Albert Hermann Dietrich (1829 – 1908)

Albert Hermann Dietrich

Albert Dietrich, picture from: Das Goldene Buch des Deutschen Volkes an der Jahrhundertwende,
Leipzig n.d. [around 1900], Abteilung Tonkunst, S. 52 (StadtMuseum Bonn)

Conductor and composer

Albert Hermann Dietrich received his first composition lessons at a young age at the musically oriented Kreuzschule in Dresden. During his studies of philosophy from 1847 to 1851 Dietrich took private lessons at the Leipzig Conservatory with Moscheles, Rietz and Hauptmann. In 1851 he moved to Düsseldorf, where Schumann was his mentor in composing. Between 1855 and 1861, Dietrich coordinated as municipal director of music the subscription concerts in Bonn. From 1861 to 1890 he was employed as conductor at the Ducal Chapel in Oldenburg. When it comes to composing, Dietrich was also very active and during his lifetime, he gained great recognition and popularity.
In Düsseldorf Albert Hermann Dietrich was soon admitted to Schumann’s closer circle of friends. He also became friends with Joseph Joachim and Johannes Brahms. From November 1852 onwards, many entries in Schumann's budget book report of walks with Dietrich, who even spent Christmas Eve with Schumanns. In 1853 Schumann had the idea of a jointly-composed sonata for Joseph Joachim: "Schumann suggested to us in a cheerful mood, to compose a violin sonata together. Joachim would guess then, of whom each movement would be." (from: Ulrich Tadday, Schumannhandbuch, 2006). This is how the FAE Sonata was accomplished together with Schumann and Brahms, whose first movement is by Dietrich. Schumann thought highly of Dietrich and called him in his famous essay "Neue Bahnen" an "aspiring artist."

How fond Schumann and Dietrich were of each other, show the mutual dedications. Dietrich dedicated his Piano Trio in C Major, op. 9 to Schumann, of which Schumann was thrilled and one week before Schumann’s suicide attempt, Dietrich received the dedicated collection of “Märchenerzählungen” (Fairy Tales) op. 132.

(Philip Förster)
Translation: Katharina Ma

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