Einstein, Alfred

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Einstein, Alfred

Einstein, Alfred, eminent German-born American musicologist; b. Munich, Dec. 30, 1880; d. El Cerrito, Calif., Feb. 13, 1952. He studied law before pursuing training in composition with Beer-Walbrunn at the Munich Akademie der Tonkunst and in musicology with Sandberger at the Univ. of Munich (Ph.D., 1903, with the diss. Zur deutschen Literatur filr Viola da Gamba in 16. und 17. Jahrhundert; publ. in Leipzig, 1905). He greatly distinguished himself as the first ed. of the Zeitschrift fur Musikwissenschaft (1918–33); he also was the music critic of the Munchner Post (until 1927) and of the Berliner Tageblatt (1927–33). After Hitler came to power in 1933, he went to England. Following an Italian sojourn, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1939 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1945. From 1939 to 1950 he was prof, of music history at Smith Coll. in Northampton, Mass. Einstein was an outstanding music scholar, ed., and critic. Although some of his writings have been superseded by later scholarship, they remain brilliant in style, vivid and richly metaphorical, and capable of conveying to the reader an intimate under-standing of music of different eras. His study The Italian Madrigal (1949) was a particularly notable achievement. Einstein was the ed. of the rev. editions of Riemann’s Musik Lexikon (Berlin, 9th ed., 1919; 10th ed., 1922; 11th ed., aug., 1929); he also ed. Riemann’s Handbuch der Musikgeschichte (Leipzig, 2nd ed., rev., 1929) and prepared an augmented German tr. of Eaglefield-Hull’s Dictionary of Modern Music (1924) as Das neue Musiklexikon (Berlin, 1926). His rev. of KocheFs Chronologischthematisches Verzeichnis samtlicher Tonwerke Wolfgang Amade Mozarts (Leipzig, 3rd ed., 1937; reprint, with suppl., Ann Arbor, 1947) was valuable in its day. He contributed many scholarly articles to learned journals, Jahrbucher, Festschrifte et al. He likewise ed. works by Marenzio, Gluck, Antico, and Mozart, as well as The Golden Age of the Madrigal (N.Y., 1942).


Geschichte der Musik (Leipzig, 1917; 6th ed., rev., 1953; Eng. tr., 1936; 5th ed., 1948, as A Short History of Music); Heinrich Schutz (Kassel, 1928); Gluck (London, 1936; Ger. ed., 1954); Greatness in Music (N.Y., 1941; Ger. ed., 1951, as Gross in der Musik}’ Mozart: His Character, His Work (N.Y., 1945; 4th ed., 1959; Ger. ed., 1947; 2nd ed., rev., 1953); Music in the Romantic Era (N.Y., 1947; 2nd ed., 1949; Ger. ed., 1950, as Die Romantik in der Musik); The Italian Madrigal (Princeton, N.J., 1949); Schubert: A Musical Portrait (N.Y, 1951; Ger. ed., 1952); P. Lang, ed., Essays on Music (N.Y, 1956; 2nd ed., rev., 1958); Von Schutz bis Hindemith (Zurich and Stuttgart, 1957); Nationale und Universale Musik (Zurich and Stuttgart, 1958); C. Dower, ed., Alfred Einstein on Music: Selected Music Criticisms (N.Y. 1991).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire