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Publishing house based in Munich; publisher of Schenker's periodical Das Meisterwerk in der Musik.

Drei Masken Verlag: history

Drei Masken Verlag was established in Munich, at Karolinenplatz 3, in November 1910 exclusively to publish theatrical works (hence "three masks") and music, especially music for the theater. In 1912, its founder, Ludwig Friedmann, opened an office in Berlin, at Friedrichstraße 129, and in 1922 in Vienna, at Wallnerstraße 4. In 1920 he launched a publishing division for music literature; the 1920s also saw an ambitious expansion of its range of interests, including politics (including works by Max Weber), memoirs, and expressionist literature, which helped to make Drei Masken Verlag among the top 10% of the 177 publishing houses in Munich ‒ a significantly larger publishing center than Vienna.

As a Jewish firm, Drei Masken Verlag was confiscated by the Nazis, and in 1934 its music division was separated (as Dreiklang‒Drei Masken) from its theater and book divisions. Shortly after the end of World War II, permission was granted by the Soviet authorities to resume publication of theatrical works in Berlin; this operation was moved to Munich in 1951. The music branch survives today, in Berlin, as part of the Dreiklang-Dreimasken Bühnen- und Musikverlag.

Drei Masken Verlag and music

Drei Masken Verlag developed a sizeable music catalog. This included:

Facsimiles: high-quality reproductions of the autograph manuscripts of the J. S. Bach "Kreuzstab" Cantata, Beethoven piano sonatas Op. 78 and Op. 111, Brahms Four Serious Songs, Handel duet "Qual fior," Mozart Piano Trio in E-flat major, Schubert "Unfinished" Symphony, and Wagner scores of Meistersinger, Parsifal, Tristan und Isolde, the Siegfried Idyll, and the Prelude to Meistersinger.

Monographs: the second edition of Guido Adler's Richard Wagner: Vorlesungen (1923), Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Musikgeschichte, edited by Adolf Sandberger, and the series Musikalische Stillehre in Einzeldarstellungen, edited by Hermann Waltershausen, Monographien zur Russischen Musik, edited by Oskar von Riesemann, and Zeitgenössische Komponisten, edited Waltershausen (monographs on Klose, Debussy, Bittner, Pfitzner, Reger, Schilling, Schmid, Schreker, Strauss, Thuille, and Zilcher).

Journals: Mozart-Jahrbuch (1923‒29), edited by Hermann Abert; four volumes of the Sammelbände für vergleichende Musikwissenschaft (1922‒23), edited by Carl Stumpf and E. M. von Hornbostel, vol. 4 of which was Béla Bartók, Volksmusik der Rumänen von Maramures.

Drei Masken Verlag and Schenker

As a consequence of a rancorous dispute with his principal publisher, Universal Edition, Schenker turned to Drei Masken Verlag in November 1924 through the agency of his former pupil Otto Vrieslander, who lived in Munich, with a view to its taking over publication of his journal Der Tonwille (see OC 54/2, 4, 5‒7). Drei Masken Verlag chose to distance itself from UE and Tonwille, and opted for a different title and annual publication. By June 1925 negotiations were complete, the elected title being Das Meisterwerk in der Musik.

The complex typography and unusual music examples in the acoustics and ethnomusicological transcriptions of the Sammelbände perhaps allowed the publishing house to feel it could handle the intricacies of Schenker's work ‒ there are similarities in layout and formatting between the Bartók volume and Meisterwerk; and with Schenker's agreement the publisher modeled Meisterwerk directly on the typography and layout of the Mozart-Jahrbuch (OC 54/23 and 25).

From November 1924 to January 1927, the musicologist Alfred Einstein was a major correspondent on behalf of Drei Masken Verlag, the musicologist and bibliographer Otto Erich Deutsch serving a similar role from January 1927 to July 1932; and Otto Vrieslander acted as the in-house editor for music examples and voice-leading graphs. By December 1926, with the failure of the second volume to appear, the parties were threatening to resort to the courts (OC 54/109), and relations continued to be difficult thereafter. Each of the three volumes was published in the summer of the year following that given on the title-page, i.e. in 1926, 1927, and 1931, respectively.

Drei Masken Verlag correspondence

One of the largest correspondences among the Schenker papers, the bulk of the material is preserved in OC 54, which numbers 384 items (not all correspondence). That file includes approximately 120 letters, postcards, and telegrams from Drei Masken Verlag to Schenker, mostly under the publisher's Munich or Vienna letterhead, many of them with the signature "Demblin" (possibly August Demblin, whose Czernin und die Sixtus-affaire was published by Drei Masken Verlag in 1920), often cosigned with another official of the publishing house or Alfred Einstein.

OC 54 also includes approximately ten drafts or copies of letters from Schenker to the publisher; the finished letters are not known to survive. Numerous postal receipts survive for items dispatched in both directions, many of them for items not known to survive. There are also many letters and postcards from Otto Erich Deutsch, Otto Vrieslander, the letterpress printer Mandruck, the engraving firm Waldheim-Eberle, and the engraver Georg Tomay concerning Drei Masken Verlag business.

Seven items from the Berlin office of Drei Masken Verlag to Heinrich and Jeanette Schenker are preserved as OJ 10/11 (1932‒39), and OJ 35/8 contains 57 leaves of financial transactions between Heinrich and Moriz Schenker, Anny Wollner, and Drei Masken Verlag (1922‒31).


  • Wittmann, Reinhard, Hundert Jahre Buchkultur in München (Munich: Hugendubel, 1993)
  • Drei Masken Verlag website: (accessed Dec 29, 2011)
  • Drei Masken Verlag catalog 1926 (OC 54/190)
  • Finding aids for OC and OJ


  • Ian Bent with William Drabkin

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