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Julius Stockhausen / Emanuel Wirth

The Estate of Renate Wirth

In 2011, Brahms-Institut was bequeathed the estate of Renate Wirth. Both her grandfathers were renowned musicians and belonged to Johannes Brahms’ circle of friends: Emanuel Wirth, who played as a violist in the famous Joachim-Quartett since 1877, and the singer Julius Stockhausen.

Both partial estates are of extraordinary importance in terms of musical history. Especially important for research are the personal libraries of both musicians, with many first and early editions. Numerous working copies of both performers feature copious notes and markings, documenting musical practice of their period. Private photo albums with many previously unknown photographs of famous composers and performers, including Joseph Joachim, Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Theodor Kirchner, Clara Schumann, Hans von Bülow, and Gioacchino Rossini, also possess great iconographic importance.

Julius Stockhausen and Emanuel Wirth, as well as, later, Renate Wirth maintained contacts with many artist personalities, so that many handwritten letters were kept in the estate, including letters from Max Kalbeck, Carl Reinecke, Kurt Thomas, Carl Orff, Max Friedlaender, Hugo Riemann and Julius Röntgen. Views of the lifeworld and musical culture of the nineteenth and early twentieth century can be gained from the repertoire lists of the Joachim-Quartett, the most pioneering quartet of Brahms’ period, and from a collection of concert programs.

Guest books, poetry albums, and other family documents reflect the variety of the estate. An especially lovely piece is Stockhausen’s ivory baton, which the conductor received in 1864 in gratitude from the women of the Hamburg Sing-Akademie for his services as musical director, a position that Brahms himself would have liked to have held.

Sarah Hodgson began working on the scholarly preparation and indexing of the holdings in October 2014.

Project Title:
Julius Stockhausen / Emanuel Wirth
The Estate of Renate Wirth

Project Completion: 2019

Project Lead:
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sandberger

Project Team Members:
Sarah Hodgson M. A.

Funded by:
Possehl Stiftung