Music at Municipal Schools

and the University

The first mastersingers’ school (Meistersingerschule) of Austria was founded in Schwaz before 1532. This foundation was probably favored by the roots of many of the ore miners being in the centers of mastersinging, Franconia and Swabia, and the link between the mining town and the copper traders of Nuremberg. Hans Probst of Schwaz had already composed a song about Emperor Maximilian’s journey to Rome in the mastersingers’ style in 1508. Hans Sachs reached Schwaz in 1513 on his hike through the Tyrol, yet there is no known contact between the poet and a mastersingers’ school in Schwaz at the time. The application of the Schwaz mastersingers to Innsbruck in 1532 for the permission to sing in public received a reply from King Ferdinand from Regensburg in the form of a decree that “such singing should be stopped.” After a repeated request in 1536 they were now allowed to perform “on holidays tolerably, modestly and to no one’s disadvantage, and nothing Lutheran, but what suffices and serves for the glory of God.”[13] Their meetings took place in the courthouse. Around the middle of the 16th century, a mastersingers’ hall (Meistersingersaal) in it was decorated with frescoes showing, among other things, figures from the mastersingers’ songs with references to didactic poems by Hans Sachs. Mastersinging in Schwaz probably grew silent around 1600. The hall lasted until it was destroyed in 1944 in the war.
The “Wilten Manuscript” of the German mastersingers containing 160 sacred and secular poems by Heinrich von Meißen (“Frauenlob”), Barthel Regenbogen, Heinrich von Mügeln and many others, including verbal references to the commonly known melodies at the time that were to be used, might have been compiled for a singing school around 1500 and was possibly also used in Schwaz. At least it was in the possession of Freiherr (Baron) Christoph von Wolkenstein at Rodeneck Castle from 1594 on, whence it went after 1860 from the book collection in the estate of the Wilten burgher Johann Kerer to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich (Cgm 5198).[14]
In the 16th century children also learned how to sing for the church choir at municipal schools. The magistrate of Bruneck called in the Innsbruck principal singer (Kantor) Zacharias Reich to teach at the municipal school and obliged him to provide choral singing in the church and teach plainsong to the children in 1592.[15] At the municipal school of Sterzing the boys were subjected to draconian discipline. Merely for disrespecting the obligation to fast, although all they got from the school was watery soup with bread in the mornings anyway, they were tied up in the presence of the curate and the schoolmaster and “the Salve Regina was sung so that, while they were being beaten with switches and punished, their crying, howling and screaming could not be heard in the streets over the pupils’ loud and constant singing.”[16]
For the pupils in Bruneck in the second half of the 19th century, music meant commendation. On the last day of school the best pupils were given a book award in the parish church; a great fanfare resounded at the presentation with trumpets, timpani, trombones and the organ with all stops pulled. Empress Maria Theresia had a “Collegium Nobilium” opened in Innsbruck in 1775 whose aristocratic residents attended public schools, though they learned additional languages and dancing, among other things, in the convent. Under Bavarian government in the Tyrol there were junior high schools in Innsbruck, Brixen, Trent and Meran from 1807 to 1809, where specialized teachers for music were appointed. A music teacher took up his post at the secondary school in Meran in 1813.[17]
At the beginning of the 19th century there were already several music schools in the Tyrol, but there was none of any importance before that opened by the Innsbruck Musical Society (Musikverein) founded in 1818. In Kufstein the choirmaster (Chorregent) and town clerk Matthias Pernsteiner (1795-1851) opened a music school in 1846. Others were opened in Bozen in 1856 and Rovereto in 1908. In 1907 the director of music and teacher Josephus Weber (1878-1968) set up a music school in Schwaz. The Wessiack family of bakers and musicians ran a private institution for musical education in Steinach on the Brenner Pass from 1908/09 on.[18]
Music played an important part at the University of Innsbruck. There was not only a dancing master teaching there from 1676 to 1810 but also festive music on many occasions, mainly at academic festivities. Trumpets and timpani sounded to accompany the entry of the graduates at the awarding of doctorates and the staff at swearing in ceremonies. The court musicians had long retained the privilege of playing on these occasions; they protested fiercely when students made music themselves at a graduation in 1712.[19] On the occasion of the birth of Archduke Leopold, about four hundred academics took part in a “festive procession with music” on 19 April 1716. In May 1739 Archduchess Maria Theresia, her husband Grand Duke Franz and his brother Prince Carl of Lorraine attended “an excellent concert given by academics from all four faculties.”Archduke Johann was “proclaimed [...] perpetual Rector Magnificus [...] to the sound of trumpets and kettledrums with the greatest ceremony” in the university auditoriumon 24 November 1800. For the procession of notables from the university to the university church on 30 April 1826 at the celebration of the restoration of the university, “the civic sharpshooters (Scharfschützen-Corps) under their head, Oberschützenmeister Count Trapp, formed the guard of honorand hadTurkish music played”.[20] In 1799 the Philharmonic Society performed Antonio Salieri’s cantata “Der Tyroler Landsturm”at the university. Students at the university had been meeting to sing in a choir since 1857; in 1863 they officially founded an Academic Choral Society (Gesangverein) that was occasionally conducted by Josef Pembaur the Elder (1848-1923) and his pupil Karl Senn (1878-1964).[21]


[13] Quoted as in Konrad FISCHNALER, “Die Meistersinger in Schwaz,” Ausgewählte Schriften: Geschichts-, Kultur- und Naturbilder aus Alttirol ed. Konrad Fischnaler, Innsbruck n.d., p. 122, 124f.
[14] Konrad FISCHNALER, “Die Meistersinger in Schwaz,” Zeitschrift des Ferdinandeums für Tirol und Vorarlberg 3rd series, no. 46 (1902) p. 301ff;
Bruno WIND, “Die ersten Meistersinger Österreichs - in Tirol,” Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 25 (1970) p. 672ff;
Erich EGG, “Die Meistersinger von Schwaz,” Schwazer Buch (Schlern-Schriften 85), Innsbruck 1951, p. 212ff;
Erich EGG, “Schwaz vom Anfang bis 1850,” Stadtbuch Schwaz: Natur-Bergbau-Geschichte, ed. Erich Egg et al., Schwaz 1986, p. 145;
Walter SENN, “Musik in Tirol: Älteste Nachrichten - Heldenlieder - Minnesänger - Spielleute,” Erläuterungen zur Kulturkarte von Tirol: Historische Stätten und Kulturdenkmale, ed. Ernest Troger, Vienna [1967], p. 24;
Berthold MÜLLER-KEPPEL, “Hans Sachs in Tirol,” Tiroler Heimatblätter 3, no. 7 (1925) p. 9;
Joseph GARBER, “Der Meistersingersaal in Schwaz,” Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, new series 6 (1929) p. 290 ff;
Konrad FISCHNALER, Innsbrucker Chronik 3, Innsbruck 1930, p. 8, 10;
Anton DÖRRER, “Vom Meistergesang bis zum Rokokosingspiel der Mühlbacher,” Der Schlern 34 (1960) p. 157f.
[15] Josef HIRN, Erzherzog Ferdinand II. von Tirol: Geschichte seiner Regierung und seiner Länder 1, Innsbruck 1885, p. 324.
[16] Quoted as in Adam WOLF, Lucas Geizkofler und seine Selbstbiographie, 1550-1620, Vienna 1873, p. 25f;
Manfred LINSBAUER, “Lukas Geizkofler und seine Selbstbiographie,” Veröffentlichungen des Tiroler Landesmuseum[s] Ferdinandeum 60 (1980) p. 46ff.
[17] Pauline and Karl MEUSBURGER, “Aus dem alten Bruneck (Ungefähr 1830-1870),” Der Schlern 4 (1923) p. 37;
Jakob PROBST, Beitäge zur Geschichte der Gymnasien in Tirol, Innsbruck 1858, p. 57f, 82f, 135.
[18] Philipp MAYER, “Musik und Volksmusik in Tirol und Vorarlberg,” Die österreichisch-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild, vol.: Tirol und Vorarlberg, Vienna 1893, p. 379;
Eduard LIPPOTT, “Kufsteiner Chronik (788-1918),” Kufsteiner Buch, ed. Franz Biasi (Schlern-Schriften 157/2), Innsbruck 1958, p. 46;
Johanna BLUM, “Bozen als Musikstadt,” Jahrbuch des Südtiroler Kulturinstitutes 8 (1973) p. 411, 432f;
Clemente LUNELLI, “Rovereto,” Dizionario Enciclopedico Universale della Musica e dei Musicisti, vol. 4, Torino 1984, p. 169;
Hans STERNAD, “Aus der Geschichte 1850 bis 1980,” Stadtbuch Schwaz: Natur-Bergbau-Geschichte, ed. Erich Egg et al., Schwaz 1986, p. 314;
Hans KRAMER, “Beiträge zur Kultur- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte von Steinach (im 19. und zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts),” Veröffentlichungen des Tiroler Landesmuseum[s] Ferdinandeum 54 (1974) p. 159.
[19] Jakob PROBST, Geschichte der Universität in Innsbruck seit ihrer Entstehung bis zum Jahre 1860, Innsbruck 1869, p. 7, 12, 27, 57, 67;
Monika FINK, “Der akademische Tanzmeister unter besonderer Berücksichtigung seiner Tätigkeit an der Universität Innsbruck,” Tiroler Heimat: Jahrbuch für Geschichte und Volkskunde 58 (1994) p. 102ff;

[20] Jakob PROBST, Geschichte der Universität in Innsbruck seit ihrer Entstehung bis zum Jahre 1860, Innsbruck 1869, p. 100f, 143f, 329f;
Franz Carl ZOLLER, Geschichte und Denkwürdigkeiten der Stadt Innsbruck und der umliegenden Gegend 2, Innsbruck 1825, p. 103, 377.
[21] Ernst KNOFLACH, “Von Gänsbacher bis Pembaur,” Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 25 (1970) p. 699;
Karl LEIPERT, Hundert Jahre Tiroler Sängerbund 1860-1960 (Schlern-Schriften 211), Innsbruck 1960, p. 81;
Walter SENN, Karl Senn (1878-1964): Aus dem Leben und Schaffen; Werkverzeichnis, Innsbruck 1978, p. 8f.