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Austrian mezzo-soprano.

Margarete Bum (née Pollak), whose husband was Dr. Rudolf Pollak, dentist, and whose home address was Vienna I, Wipplingerstraße 6, was a mezzo-soprano singing Lieder and oratorio in Vienna in the 1900s and 1910s. She is notable for one particular performance:

On March 31, 1913 she sang Alexander Zemlinsky's [Six] Songs (Maeterlinck) (1910‒13) with orchestral accompaniment in the Great Hall of the Musiverein Building. Her "inexperience, and insecure intonation frustrated preparations [in rehearsal] and necessitated that [Alban] Berg coach her intensely" (Moskovitz, pp. 148 and 149). However, when Berg first met her, on March 13, he wrote Schoenberg: "I have just come from seeing Mrs Bum. She has, so far as I can judge, a pleasant-sounding ‒ though not very big ‒ voice, and appears to be musical. I think she will sing the Zemlinsky Songs very well" (Briefwechsel, p. 635). The performance was apparently a success.

Bum and Schenker

On March 23, 1908, Schenker's diary records "Mrs Bum (wife of Dr Bum) heard." The circumstances under which Schenker "heard" her on this day are entirely unclear. Three days later, the diary records: "Concert in the evening : Bum, Stolz, Floriz and Dohnányi." This concert took place in the Bösendorfer Recital Hall, the performers being Margarete Bum (voice), Eugenie Stoltz (cello), Moriz Violin and Ernö Dohnányi (piano). The program is not specified. It seems likely that this Margarete Bum was Margarete Grete Bum. Schenker was closely acquainted with a branch of the Pollak family.

Acknowledgment

I am grateful to Dr. E. Randol Schoenberg, and to Dr. Therese Muxeneder of the Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna, for their kind assistance.

Sources

  • Briefwechsel Arnold Schönberg‒Alban Berg, part-vol. I, 1906‒1917, eds Juliane Brand, Christopher Hailey and Andreas Meyer (Mainz, 2007)
  • Moskovitz, Marc D., Alexander Zemlinsky: A Lyric Symphony (Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2010)

Contributor

  • Ian Bent

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Diaries