Robert Schumann Research e.V
Zwickau office of the Robert Schumann Research Centre (Robert-Schumann-Forschungsstelle e.V.)
Research assistant: Dr Ute Scholz
Robert Schumann House
Within the scope of tributes to Schumann on the occasion of the centenary of his death in 1956, the Schumann Society in Frankfurt, established in 1956, and the Schumann Society in Zwickau, revived in 1949 and then again in 1957, felt obliged to embark on a new edition of Schumann’s complete works but had to eventually give up on this undertaking due to the policy of partition of Germany in the 1960s. Although these adverse conditions continued to exist, the Schumann Society in Düsseldorf, established in 1979, came back to this idea and in 1982 decided to carry out the ambitious project for good. After the Union of German Academies of Science and Humanities had agreed in 1985 to incorporate a new complete edition of Schumann’s works into their support programme(cf. http://www.adwmainz.de), a Robert Schumann Research Centre was opened in April 1986. All parties involved were aware that a new historico-critical complete edition in which all the compositions had to be prepared most carefully and be presented as a whole in line with the current status of editorial techniques in musicology, could only be accomplished by integrating and processing the extensive source holdings located at the Robert Schumann House in Zwickau. For this reason, contacts with Dr Martin Schoppe, the then director of the Robert Schumann House, and his later successor, Dr Gerd Nauhaus, were intensified very rapidly. In spite of the complicated political circumstances, a new and even friendly contact with the Schumann researchers in Zwickau was developed. It was achieved still during GDR times that both sides could take part in various colloquia and conferences in the FRG, at which, along with content aspects, such as an edition plan and editorial principles, possibilities for intensifying cooperation between Düsseldorf and Zwickau were discussed time and again. This is how Martin Schoppe took part in December 1986 in a colloquium on the new complete edition of Schumann’s works in Mainz. In February 1988, Gerd Nauhaus was able to attend a briefing at the newly established Robert Schumann Research Centre in Düsseldorf, at which an interest in cooperation with the support of the GDR was expressed. However, it has to be pointed out that, prior to German reunification, cooperation between the Robert Schumann House in Zwickau and the Research Centre in in Düsseldorf often proved very difficult and sometimes experienced quite some adventurous and partly even dangerous moments. Despite great efforts by the Zwickau scholars and assistants, straightforward access by researchers from the “West” to the sources held over there was badly impeded if not impossible altogether. Still, all opportunities for cooperation were utilised. Eventually, the Schumann House became an institutional partner to the New Complete Edition of Schumann’s Works – sanctioned even by the Ministry of Culture of the GDR, which was demonstrated not least through a note on co-editorship on the title page. This was not just acliché. Without the participation of Zwickau, the new complete edition would not have been conceivable. Participation of publishing houses, however, such as for the New Edition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Works, was not possible during GDR times for reasons of capacity.
The responsible persons at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz and other major boards became well aware of the significance of the extensive source material held in Zwickau. Thanks to the initiative of the Mainz Academy and above all to the commitment of Dr Hanspeter Bennwitz, the then person in charge of musicological editions, it became possible in February 1992 to establish another staff position of the Robert Schumann Research Centre in Düsseldorf at the Robert Schumann House in Zwickau.
The aim of this staff position is, along with processing its own volumes involved in the complete edition and in support of the Research Centre in Düsseldorf, to review and prepare the source material held at the Robert Schumann House for the complete edition and to make it available to the respective external editors of the volumes via the Research Centre. This activity also relates, of course, to other areas, such as participation in a joint electronic data processing system or the data exchange between Düsseldorf and Zwickau. Even if various document holdings have been entered in databases and various sources been digitised already, the electronic documentation and cataloguing of the extensive source holdings will still take some time.
Another and not less extensive area of responsibility is participation in the editorial and publishing tasks of the Robert Schumann House and of the Robert Schumann Research Centre. All this is done with a view to a speedy publication of the volumes of the complete edition, and to deepening and intensifying cooperation between the two central establishments of Schumann research in Zwickau and Düsseldorf.
Ute Scholz, Robert Schumann Research Centre in Düsseldorf, staff position in Zwickau, January 2006
Translation 2013 by Thomas Henninger
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