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American musician and teacher, advocate of Schenker's theories in the USA.

Career Summary

The Waldeck family name was originally Dzyjivenetnik. Upon emigration to America, Arthur's parents changed it to "Waldeck," borrowing the name from the famous French Prime Minister, René Waldeck-Rousseau (1864-1904), who settled the Dreyfus Affair and legalized trade unions (1884). Arthur's son, Lewis Waldeck, later remembered his paternal grandmother, an amateur violinist, fondly as "an old Viennese anarchist." Taking after his mother in his political associations, Arthur was a "Lovestoneite" in the 1930s (after Jay Lovestone [1897-1990], one of the founders of the American Communist Party). It was during this time that he made a living as an accounting clerk for a fur importer while studying Schenker's works; his wife, Ellie, was a grade-school teacher. While Waldeck's family background had prepared him well in Schenker's culture and language, his politics were at the opposite end of the spectrum; fortunately, that subject never came up in their correspondence.

Later, Waldeck was active as a voice teacher, having maintained a studio in Carnegie Hall in the 1940s and 50s. As a voice teacher, he was gentle and supportive, but he is also remembered as a "systems man" in his early years, who at times could be inflexible in his later teaching. Two of his articles on vocal pedagogy, "Excellent Singing" (1953) and "Voice and Voice Training" (1960) are also in the Mannes Collection.

Waldeck and Schenker

Waldeck was one of the pioneers of Schenker studies in America, who completed the first translation into English of Schenker's Harmonielehre , and translated portions of Kontrapunkt and Der freie Satz . It was his translation of Harmonielehre that formed the body of Oswald Jonas's project when it was accepted for publication by the University of Chicago Press in May of 1952. (The translation by Elisabeth Mann Borgese eventually replaced it as a result of criticism of the project by pre-publication reviewers.)

Waldeck attended at least one seminar taught by Hans Weisse (attended also by Nathan Broder), and he also studied Schenker's work with the composer Israel Citkowitz. Waldeck's personal library of Schenker's works, nearly complete and covered with copious marginalia in shorthand, demonstrates prolonged and serious engagement with Schenker's works. Two typescript copies of his 419-page translation of Harmonielehre are also in this collection. All these materials were preserved at the library of the Mannes School of Music, and are now held in the Archives & Special Collections library of The New School, New York, NY 10016, as MP.0008.01, boxes 1 and 2.

Correspondence with Schenker and Others

Correspondence from Schenker to Waldeck survives as OJ 5/44 (1929-34: 4 items), that from Waldeck to Schenker as OJ 15/7 (1929: 1 item), and OC 18/34-36 (1932-34: 3 items); four items between Waldeck and both Schenkers now survive in the Archives & Special Collections library of The New School; his correspondence with Oswald Jonas as OJ 36/69 (c1951: 1 item) and OJ 36/241 (1950-52: 7 items); other correspondence as OJ 71/8 (1951: 2 items) and OJ 71/38 (1951: 1 item).

Bibliography:

  • Waldeck, Arthur & Broder, Nathan, "Musical Synthesis as Expounded by Heinrich Schenker," Musical Mercury ii (1935), 56-64 [photocopy as OJ 58/22]

Sources:

  • Conversations with Lewis Waldeck (1935-2004; son), Mary Waldeck (daughter-in-law), Erika Waldeck (grand daughter); Prof. Joel Newman (retired from Columbia University Music Faculty; studied with Arthur Waldeck, 1937-38); Dorothy Curzon (husband studied voice with Waldeck in the 1940s)

Contributor:

  • Robert Wason

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Correspondence

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