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WILHELM TAPPERT - COMPOSER
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Autographed 5.5” x 8.25” one page manuscript of a canon written to the poem, “Die Maulbronner Fuge” from Joseph Viktor Scheffels volume of humorous song lyrics, “Gaudeamus”, Berlin, November 11, 1895.

Scheffel’s (1826-1886) Gaudeamus, Lieder aus dem Engeren und Weiteren  (Gaudeamus, Songs from the Engeren and Others) was published in 1868. It is a book of song lyrics mainly gathered from the Engeren lake district in Norway.  The Maulbronn Fugue is German in origin from a town which is situated between Stuttgart and Karlsruhe.  Moreover it is a drinking song from the Maulbronn Monastery. (Now an UNESCO protected World Heritage site.)  The poem contains the single musical bar at the top in the book.  The final stanza in translation:

Ah me! what a dull day it is!
These are the times, hey, when people and cattle
Are scorching red-hot like the irons in a smithy!
Pour on them drops or long floods of cold water,
All would be swallowed and nothing be quenched.
Ah!--hey!--the matin bell still is a-ringing,
And I'm seized with a powerful yearning already
To go to the cloister, and down to the cellar!
Whether I'll tarry there steadily drinking
Until the night comes,
Or a loud clattering thunder in heaven
Breaks up this wearisome terrible heat,
I don't know,
Only my thirst is
Dreadful ....
Ah me! what a dull day it is.

Tappert (1830-1907) has set the poem to music as a canon in 12 bars and for three low male voices and given six of the bars text. 

Tappert is an interesting fellow, he was gifted enough a pianist to teach in Liszt’s pupil Carl Taussigs’ Berlin piano school from 1866 until it closed shortly before his death.  He started out as a seminarian destined for the priesthood, but decided his future lay in music and left to pursue musical studied in 1856. He went to Berlin to Theodor Kullak’s  Neue Akademie der Tonkunst which had opened the previous school year to study with Kullak and Siegfried Wilhelm Dehn.  When Dehn passed away in 1858 he decided his education was completer and he took a position as a teacher and critic in Glowgow, Poland.  By 1866 he was back in Berlin  teaching at Taussig’s school and writing criticism and articles on music for various publications including the “Klavierlehrer” and edited the important “Allgemeine deutsche Musikzeitung” from 1876 to 1880 when he got into some trouble for accepting bribes for favorable criticism at one point.  A confirmed Wagnerite, he published in 1877 a lexicon of abuse foisted on Wagner and his disciples by the public.  At his death, his library was purchased by the Berlin Staatsbibliothek.

  As a composer, Tappert arranged German folksongs, composed songs and wrote solo piano works, including a book of 30 Etudes for the left hand alone. 

Written on parchment, the ms bears creases and a few tears at the edges.  That said an interesting original musical setting of a poem by a real musical character!