra, but Neitzel rejected the offer.
In 1910 Neitzel tried out a new technical facility for recording music for the second time: The Welter-Grand-Piano, with whom he recorded some of the "Davidsbündler Tänze" by Robert Schumann on paper-tape-rolls. (C) He was acquainted with Richard Wagner and Richard Strauß, who he supported. In 1919 he became member of the Preußische Akademie der Künste in Berlin. He held a chair as a professor. He died on 10 March 1920 in Cologne, where he left behind four daughters. One became a piano player and another played harp in an orchestra. Neitzel wrote plays and published steadily: His work enfolds 6 operas and several music pieces for piano. Among them adaptions for piano, like "The spanisch dances" from Sarasate, 1878. As an author for music literature he had written several opera guides including one about Richard Wagner, books about Beethovens symphony's and about Camille Saint-Saëns. His entertaining style of writing is exemplified in "Out of my musical potofolio" ("Aus meiner musikanten-Mappe").
The Kölnische Zeitung reports on 27 January 1890 from Neitzels music record: "Herr Wangemann, the real Edison apostle who received the honor of demonstrating his instruments to the German Kaiser invites local musicians and music-lovers to see and listen to the phonograph, which he exhibits at Ibach & Son at the New Market. It maybe that the handling was not always accurate, but with the fresh made cylinders there was nearly nothing to hear of the mentioned disturbing, abnormal sounds. A recorded piano rendering by the phonograph resulted the truest details, delicacy nuances, every blue and every false note. A gypsy band and a Vienna tenor were clearly audible on earlier cylinders. The machine, that was not shown a greater audience, was specially prepared for musical recitals". (B) Original Article: ("Herr Wangemann, der echte Edison Apostel, der nämliche, welcher die Ehre hatte, dem deutschen Kaiser seine Apparate vorzuführen, beehrte einige hiesige Musiker und Musikfreunde mit Einladungen zur Besichtigung und Anhörung seines bei Ibach Sohn am Neumarkt aufgestellten Phonographen. Es scheint doch wohl, daß die Handhabung dieses Instruments nicht immer mit der nötigen Sorgfalt betrieben wird; denn von den sonst erwähnten Nebengeräuschen war namentlich an den frisch angefertigten Cylindern kaum etwas zu spüren. Ein auf dem Phonographen aufgenommener Claviervortrag ergab die getreulichste Zeichnung jeder Nuancenfeinheit und -freiheit, jeder verwischten Note, jedes unrichtigen Tons. Von frühern Cylindern waren eine Zigeunerkapelle und ein Wiener Tenorist besonders deutlich vernehmbar. Der Apparat, der nicht öffentlich gezeigt wird, war für die Aufnahme von musicalischen Vorträgen besonders eingerichtet.") Works Compositions
Singel Evidences
From 1873 to 1875 he was a student of Franz Liszt. He composed several operas. Neitzel died in Cologne)