Reinhold Schlötterer (1925-2021)

It is with deep sadness that the members of the Hellenic Musicological Society were informed of the recent passing of the renowned musicologist, teacher and colleague Reinhold Schlötterer, professor at the Institute of Musicology of the Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich and honorary member of the Hellenic Musicological Society. Dr. Reinhold Schlötterer was an exceptional teacher and researcher, knowledgeable in byzantine and Greek music; he was characterized by a deep knowledge of his subject matter, as well as a broad spectrum of interests both within the realm of European music, and in the more specialized areas of historical ethnomusicology and byzantine musicology. Multilingual, multifaceted, restless researcher, with a humble and frugal personality, as is so often the case with true authorities of any scientific field, as well as a true philhellene, Reinhold Schlötterer studied the texts of English, Italian and French literature in the original, in addition to any other source that would shine a light on the importance of European music creation. Simultaneously, his knowledge of both ancient and modern Greek guaranteed an open communication and immediate access to the Greek musical tradition during his frequent visits to Greece, always with his beloved wife Roswitha Traimer-Schlötterer, visits which focused on completing on site research in the music of the Mediterranean. His musicological quests in Greece and the broader Mediterranean region often concentrated on discovering historical connections and cultural correlations, using the ancient Greek spirit as a starting point, as well as its influences and interpretations in the Western musical tradition.

The combination of ethnomusicological research with an education remaining steeped in the western European musical traditions, was a rather rare phenomenon for the musicological identity of the times. Reinhold Schlötterer originally studied the organ under Professor Michael Schneider and continued with studies in Musicology at the Institute of Musicology at the University of Munich, combining his main field of studies with Byzantine studies and Philosophy. In 1953 he completed his dissertation with the subject Die kirchenmusikalische Terminologie bei den griechischen Kirchenvätern under the guidance of renowned professor Rudolf von Ficker, a thesis which established him among the most important representatives of Byzantine musicology, identifying him more as a specialized researcher of Byzantine Musicology, rather than western European musicology, mostly thanks to his numerous publications in the periodical Byzantinische Zeitschrift. When Thrasyvoulos Georgiades assumed the direction of the Institute of Musicology in 1956, Schlötterer was invited to teach the seminars on the History of Music and the Theory of Musical Texture (Historische Satzlehre). The range in instructive and research qualities of these courses, which for Georgiades were the foundation of musicological studies, highlighted simultaneously Schlötterer’s deep knowledge, not just in the field of musicology and musical practice, but in the interdisciplinary approaches he always attempted to emphasize both in his lessons, and his research. In his study on Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (Der Komponist Palestrina. Grundlagen, Erscheinungsweisen und Bedeutung seiner Musik, Wißner-Verlag, Augsburg 2003), he depicted his vast experience and the knowledge he acquired through his extended occupation with Palestrina’s works, both as a teacher and as a researcher.

He was also a forerunner in the research regarding the work and life of Richard Strauss, founding in 1977 the Richard-Strauss-Research Group, which consisted of students and young researchers of the Institute of Musicology, and which proved to be fertile ground for renowned musicologists, who focused on the works of Richard Strauss, highlighting his modern compositional ideas in a series of publications, among which one can find: Reinhold Schlötterer (ed.), Musik und Theater im „Rosenkavalier“ von Richard Strauss, Wien 1985; Bernd Edelmann, Birgit Lodes, Reinhold Schlötterer (ed.), Richard Strauss und die Moderne. Bericht über das Internationale Symposium München, 21. bis 23. Juli 1999, Berlin 2001; Reinhold Schlötterer, Die Texte der Lieder von Richard Strauss. Kritische Ausgabe, Ludwig, Pfaffenhofen 1988, a.o.

His Greek students, colleagues and friends from the Institute of Musicology of the University of Munich will remember him with gratitude and love for his help during their first tentative steps in the field, as well as the fruitful and cordial contact they maintained throughout the years.

The Hellenic Musicological Society is also grateful for his generous bequeathment of his extensive library to the School of Music Studies of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Evi Nika-Sampson, Chair of the Hellenic Musicological Society, Professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

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