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THE MUSIC COLUMN     
_________________

 by Heriberto Cruz Cornejo

 

 

 

 

munch by chute

Desmond Chute. Portrait of Gerhart MünchCourtesy of Massimo Bacigalupo, 2017 

 

 

FROM ARCADIA TO HELL:

THE FATE OF GERHART AND VERA MÜNCH, 1937-1947

 

 

INTRODUCTION

In 1933, Olga Rudge listened to the German pianist Gerhart Münch play Bela Bartok in Venice and recommended him to Ezra Pound as a major drawing card (Conover 126). A friendship then started between Münch and Pound, which would last for decades. Gerhart lived in Italy from 1933 to 1937: next to Olga, he was the main protagonist of the first two seasons of the Rapallo concerts Pound organized and promoted (1933-35). Studying Pound’s life and work in this period has made it possible to have a sidelight on Gerhart’s life and activities as well. Münch returned to Germany in late 1937 and stayed there for ten years. This time of his life has never been studied before. Now, thanks to the collaboration between Roxana Preda (UK) and Tarsicio Medina (Mexico), it has been possible to corroborate dispersed documentary sources and provide a glimpse into Münch’s life after Rapallo, so as to answer a few pressing questions: Why did Gerhart return to Nazi Germany in 1937? Was he successful as a pianist and composer in his homeland? What were his compositions and what happened to them? What did he do during the Second World War and how did he survive it? The Pound-Münch correspondence housed at the Beinecke Library, as well as documents in Germany and Mexico, such as relevant musical reviews of the period and Vera Lawson’s wartime memoir, Germany 24 Hours a Day, have made this reconstruction possible.

This article is divided into three parts: “The return to Germany, 1937”; “The pre-war period, 1938-1939”; and “The World War and after, 1939-47.” In a second installment of this investigation, we hope to go into greater detail on Münch’s life after he left Germany in 1947 until his death in Mexico in 1988.

 

A large part of Gerhart Münch’s musical and literary works have been published by Maestro Tarsicio Medina, a former piano student and now Münch’s heir and promoter. Medina’s editions of the works housed at the Muench-Medina Archive (Morelia, Mexico) include more than 100 music scores, various cd-s, the poem collection Labyrinthus, and Metaphysiche Marginalia und andere Schriften, both in a German-Spanish edition. Vera Lawson’s Germany 24 Hours a Day is forthcoming in 2017. The author of this article would like to thank Maestro Medina for the unpublished texts and illustrations from this archive that he agreed to make available, as well as for the copyright permissions for the texts and performance recordings included here. Thanks as well to Roxana Preda for her editing help, and to Maria Prause, who introduced me to the work of R. Preda. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to Walter Baumann, who deciphered the Gothic script and translated the German musical reviews discussing Münch’s performances before the war.

 


 

 

 

THE RETURN TO GERMANY, 1937

 

 

 

In January 1937, Ezra Pound received a personal letter from his friend Gerhart Münch, who had left Rapallo two years before to live in Anacapri. His wife, Berthe, had suddenly left him. This disaster had happened on top of desperate financial and professional difficulties that Münch was having in Italy. He told Pound that he was considering moving to the USA to work as a composer for film music. He was being kindly helped by an American family.  It was probably Vera Lawson’s, an American poet who had been living in Italy for eight years and whom he would marry in September 1937.

Although Münch was working hard and trying to combine his activities as pianist, composer, and editor, he was in serious financial difficulty. On February 13, regarding a series of three piano-violin recitals he and Pound were planning for March, Münch wrote “I have not a penny left and live actually on debiti. So you better send me a ticket. Damned. And my work is so intensely running as never before. Longing to be out of the muddle.” Münch was working hard: two months before (December 1936) he had just finished a camera-concerto for 13 instruments,1 he was orchestrating an opera by the Italian composer Francesco Santoliquido (which he considered a means for earning a living) and was working on his “Midnight Mass,”2 a work he hoped to be successful and provide him with further opportunities. 

Münch had left Rapallo in the summer of 1935 (Schafer 383; Preda 148). Father Desmond Chute, who had been a co-organizer of the Tigullian concerts, rebuked the local public for letting him slip away unnoticed (Schafer 383).3 In March-April 1937, Münch took part in the Rapallo concerts for the last time. On March 13, Pound lamented the small audience the New Hungarian Quartet concerts had had on February 18 and announced the "Return of Gerhart Münch" in Il Mare, praising Munch’s musical integrity and his extended repertoire, the seriousness and the supreme beauty of his performances (Schafer 432). The 1937 Rapallo concert season had featured the pianist Luigi Franchetti in February. In an undated letter, Pound suggested to Gerhart to include Chopin in the program “simply for establishing YOUR power as a pianist. It is a protective measure.” Except for Chopin, the programs had a similar structure as the ones they had in 1933 and included “what was presumed forgotten, and what was brand new composition, the very old work juxtaposed with stark modernity” (Preda 143).

The concerts took place on March 18 and 29 and on April 1 and were performed by Olga and Gerhart. The programs were the following (Schafer 423-24):

  

 March 18, 1937 March 29, 1937   April 1, 1937
 G. B. Pergolesi. Three sonatas for violin and piano.  A. Vivaldi. Concerto in D major Op. 3 No. 9. (Rudge-Münch)  A. Vivaldi. Concerto. G minor. Adapted by G. Münch.4
 J. Matelart. Fantasie.  J. S Bach. Concerto in D major, adapted from a concerto by Vivaldi. (Münch)  J. S Bach. Sonata and fugue for violin and piano.
Cesare Negri Milanese. Pass’e mezzo.   J. S. Bach. Concerto in A minor. (Rudge-Münch)  A. Honegger. Sonata for violin and piano.
Giovanni Picchi. Padovana (piano). Fr. Chopin. Polonaise Fantaisie Op. 61. (Münch) Béla Bartók. Sonata for piano.
J. S Bach. Sonata in G major (violin and piano). Fr. Chopin. Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor. (Münch) Béla Bartók. Allegro Barbaro.
I. Stravinsky. Serenade and Rag music.    
 

 

Pound was aware of Münch’s permanent financial struggle and was frequently lending and/or giving him money (Preda 149). Münch had been receiving the help of two other friends as well. One by the last name of Stettenheimer, who was expected to be back from India after February 22. The other one was John Knittel (formerly Hermann Emmanuel Knittel), a Swiss anthropologist and writer who was in Egypt at the time. Münch wrote to Pound:

Could you explain to me what a bank is good for? My friend Knittel gave order to the Banque populaire union to send me some money (every 21st of the month).  Nothing came. I inquired. They wrote back “difficulties of clearing” meanwhile my debts increase, increase. Wouldn’t it be much easier to send a vulgar postal order? Now I am in a terrific mess. I hope to get something from Egypt before I leave.5

Pound suggested to Münch to consider remaining in Italy two years more. He was excited about new musical possibilities opened by the collaboration with the New Hungarian Quartet, and trying to get Münch more engaged in old music research and arrangement.6 Pound was also trying to obtain copies of Vivaldi manuscripts from the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden, and in July, he asked Münch to ask his father to help with that task. Gerhart replied on July 20 that he was not comfortable with requesting his father’s help, especially that the copies would be costly; his marriage plans with Vera Lawson were in an advanced stage and financial difficulties made a future unclear. It was too late to go on as before, Gerhart had had enough of living on debts and dreams. On May 9, he wrote to Pound that he longed for a settled income “my longing to leave the island and to find a job is increasing; Vera too feels this way for the same reasons,” and that he and Vera considered moving for a while to a cheap “country like Greece or North Africa.” In June, they had discussed moving to the USA and Gerhart wrote to Pound on the 16th: “I still don’t know if we go to America and stay there. The German-Question politically embarrasses me.” Vera’s family was not keen to support the marriage and the hope for financial help the couple expected from them finally vanished in July 1937. This bad news made financial pressure came to a peak and Münch decided to seek temporary refuge and help with his parents in Germany:7

The trouble is that we get married without a penny because Vera’s mother for reasons we both ignore seems not able to give the money she had promised by the time (She sends telegrams every week, once saying yes, once no). So very probably we ought to go to Germany where I see myself before the uneasy job to ask my parents to help us out of the first month’s dilemma. Rather hard and unpleasant enough after soft Italian habit’s. (Münch to Pound, July 20 1937)

rsz img 1922 1Vera and Gerhart married on September 1, 1937. By October, they were in Dresden with his family, and he told Pound that he had the whole of Vivaldi photostated. The 609 pages in microfilm reached Pound by May 1938.8 On October 25, Münch told Pound he and Vera would be probably back to Rapallo soon. Plans for concerts in Rapallo for the spring 1938 season went on until late November 1937 (at least on Pound’s part, when he sent the last three letters in this regard) and foresaw the possibility of inviting Hindemith to the concerts, but whom they decided not to involve because of lack of funds.9 Pound, in a first stage, postponed the New Hungarian Quartet to 1939 in order to be able to pay Münch’s expenses for the February 1938 recital reason. In the end, the concerts in February 1938 in Rapallo were carried out without Münch. He let Pound know that he would remain in Germany on the 2nd of December 1937:

I am going to live in Germany permanently, that is to say, for at least five years. Unfortunately, as you know yourself, there are nowadays no chance for artists who live out of their own country, if they have to earn their money. Our financial situation would not allow us to continue the kind of “ideal” life as before. We must try very concentratly [sic] to get free of “family support”.

Vera and Gerhart did not know yet that they would spend the next ten years in Germany. Vera provides a slightly different but similar perspective:

Crossing the border into Bregenz I began the prayer to the past. Cypress-trees, olives, the deep unending blue of the Mediterranean at the foot of Capri cliffs. We had buried our hearts beneath that water, and with newly married determination had turned our backs voluntarily on Arcadia because the only chance for a German musician to make a living was in Germany. Well-meant words from America shortly before our marriage in Naples tipped the trembling balance. “Good musicians are having a difficult time here. Stay in Europe.” I.E. Go to Germany. So we went to Germany intending to remain there for two years, and then go via European concerts to America. (Germany Prologue)

 


 

 

 

 

BEFORE THE WAR, 1938-1939

 

 

 

The first months in Germany saw the Münch-Lawson couple trying to adjust to the new environment and making their best efforts to push forward their careers, Gerhart as a pianist/composer and Vera as a writer.10 Münch was counting on possible opportunities of doing work for the Munich Radio. In June 1938, he announced to Pound that two compositions from 1938, a Trio and a Cello sonata, had been accepted there for performance; however, this did not happen as late as March 1939, and there is no further evidence in the Münch-Pound correspondence that the pieces were finally performed. Münch’s visit to John Knittel in May 1938 in Switzerland also attests to his efforts to make his way through as a composer. He wanted to meet Wilhelm Furtwängler, hoping that the conductor would play his Midnight Mass, a work he had started in late 1936, but which has not survived. Although Münch was optimistic after this encounter11 we have no sign that Furtwängler acted in Münch’s favor in any way.

To sum up, Münch composed a trio, a cello sonata, and a piano concerto in 1938 (this might be Capriccio Variato, a work premiered in 1942 in Augsburg). Though he had been optimistic about opportunities to show his compositional work to the larger public, he did not succeed in having these, nor the 1936-37 works (Midnight Mass, Concerto de camera, and a String Quartet12 ) performed. In the words of Vera Lawson:

The climb to recognition was grilling up-hill work for my husband. Neither of us could wag our tails like well-behaved poodles in the “salons” to which we were once invited and usually never again. Neither of us would have any contact with a party organization…. (Germany II).

In the same vein, Münch told Pound in a letter of April 12: “I could work with the Party, but until now preferred not to do so.” On her part, Vera was also finding it difficult to make a career. The few published texts and the fact that some manuscripts were lost during WWII makes it hard for us to know more about Vera’s work as a writer during these years.13 Southwind in the Alps and Yesterday are two poems referring to the years lived in Germany. The first one is representative of the attachment to nature the couple shared throughout their lives. The importance nature had for Vera and Gerhart is reflected not only in some of their poems, or in Münch’s philosophical affinities,14 but also in their life choices: whether in Italy, Germany, USA, or Mexico they always preferred living in small rural areas, or places which allowed access to natural environment. In the two years before the war, the couple frequently visited the nearby woods and came back to Italy’s coast for short holidays.

Southwind in the Alps.   
Blown near,     
Across the still imprisoned fields,   
By your hot breath;   
The winter hills approach     
To lay the hoarded iron of their years        
Upon the silver gleam           
Within my soul. (
Seasons/Estaciones, 32)

Yesterday is a reference to their previous life in Italy, a country whose relaxed lifestyle, weather, food, and Mediterranean landscapes they were continuously missing while in Germany.

Yesterday    
Within your heart grew once the roots of olive trees,      
And through your blood there coursed the richness of pressed oil.       
Dark ivy cast its leaves in shadow on your soul;   
You once were wrapped in dust blown from a fragrant earth.   
Across the evening hills slow hours threw their veils,      
Or cypress-tress lay black upon the moon-gold soil;         
Then in you deepened night while waiting in the dawn,
And from the coming sun two flames glowed in your eyes.        
Oh thus I saw you once clothed in a laughing light,         
And drank the singing wine again within your words. 
(Seasons/Estaciones, 21)

 

Münch - A Pianist in Germany.

When Münch returned to Germany, the musical circles were not familiar with his name. Münch had given his very first recital at the age of 9, in 1916, and at 13, he played Franz Liszt’s second Piano Concerto with the Dresden Philharmonic, conducted by Edwin Linder; he also performed the same work in Berlin, Leipzig, Munich, Brussels, and Zürich (Schafer 333). He graduated from the conservatory at 15. Then in 1926, at the age of 19, Gerhart started traveling around Europe, especially in France and Italy. After his return to Germany in December 1937, he was not booked for a piano recital until October 1938, a performance closely followed by another one in November. Both concerts were tremendously successful and led to two more recital seasons in March and December 1939. The word spread around quickly and Gerhart was soon regarded as a pianist “who belongs to the first rank of German pianists, way above the level of the star virtuosi” 15; “the last scion of an extinct race of giants” 16; “a master of the piano of the highest class.” 17 Judging from the 23 rave reviews kept in the Münch-Medina archive (spanning 1938-1943, some of them referring to the same event), it can be easily inferred that Münch would have made a brilliant career in Europe - probably similar to that of Walter Gieseking, to whom he was compared - had the events of the WWII not prevented it. Critics noticed the discrepancy between his piano ability and his fame, and attributed it to his having spent the last ten years (1927-1937) away from the German piano scene. To make matters worse, Münch’s first concert agent was a brother of the famous pianist Wilhelm Backhaus, who, according to Vera, “was a poor one” with a “lack of interest and corresponding ability to pocket cash” (Germany chapter VI).

The following are the October/November 1938 and March 1939 programs:

 

 October 1938  March 1939
 Fr. Chopin. Ballade in F minor.  R. Schumann. Sonata in G minor.
 J. S. Bach. Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major.  J. S. Bach-Busoni. Toccata in C major.
 Fr. Chopin. Impromptu in F sharp.  Fr. Chopin. unknown piece.
R. Schumann. Sonata in G minor. R. Bocquet. Sonata.
M. Ravel. Gaspard de la nuit. F. Liszt. Twelfth Hungarian Rhapsody.
G. Münch. 3 Etudes pour piano. M. Ravel. Gaspard de la nuit.
  A. Scriabin. Sonata in F sharp No. 3 Op. 23.
  G. Münch. 3 Etudes pour piano.
 
 

Three important musical preferences that Münch had throughout his life reappear in these programs: early, romantic, and contemporary music. As they included Bach, Scriabin and Ravel, these programs were in some respects similar to the ones performed previously in Rapallo. Except for the 1933 June recitals of Mozart sonatas for violin and piano (Schafer 331) and a few Chopin performances, which Pound allowed occasionally, classical and romantic music were absent from the Rapallo programs. This time, romantic music made a strong show.

Modern and contemporary music was always present in the Münch 1938-1943 piano recitals, as the programs show. He included composers like Scriabin (1872-1915), Ravel (1875-1937), Roland Bocquet (1878-1956), Federico Mompou (1883-1987) and Luigo Perrachio (1883-1966). Later he would premiere in Mexico the music of Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mario Lavista, and many others.

Münch’s own compositions did not exclude the influence of Scriabin and early music. From the earliest pieces  in the Münch-Medina Archive, the Trio of 1938 suggests a creative space allowing Münch to explore a romantic expressiveness which he was sure wouldn’t please his admired friend Ezra Pound. He wrote he was “writing a Cello-Sonata and a Trio, but too romantic for being used in Rapallo...”  and that he was “sure you will disapprouve [sic] with the compositions but there is not much to do about ones Credos.”18 The theme of the first movement is illustrative of a romantic pathos of the work:

rsz cornejo 2

Some features of this Trio illustrate how Münch integrated the various interests he had as a musician in his compositions: the influence of Scriabin’s harmony surely came from his pianistic repertoire, in which Scriabin was one of the favorites, while the highly contrapuntal writing, some modal-like melodies tinged with added chromaticims and modal progressions might have derived from his recent experience as transcriber and arranger of early music to be performed and/or researched at Ezra Pound’s suggestion. Scriabin was to remain an important influence in Münch’s music throughout his life, as is proven by his piano works: Cuatro Presencias, Prelude Tenebreux and Poem Lunimox, Un petit rêve,19 Scriabin dixit (flute and piano).

In writing about Münch’s performances, most German critics agreed on an organic sense of form, an outstanding technical skill, strong expressiveness, and ample dynamic range.20 Thus, the return to Germany seems to have opened a new creative space for Münch, both as a composer and pianist, in which his bond to romanticism was freely expressed. From the pianistic stance, more surprising than the constant references to a romantic expressiveness in the criticisms, is the question posed by the music critic Heinz Joachim, who wondered if “the pianist preferred this (romantic) art because it corresponds to his nature most, or because he regards it as a complement to his being?”21 From a philosophical point of view, Detlef Kehrmann established that Münch’s life and oeuvre share a common metaphysical foundation, a number of whose features can be identified as romantic: a certain “Unbehagen in der Kultur” (“cultural uneasiness”), an exaltation of the Dionysian aspect in life and art, an interest for the archaic and the mythical in ancient Greece, and a re-enchantment of nature as a contrast to and shelter from the technologized world (Kehrmann 11). Apart from matters of nuance, these preferences and desires have an uncanny similarity to Pound’s own.

The ideas and the semantic dimension in this list is reflected in Münch’s article “Musik and Malerei” (“Music and Painting”)The following excerpt addresses romantic composers and music, revealing Münch’s conception of what a composer is and how the philosopher Ludwig Klages influenced his understanding of the link between art (poets) and Dionysus:

A Chopin or Scriabin, aren’t they creators of works that had never been imagined before and cannot be paraphrased by analogy? Are they not terrifyingly like the one-god and his powerful and violent will to legislate? On the other hand, in its comfortable completion, is not the late-romantic music precisely expressing the turmoil, longings, and stirrings of that from which, in his deep loneliness and abandonment, godless man is cut off? Scriabine finally appears as a telematic vessel and crystalline concentration of musical elements that have a life of their own. With his effort to give them back to the macrocosmos, but also with his consecrating sacrificial gesture, which submits to an egocentric brain, he forces us to face the banishment of threatening storms in which danger and magic are equally revealed as in man-willed clangor. When Klages says about poets that they are “all and each followers and late devotees of Dionysus,” it seems that the fatal destiny of the musician is to be the opse, the tragic latecomer. (Metaphysische Marginalia 254. Tr. Roxana Preda)

By the end of 1939, Münch could in fact have felt he arrived too late: he was just at the very beginning of a rapidly ascending career as a pianist - the 1939 December recital season had been his fourth in Germany – but at the same time was again witnessing a world war slowly unfold. In this context, on November 10 and 11, he composed settings to Hebbel’s poem Nachtlied (“Night Song”) and Lenau’s An die Melancholie (“To Melancholy”). The following lines from Nachtlied might well be read as a reference to his own feelings at the unfolding war:

Herz in der Brust wird beengt;       
Steigendes, neigendes Lehen          
Riesenhaft fühle ich’s weben,          

Welches das meine verdrängt.

The heart in my breast is crowded 
with the rise and fall of life; 
I feel it weaving about me, an immense thing
that squeezes mine out.22

Nachlied. Juan Arnulfo Tello, barítono, Miguel Valdés-Brito, piano. 

Also in November, he finished the Kreisleriana Nova, a century after Schumann’s first Kreisleriana, a four-movement composition premiered in the second and last recital season of 1939. There is at least a double romantic reference in this work. First, the title is an homage to Robert Schumann, the romantic composer per excellence. Schumann’s work in turn is an homage to another romantic character, Johannes Kreisler, a literary creation by E.T.A Hoffmann. Schumann described Kreisler as “an eccentric, wild Kapellmeister.” Kreisler was a sensitive musical genius and like Schumann, had few social skills. We may wonder if Münch did not identify himself with certain traits of Kreisler and Schumann. The piece was well received by the critics, who found it similar in spirit to Schumann’s work, perhaps due to the contrasting nature of the A-B-A sections in the 1rst, 2nd, and 4th movements. Reviewers also identified a multiple stylistic junction in this work, as did Dr. Herbert Meißner, who found in it links to both romanticism and impressionism (Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 7 December 1939).

Kreisleriana Nova II-IV. Heriberto Cruz Cornejo, piano.

Kreisleriana Nova IV. Heriberto Cruz Cornejo, piano. YouTube.

 

 

The months leading to the Second World War.

In a letter of March 8, 1939, Münch again apologized to Pound for not having a Vivaldi transcription ready yet. As ever since 1935, they had been discussing a possible visit to Rapallo. Various reasons seemed to have prevented Münch from doing the Vivaldi work. He had recently been requested to compose the music for a play, Don Gil, by Tirso de Molina, which, despite having gone “decently well,” was not a commercial success. Münch’s health had been changing from bad and worse, mainly due to a nervous trouble. Besides, he was about to start a tour, performing in Hamburg, Leipzig, Frankfurt and Berlin. On top of this, Münch was also finding musical dilemmas with the Vivaldi concerto he was supposed to work on. Although he found it “formed and well-shaped and neat…it is a bit thin and the ‘Virtuoso-Parts’ are sometimes empty…The difficulty: how to make Alive these 16 bars here and there. Without playing on contrapunto. I’d like to cut out a lot but I fear this will be considered as capital sin.” Pound suggested to present the same concerto in two forms: “one very simple and admittedly BARE and then the same one, dressed up a la MUNCH, a la Strawinsky or whomever.”23 This discussion was motivated by Münch’s plan to perform again in Rapallo. He proposed to include unknown German music in the recital program. Pound replied that Vivaldi was a “GOING Train. There is a mild Vivaldi boom/ pity that you haveing been on it at start, shd/let the kudos go to Casella etc/.” Pound accepted, for practical reasons, to do a mixed program, or to have recourse to a German composer. The concert did not take place: Münch was not able to travel to Rapallo before Pound’s trip to the USA in April 1939.

 


 

 

 

THE WAR

 

 

 

The documentary sources we can tap into so as to reconstruct Gerhart’s and Vera’s lives during WWII are scarce. The Münch-Pound correspondence went on with the same regularity in 1939 as in previous years, but there are only seven letters exchanged in 1940 (the last Münch one dated in April). It was in 1940 that Olga Rudge noted that a July 12 letter from Ezra was opened by censors (Conover 139). There are three more letters in 1941, and then the correspondence either stopped or did not survive to the archives. Fortunately, we have the 13 chapters of Vera Lawson’s memoir, Germany 24 Hours a Day. In it, she describes the life under war conditions and provides clever insights into the German environment from her position as an American, a writer, a woman, and wife of a luckless artist. Although the memoir gives lots of detail and much can be inferred from it, there are only very few names and dates in this work. Then, there is a noticeable decline in the quantity of music reviews once the WWII started: there are just four reviews in 1940, three in 1942, and one in 1943 in the Münch-Medina archive. The few music works that survived the war are also important for our understanding of Münch’s life. Finally, there is a graphic novel based on the memoirs of Alan Cope, an American soldier with whom the Münch-Lawson became friends at the end of the war.

In 1939, the political scene had increasingly worried Münch, who in March thought he would soon have to do military service, possibly as telegrafista (Letter to Pound March 8, 1939). The war started in September: by October, Münch thought he would be taken for military service as an interpreter (he spoke English, French, Italian, German and according to Alan Cope, had a good understanding of Latin and Greek). Despite Münch’s success with the audience and music critics in the March recital season, low finances and pressure from Vera’s family continued to be an issue.24 In August 1939, Münch was thanking Pound for a check, and new plans for concerts in Rapallo were being made. Münch suggested late December, after his recital season (in Munich, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, and Berlin again25). The Rapallo concert was again cancelled for various reasons. First, Münch fell ill at the end of his December 1939 recital tour,26 and in January 1940 his father too became seriously ill and was about to undergo an operation in Dresden. Münch had also an engagement in the Munich Radio on the 21st of January.27 At some point in 1940, he wrote five more lieder for baritone with texts by Brentano, Lenau, Eichendorff, Nietzsche.

Spaziergang. Juan Arnulfo Tello, barítono. Miguel Valdés-Brito.

In a letter to Pound on April 1, 1940, Münch told him he had performed 8 concerts and got a new musical agent: Hermann Kempf, from Frankfurt. The four reviews of 1940 in the Münch-Medina archive are dated March and April 1940.28 The following are the recital programs of December 1939 and March/April 1940:

 

Program December 1939 Program March/April 1940
Bach-Liszt. Fantasy and Fugue in G minor. D. Scarlatti. 4 Sonatas.
R. Schumann. Fantasy in C major. F. Lizst. Mephisto Waltz.
J. Brahms. Variations on a Handel-theme Op. 24. R. Schumann. Symphonic Variations Op. 13.
A. Scriabin. Sonata (possibly no. 9). F. Mompou. unknown piece.
M. Balakirev. Islamey. F. Chopin. Sonata in B minor.
A. Scriabin. Sonata No. 5 Op. 53.

 

In the same letter, Münch reported he had engagements for both solo recitals and orchestra performances. He was also busy transcribing his own works and apologized again to Pound for not having a Vivaldi transcription ready yet. Gerhart was hoping that his increasing fame would cause the Propaganda Ministerium to free him from military service, but he was drafted in spring 1940 (possibly late April or May). According to Vera,

He had no party protection, no nazi bonzen behind him - only the best press in Germany, which constituted a genuine recognition because it was not flavoured with brown adulation. Keitel himself crossed his name off a list of musicians considered to be too valuable to be thrown into battle. (Germany VI)

It is not known how many of the engagements as soloist Münch had mentioned to Pound he was able to fulfill. Vera recalls “watching colleagues who had managed to wangle their way free of military duty taking his place in concerts where he was to have been the soloist. We have a converging testimony about this from the music critic Walter Dirks, who in an undated review in the Frankfurter Zeitung remarked: “… in the choice of the soloist: Gerhart Münch, whom one would have liked very much to hear in Frankfurt for the first time with an orchestra, was kept away, as soldier.”

The first months, in Ingolstadt were devoted to training and Münch was assigned “to a construction unit that fixed roofs in the dead of winter” (Guibert 211). It must have been at this time that Münch received a make-believe-piano (a keyboard on a board) made by Vera for him to practice (Sheridan 225). This went on until Münch’s handwriting became unrecognizable and Vera decided to take this situation into her own hands. She sneaked into the military barracks and had an agitated discussion with a colonel. By showing him the music reviews, Vera tried to persuade him to discharge Münch from the army. He refused, but offered to transfer him to a post in Augsburg, where Münch could use his talent under a captain (Captain H.) who was a music-lover. Münch was transferred to Augsburg and his new duty was to prepare and play concerts for military audiences, with constant leave to do private work. Alan Cope provides a similar account of the transfer:

Vera battled with the local High Command until she finally got them to see that they were sacrificing a German artist for absurd reasons…So he played for the soldiers. That’s how he saved his hands, maybe even his life, but it was devastating for him. The whole time I knew him, he suffered from serious bouts of depression.” (Guibert 211)

It was also in Augsburg that Münch premiered his intense Capriccio Variato (for piano and orchestra) on the 27April 1942 (Medina 41). In Augsburg, Gerhart was able to live with Vera in a hostelry. According to her, the military concerts were well attended and enthusiastically received, "the exception to this rule, was generally when the rank and file were forced to enjoy themselves and quite honestly preferred a pair of pretty legs to Bach or Chopin" (Germany VI). In Canto 80, Pound makes a reference to these concerts:

or did they fall because of their loose taste in music        
"Here! none of that mathematical music!"
Said the Kommandant when Münch offered Bach to the regiment (LXXX/530)

Not only Bach, but also contemporary music was not completely welcome to audiences. A well-known German pedagogue complained to Vera about having to listen to Ravel and Debussy in a Münch recital (Germany II). Music critics never complained about the inclusion of Scriabin and Ravel, but in their reviews relegated them to the margins. The comments on Münch’s performance of Scriabin’s sonatas are noticeably shorter than those dedicated to romantic or baroque music.

It is not clear in what exact year Vera sent Pound a revealing letter marked only with an “end of June” date. The year is more likely 1941. In this letter, Vera tells Pound that Münch’s vacations from the army were used for concerts, and writes how weary she is of the constant uncertainty of never knowing when they (Gerhart-Vera) would be able to plan another musical season. In this year Münch might have composed the music for a new translation of Midsummer’s Night Dream (translated by Rudolf Alexander Schröder). The music for this play has not been located, however it has been suggested that the Shakespeare Suite, a piano work of 1951, might be based on this earlier orchestral piece. 1941 might also have been the year when Vera Lawson started publishing poems in the Frankfurter Zeitung. In November 1941, Münch told Pound he was asked to play in Rome in early December. It is very probable that they met in Rapallo. Münch said to Pound in a short note dated 1941: “arrivedici a Rapallo…and many thanks for everything you did for us!”  This might have been the last time both friends met in Europe. The Medina catalogue does not register any composition in 1941.

One single military recital program has made it to the Münch-Medina archive. It is dated March 1942, and the recital was shared with German pianist Otto Ludwig, Austrian tenor Julius Patzak and the Hungarian soprano Felicie Hüni-Mihacsek. Both singers belonged to the Munich State Opera. By the end of April, Münch had a recital in Frankfurt and also premiered Capriccio Variato (piano and orchestra) in Augsburg, on 27 April. In Brussels in late September, he premiered his new Concert d’Été for piano and orchestra with the Brussels Radio Orchestra with the “greatest of success (Dresdner Anzeiger 30 September 1942).

Capriccio variato. Rodolfo Ponce Montero, piano.

         In the same period, early Autumn 1942, Vera spent two months in an unusual “rest from bombs and the general strain of existence…as a paying guest on the small estate of the X family near Badenweiler.” In December Münch performed another recital in Berlin and he was back there again in January 1943 to critical acclaim.29 But then, Münch spent 8 months in Belgium starting March 1943. Vera recalls:

My husband was given leave for private concerts in Brussels in the early winter of 1943, due to the agitation of Belgian friends who wished to save him from the front; and to the dismay of the Propaganda Ministry who wished immediately to send him back again, not approving of his good standing in Belgian circles. A complete nervous breakdown, and eight months in a Belgian Lazarett foiled their plans, and led to his official discharge from the army in winter 1944 (Germany VI).

This nervous breakdown had various precedents. In 1935 Pound told Olga Rudge that “Münch has been nearly off his head with worry about his god damn country [Germany] . . . the problem of being interned in event of war” (Conover 122). Münch had reported more than once to Pound of having been handicapped by a nervous crisis (August 1938 and March 1939) and in a previous letter (probably 1941) Vera had also told Pound about Gerhart’s “battle with dark depressions. The Belgian military hospital referred to by Vera must have been the Hopital Français, where he finished the piano solo work Concert d’hiver. This is the only 1943 composition in the Medina catalogue. It is a four-movement work that surely reflects much of what his emotional state must have been during those difficult months - it veers from fierce and dramatic themes to melancholic and meditative parts.

Intermede, Part II of Concert d'hiver. Rodolfo Ponce Montero, piano. 

While Münch was in Belgium, Vera in Munich received a card requiring her presence at the Arbeitsamt [Ministry of Labour]: she was assigned to work in a munitions factory. She fled Munich for Moosburg, where she could stay without registering at the local police station. According to Vera, she had three powerful reasons to avoid Munich: the air-raids were increasing in frequency and violence; she wouldn’t work for Germany against the Allies of her own free will; and she feared for her life because she had

typed for further distribution forty copies of the protocol for which the three Munich students had been hung... After the papers had left my hand, I realized the typing could easily be traced to my French Remington portable… The mother-in-law of one of the victims had told me a few days previously that her house and telephone were being watched and I had better avoid her until matters quieted down. (Germany VI)

Vera might be referring to Christoph Probst, Hans and Sophie Scholl, the members of the resistance group The White Rose, executed on 23 February 1943. After a month in Moosburg, she was located there by the Arbeitsamt and received another card; she went back to Munich for a week and then returned to Moosburg again, managing to avoid working for Germany by continually moving about. In Moosburg, she took refuge in the house of a certain Frau Freudenberg, where she would meet some of the men who would later participate in the Free Bavarian Movement. Although while in Moosburg Vera used to wander through the countryside on a frequently unproductive search for eggs, butter or honey, she could recover some strength. She had been continually undernourished and only then could finish an opera libretto with a metaphysical theme that she had promised for Münch. The text and the music were burned to ashes in the 1945 Dresden air-raids. Although she was cared for and protected by friends, the news that she was American had reached the official ears in Moosburg. This coincided with Münch’s return to Dresden in October 1943. Vera moved back to Munich, where life (as elsewhere) was not easy: frequent air-raids,30 increasing denunciation, thefts, bribery; the supplies were difficult get and the black market was the main source of exchange.31 Vera wrote she “was alone in Munich, my husband avoiding the Volkssturm by living in Dresden with his mother, unregistered at the police station. I sent him his ration tickets each month via the Munich-Dresden train. In as much as I gave the conductor a package of cigarettes with the envelope containing the irreplaceable tickets, they always arrived at their destination” (Germany IX).

Münch was in Dresden with his mother, avoiding the Volkssturm [Nazi militias]. In early 1945 he experienced one of the most horrific bombings of the WWII. Between 13 and 15 February 1945, in four air-raids, British and American air forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of high explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. According to Wikipedia, an estimated number of 22,700 to 25,000 people were killed.32

Bundesarchiv Bild 146 1994 041 07 Dresden zerstörtes Stadtzentrum

Vera shares some of Münch’s impressions of the bombing:

My husband in fever-delirium so often spoke of a love-couple which he had stumbled over on a main cross-section, a boy and girl still embraced with tiny shrunken black bodies and huge heads a - ghastly travesty of youthful passion - that it has been seared photographically into my brain and has become the symbol of war to me… I was not there, but I have been through the Dresden terror so often that I feel as though I had experienced every minute of it, including the twenty terrifying minutes during which G. lay on one side of the street without protection and the phosphorous bombs rained down on the other side. I too met the frightened giraffe galloping away from the flames near the zoo, the old lady in her night-gown blinded by smoke, the grotesque drunken plunderers offering their looted brandy to whomever they met. (Germany XI)

After the Dresden bombings, Vera was anxiously waiting for news about Gerhart when she learned he was alive and on his way to Munich on foot. There she waited for a week until a young aviator told her that Münch lay ill with diphtheria in Bad Wiessee where he had arrived after walking more than 500 km. Vera found him “flushed with fever…I hardly recognized the red-eyed man, skeleton-thin, who greeted me with the words: ‘I could not find my mother.’” Vera moved him to an overcrowded and overworked hospital across the lake, where she took care of him. When Münch was discharged, they returned to Bad Wiessee, where they found it difficult to find a place to stay. Most landlords would not give them a room after discovering they did not have much with which to bribe them, and Vera struggled every week to obtain permission from the town hall to remain in the little town, despite having medical certificates stating the need for rest and recuperation. Not much later, Münch suffered an extreme post-diphtheritic paralysis:33

my husband could swallow no food, could digest nothing, his heart protested against the strain put upon it, his eye-sight suffered and he grew daily thinner, collapsing on the street, when out of bed, yet fearing to remain in bed because the possibility of a chance bomb dropping from one of the many planes flying over-head toward Rosenheim, Bad Tölz, Munich. We felt the end of the war drawing near, but I did not think he would live to realize it. (Germany XI)

According to Vera, during the last week of April 1945, a body of trained SS took over the town as American combat troops had already entered the mouth of the valley. On May 2, Bad Wiessee was under artillery fire and Vera dodging bullets and grenades ran through it to fetch a cart. She put Gerhart in the cart and escaped with him to the woods, where they hid in a cellar, joining the fifteen pregnant women that had fled the town earlier. At mid-night, they were advised to flee again “as a concentrated air-raid had been planned for the following night to eradicate the entire valley unless the SS. gave up the resistance. Due to Münch’s poor state of health, they could not leave with the others and had to remain in the cellar. The fighting continued all through Thursday. On Friday morning, wearily astonished to be alive, they discovered that American troops were patrolling the town.

After the war ended on May 8, Vera and Gerhart remained in Bad Wiessee for the following months, recovering from illness and undernourishment. Vera says she was the only American civilian in town and enjoyed a comfortable position with both the German population and American occupation army. Many Germans – including acquaintances, friends and strangers, some who had offered help and some who had denied help to her during the war - were suddenly requesting favours, perhaps out of fear of the American occupying forces. Vera remarked that “the third army combat troops greatly overvalued my talent for interpretation, but I enjoyed my position as unofficial go-between and a taken for granted exemption from the non-fraternization regulation.” It was in Bad Wiessee that they met American soldiers Jim Post and Alan Cope: Alan’s memoirs have been published in a graphic novel by Emmanuel Guibert (Alan’s War. The Memories of G. I. Alan Cope). Cope recalls:

They were renting the first floor of a small house in Bad Wiessee. There was almost nothing in it except a typewriter and a piano. They served us tea; we brought them cigarettes and a few bottles of wine. And Gerhart played. Jim Post and I spent unforgettable hours listening to a REAL pianist. He played all sorts of things, a lot of Chopin and Brahms. He also played some Scriabin, a discovery for me (Guibert 205).

During this time, Pound had been arrested in Sant’ Ambrogio and incarcerated in Pisa in an American Disciplinary Training Center under indictment of treason. From May to September 1945 he was not allowed to write or receive any letters. Neither Dorothy nor Olga, nor his daughter Mary was allowed any contact until 18 September. Two days later, Pound could write his first message to his wife in months. By October he was inquiring about Gerhart and wanted his son, Omar, who was a private in the U.S. Army of Occupation in Germany to try and find him. During these months of uncertainty and lack of any communication in the Pisan camp he wrote canto 75, an homage to Münch, which included the manuscript of the violin part of his reduction of Janequin’s Canzone de gli uccelli, which had become Pound’s favorite song after Gerhart had left Rapallo in 1935. The first lines suggest he knew or assumed Gerhart was in Dresden during the bombardment but did not know whether he was alive or dead:

Out of Phlegethon!     
out of Phlegethon,      
Gerhart
art thou come forth out of Phlegethon? (LXXV /470)

By the end of January 1946, Pound wrote to Dorothy: “Still no news Basil [Bunting], Nancy [Cunard], Vera & G. [Münch]” (Letters in Captivity 255). Two weeks later, he complained: “Still no news of Vera & G” (February 15, 1946, Letters in Captivity 271). Only in her letter of 23 March 1946 could Dorothy report that Omar had found them, knew their address but could not communicate directly as mail was not working between German towns and he would need an American friend in town to write to (Letters in Captivity 297). Dorothy was able to take up contact with Vera only on May 23, when civilian mail was allowed in Germany (Letters in Captivity 341).

Münch had a serious relapse in February 1946 which put his life in danger again. However, it was in 1946 that he returned to composition for the first time since 1943: Marsyas und Apoll is dated March 3 1946, in Wiessee. The first reference to Münch’s narrative text Hermotimos also appears in 1946 (Marginalia 37).

At a certain point, Münch was offered a music professor post by music critic Karl Holl at a music school he expected to found in Frankfurt (Medina 14), and he also applied for a job in the American Conservatory of Music in Heidelberg (Lawson 108). No further references have been found of either of these music institutions, and it is more likely that nothing came out of them. By a typewritten program kept at Münch-Medina archive, we may assume he resumed radio performances in July 1947. This shows that Gerhart did try to find work in Germany after the war. In 1947 Münch started writing ErdLeben, a poem in 14 cantos. From the Canto I of “Tanz ist alles” (February 21 1947) comes one of the very few sections which depart from the predominantly metaphysical theme and could be read as a reference to his personal circumstances:

Leere im Rücken, Chimärengebell!
Keine Umkehr!          
Starr den Blick auf die          
Stapfen im treibenden Sande geheftet:     
Leert noch ein Glas    
Auf die Leere!
            (Labyrinthus 46).     

Emptiness at my back, bark of chimera     
No return!       
Fixed stare on 
the deep footprints in drifting sand
Empty another glass  
To emptiness!
             (Labyrinth. Tr. Roxana Preda)

By September 1947, Gerhart and Vera went to Boston to live with Vera’s family, who “wanted Gerhart to make ends meet American style, meaning, play in fancy nightclubs” (Cope 239). He was really depressed, and so was Vera. The family sent them to a psychiatrist, who then told them: “It’s very simple. Leave them alone. Give them $400, a plane ticket for wherever they want to go, and say goodbye.” They went to California straight to Alan Cope’s house. Later they would live in the Big Sur, where Münch reconnected with Henry Miller. But that is another story.

 

 


 

 

 

 

NOTES
______

 

 

  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.   http://www.lieder.net/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=7377

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). 

 


 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY
_______________

 

 

Bacigalupo, Massimo. Ezra Pound. Un Poeta a Rapallo. Genova: Edizioni San Marco dei Giustiniani, 1985.

Conover, Anne. Olga Rudge and Ezra Pound. What thou lovest well…” New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001. Print.

Guibert, Emmanuel. Alan’s War. The Memories of G. I Alan Cope. New York and London: First Second, 2008. Print.

Kehrmann, Detlef. “El arte en su laberinto. Aproximaciones a la vida y obra musical poética de Gerhart Muench en su contexto socio-cultural.” Diss. Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, 2013. Web. 1 November 2016.

Lawson-Münch, Vera. Estaciones/ Seasons. Guanajuato: Universidad de Guanajuato, 1958. Print.

Medina, Tarsicio, ed. Gerhart Muench. Catálogo de Obras. Morelia: Tarsicio Medina, 1998. Print.

Münch, Gerhart. Labyrinthus. Gedichte/Poemas. Ed. Tarsicio Medina and Detlef R. Kehrmann. Tr. Detlef R. Kehrmann, Raúl Falcó, and Maria Brumm. Morelia: Fimax Publicistas, 2007. Print.

Münch, Gerhart. Metaphysische Marginalia und andere Schriften/ Marginalia Metafísica y otros escritos. Ed. Tarsicio Medina Reséndiz. Tr. Maria Brumm. Morelia: Fimax Publicistas, 2013. Print.

Paul, Catherine. “Ezra Pound, Alfredo Casella, and the Fascist Cultural Nationalism of the Vivaldi Revival.” Ezra Pound, Language and Persona. Ed. Massimo Bacigalupo, and William Pratt. Genoa: University of Genoa, 2008. 91-112. Print.

Pound, Ezra. The Cantos. New York: New Directions, 1998.

Pound, Ezra. Cantares Completos. Tomo III. Ed. Javier Coy. Madrid: Catedra Letras Universales, 2000. Print.

Pound, Ezra. Ezra and Dorothy Pound Letters in Captivity, 1945-1946. Eds. Omar Pound and Robert Spoo. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999.

Preda, Roxana. "Of Birds, Composers and Poets: Ezra Pound's Memoir of Gerhart Münch in Canto 75." Paideuma: Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 42 (2015): 141- 170.

Schafer, Murray, R., ed. Ezra Pound and Music. The Complete Criticism. London: Faber, 1978. Print.

Sheridan, Guillermo. Toda una vida estaría conmigo. Oaxaca: Almadía, 2014. Print.

Music works:

Münch, Gerhart. “Kreisleriana Nova.” In Sus obras para piano solo. Ed. Tarsicio Medina Reséndiz. Morelia: Ediciones Coral Moreliana, 2013. 1-26.

Münch, Gerhart. “Marsyas und Apollo”; “Scriabin dixit.” In Flauta y piano (1946-1976). Ed. Tarsicio Medina Morelia. Ediciones Coral Moreliana, 2005.

Münch, Gerhart. Capriccio Variato für Klavier und Orchestra. Morelia: Ediciones Coral Moreliana 1996.

Münch, Gerhart. Sus obras para piano solo. Ed. Tarsicio Medina Reséndiz. Morelia: Ediciones Coral Moreliana, 2013.

Münch, Gerhart. Trío für Klavier, Violine und Violoncell 1938-39. Morelia: Ediciones Coral Moreliana, 2001.

Archive material.

Lawson, Vera. Germany 24 hours a day. Münch-Medina Archive.

Münch, Gerhart. Autobiographical Notes. Münch Medina Archive.

Münch, Gerhart. Correspondence with and Eva Schumann. Sächsische Landesbibliothek, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden. Mscr.Dresd.App.2706, 930-936.

Musical reviews of Münch’s performances 1937-1943. Münch-Medina Archive.

Pound, Ezra. The Ezra Pound-Gerhart Münch correspondence. YCAL MSS 43 Box 36/ 1502-1505.

Performances of Gerhart Münch’s compositions

Kreisleriana nova. Perf. Heriberto Cruz Cornejo. Soundcloud

Capriccio variato. Perf. Rodolfo Ponce Montero, Juan Trigo, Sinfonietta de las Américas. Soundcloud .

Intermede. (Part II of Concert d’hiver). Perf. Rodolfo Ponce Montero. Soundcloud .

Illustrations

Gerhart Münch. Pencil portrait by Desmond Chute. In Bacigalupo 20.

Trío – Score page. In Trío für Klavier, Violine und Violoncell 1938-39. Morelia: Ediciones Coral Moreliana, 2001.

Gerhart and Vera on their wedding day. Capri, 1 September 1937. Münch-Medina Archive.

Dresden bombed. German Photo Archive. Wikipedia.

Münch-Medina Archive address:

Tarsicio Medina Reséndiz.

Franz Liszt 230, La Loma. Apdo. Postal 324

58290, Morelia. Michoacán, México.

For further information on Gerhart Münch´s music editions, recordings and books please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.