Julius Stockhausen 

In 2011, the Förderverein des Brahms-Instituts was donated part of the estate of Julius Stockhausen’s granddaughter Renate Wirth. The rich source material made possible new approaches to research on the life and work of the singer.

Stockhausen, who during his lifetime was very well known in the music world as a singer, conductor, and teacher, was born in Paris in 1826 as the son of a harpist and a singer. He received his vocal training at the Paris Conservatory before making a name for himself in the German-speaking world as a singer, specializing in particular on Brahms, Schubert, and Schumann, performing at intimate recitals as well as at subscription concerts and music festivals.

In the mid-1860s, a position as director of the Philharmonische Konzerte and the Singakademie brought him to Hamburg, a position that Brahms had also entertained taking at the time. After holding other positions as a conductor and teacher, Stockhausen founded his own voice school in 1880.

The baritone frequently held concerts with Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann, with whom he shared a close artistic friendship since the 1850s. His song interpretations, praised by audience and critics alike, and his new programming concepts made him a pioneer of German song culture. Julius Stockhausen was especially significant for Schubert reception. Until many years after Schubert’s death, it was common to perform only a few select songs from the composer’s song cycles. Stockhausen already worked intensely on this literature and its rhetorical presentation during his training, and it was due to him that the cycles were rediscovered in their entirety. He performed the complete Die schöne Müllerin for the first time in Vienna in May 1856.

In early October 2014, Sarah Hodgson began working with the extensive source material. In the framework of a doctoral position established for this purpose, funded by the Possehl-Stiftung, she is currently preparing a study on Julius Stockhausen based on the papers from the estate.  The extensive source material, including letters, photographs, text books, and scores with the singer’s own handwritten comments offer a unique possibility for gaining insights into the singer’s life, musical practice, and aesthetic convictions in his interpretations of texts and music. Since until now none of Stockhausen’s recordings have been found, the sources with their numerous markings can allow us to reconstruct his artistic work as a performer.

 

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