Article Index








  1. Münch to Pound December 8 1936. In an undated letter (probably late December 1936 or early January 1937) Münch wrote to Pound: “I wished you would hear my latest composition, a concerto da camera for 13 instrumenti – I think that is allright. I wrote it for a price-competition in Belgium, 15 January.”

  2. This composition has not been located. In “Concerts of March 29 and April 1” published in March 27 in Il Mare, Pound referred to this composition as a “kind of Mass for full orchestra, organ, solo voices and mixed choir, which we have reason to believe will arouse great interest. We can also list among his compositions a sonata for violin and piano, a string quartet, a concerto for thirteen instruments, and several adaptations of music by old authors, no longer performable today failing the original instruments for which they were written.” (Schafer 424).

  3. It had been in Father Desmond Chute’s private home that Münch offered an all-Scriabin recital on July 12, 1933. Pound announced that concert in Il Mare, together with the article “AntiScriabin,” July 8 1933.

  4. Schafer does not specify which adaptation by Münch of a Vivaldi concerto was performed on April 1. We may suppose it is the Op. 6 No. 1 (stored at the Beinecke Library) which Münch mentioned in the February 13 letter to Pound when discussing the programs to perform in March: “we could stick into this my transcription of Vivaldi’s sol minore Concert” (Letter February 13 1937).

  5. “Stett is in India. Not back before 22nd of February. Will pass throu Capri. if he doesn’t help me I’ll starve – nice outlooks!” (Münch to Pound on February 8 1937)

  6. “If you could stick it a couple of years more we have a chance. These Hungarians make a lot of things possible that weren´t possible the week before last. They are interested in MUSIC. God dam THAT is very different from being interested in success. The latter being a necessary damned nuisance. I ought to have insisted SOONER on your getting into the Naples library. However, we’ve got time before next spring. Must have FOUR unpublished numbers of old music, preferably Italian. That the six of you…DON’T start talking about this chance yet. and above all don’t mention it to Stoliquid. We simply can NOT compete in the Italian market. (Pound to Münch March 7 1937).

  7. Vera Lawson recalls: “If someone had advised us then-1937! If someone had reduced to the ridiculous the argument: “I cannot depend upon your family”! If the ill-concealed surprise on the face of my good mother, brothers and sister had not swayed so clearly in front of me: “here is Vera again, married to a penniless musician!” Unto the third generation! Does one pay so heavy a penalty for having been born into a family which is kind, upper-middle-class, with no knowledge of the muses? Bless their hearts and curse their ignorance. We came to Germany. So much for the prologue.” (Germany Prologue)

  8. Münch to Pound October 25: “I got today the whole of Vivaldi fotostated (5 films, everything existing here).” In May 1938, Pound told his friend that he had received 609 pages of photocopies of Vivaldi from Dr. Jammers in Dresden. Agnes Bedford reported later that when she visited Rapallo in 1938 she found the poet totally preoccupied with transcribing the Vivaldi works from the microfilms of the Dresden manuscripts he had recently obtained (Schafer 384).

  9. Münch had previously worked with Hindemith in creating works for pianola and had received a composition prize from him in 1926. Pound wrote to Münch: “IF you see Hindemith, we might include him. But it wd eat into the money, and one cd/ just as well pledge him for NEXT year” (Feb. 1939).

10. “I am constantly busy to run after my chances and to enlargen possibilitys [sic] and therefore I would not be astonished if I ended up by being famous or “stupide et respecté (Remy)” (Münch to Pound, May 5, 1938).

11.  “I am overworked but glad I met Furtwängler who seems highly interested.” (Münch to Pound, June 26, 1938).

12. Pound’s letters of January 18 and 28 show he was trying to have Münch’s quartet performed by the New Hungarian Quartet, to whom he sent the score. This could be an interesting lead as to the whereabouts of this piece, which has also not survived to the Münch-Medina Archive.

13. In February 1938, she got an article on Procida (Italy) accepted by Harpers Bazaar Magazine, “for which she was given the astonishing somma di 75 dollari” (Münch to Pound February 22 1938), but in early April 1939, she had Diminuendo rejected by the American publisher Harold Ober (Münch to Pound April 18, 1938).

14. See Münch’s poetry collection Erdleben/“Vida Terrenal” (1947-1951), published in Labyrinthus (45-133).

15. Walter Dirks, Frankfurter Zeitung, March 18, 1939. All musical reviews translated into English by Walter Baumann.

16. Alexander Berrsche, Münchener Zeitung December 6, 1939.

17. Rudolf Hofmüller, Völkischer Beobachter December 5, 1939

18. Münch to Pound, May 20, 1938.

19. The scores of his piano works are now available in a comprehensive edition published by Ediciones Coral Moreliana.

20. The following are short excerpts from the critics which illustrate each of these aspects:

Sense of form: “He topped this sequence with the Handel Variations by Brahms, one of the most precious works in the piano literature. Everywhere one sensed the unifying thread and experienced at the same time how a highly developed technique was employed for a spiritual penetration of a musical work of exquisite beauty” (Günter Haußwald, Dresdner Nachrichten, December 8, 1939).              

Expressiveness: “Characterized by a vivid sense for style and an exceptional strength of feeling and expression, his great skill is supported by a powerful musicality (Ernst Smigelski, Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten, March 16, 1939).        

Technique: “The (seemingly) effortless mastery of the most difficult piano techniques is stupendous, but the musician controls and guides the technician.” (Walter Dirks, Frankfurter Zeitung, March 18, 1939).

21. Heinz Joachim, Frankfurter Zeitung, March 14, 1940. Here another commentary on the same subject: “Fantasy by Schumann was in every respect a highly significant achievement. Here there was sweep, enthusiasm, in short, genuine Romanticism and yet still noble artistic discrimination.” (Walter Petzet, Dresden, December 9, 1939).

22. Translation from German by Emily Ezust.

23. In the same letter (March-April 1939), Ezra said: “There is No reason for not putting in CONTRAPUNTO all over the place, a good improvisatory presumably would have played something IN thosespots. [sic] I (E.P.) shd/ have wanted a dozen tryouts to HEAR where they fitted and where they merely clogged or obscured the TEXT. The IDEA. The clarity of the CONCEPT is what matters/ more and more am fed up with composers who have NO musical concept.” As to Münch’s dilemma whether to cut material from the Vivaldi concerto, Pound replied: “The temptation to CUT I felt with the Agamemnon/ but IF one starts one leaves INSUFFICIENT BODY.

24. In an April 1939 letter to Pound, Münch went so far as to ask Pound to provide Vera’s mother with a good reference!

25. Münch to Pound November 15, 1939.

26. Lawson to Pound January 8, 1939.

27. Lawson to Pound January 8, 1939.

28. The critics were Dr. Carl Benedict (Münchener Zeitung April 1, 1940, Rudolf Hochmüller (Völkischer Beobachter April 2, 1940), Richard Würz (Münchner Neuste Nachrichten April 1940), and Heinz Joachim (Frankfurter Zeitung March 14, 1940).

29. Gerhart Münch’s polyphonic playing of Frescobaldi and Bach appears in its power as extraordinarily healthy, and one admires the pianist for how much he knows how to adjust in a classical sonata not only the dynamics, but also the touch to the totally different styles” (Richard Winzer, Berliner Lokal Anzeiger December 11, 1942).

30. Lawson, Germany, chapter IX: “…the Gestapo moved from the city center very near to my front door-step. An excellent target for bombs! Curiously enough the tiny garden-house still stands intact in all its pristine ugliness with nothing but ruins in its neighborhood. I went through one air-raid standing in its little hall, cut off by what looked like a sea of flames from the more substantial cellar of the boarding-house. For some inexplicable reason I had not heard the siren’s warning and awoke to the crash of falling bombs. My faith was badly shaken that night in its protecting walls. The twenty minute raid seemed an eternity, alone in the darkness. Incendiary bombs had exploded in the garden giving the illusion of impassible sheets of fire. As a matter of fact, I could have dashed through them with a singed skin as the worst consequence, but it was quite impossible to judge the situation from where I was standing. I can frankly say I have never known such a fear before or since.”

31. See Germany IX. From this same chapter: “The distrust, the envy, the hunger and the general atmosphere of horror reached its concentrated peak in the winter of 1944. It was evident to us who listened to the B.B.C and the “black” broadcasting stations that Germany was losing her war.”

32. Vera wrote “The Germans themselves officially admitted that 330 000 people were killed, burnt, blown up.” This wrong figure was surely taken from the German Government falsified casualty figure published in March 1945.

33. Another reference to Munch’s battle with diphtheria appears in a letter to Eva Schumann: “Eva, I know from my own experience how it happens – the stations of my post-diphtheria ordeal are before my eyes; I struggled with death incessantly afterwards and often had the jolliest ideas. But that was an exceptional time, five months before the end of the war and a total change of destiny. No wanderer crosses the dawn – but I liked this illusion back then and I owe it partly my (curious) survival.” (December 1951. Tr. Roxana Preda).