Margarete Schweikert

Feminale of Music

Post card with autogram of the German musician Margarete Schweikert (1887–1957).

»I'd have rather bitten my tongue off before I told Richard Strauss that I compose, too.« – Margarete Schweikert, after a visit to the composer's villa

Schweikert was born on February 16, 1887 in Karlsruhe. As a child Margarete Schweikert first took piano lessons with Theodor Munz and at the age of ten she made her first attempts at composition. Shortly before the turn of the century she became one of the first students at the newly founded Munz Conservatory. In 1904 she appeared in public for the first time as female composer when a few songs and the symphonic 57th Psalm for solo soprano, choir and orchestra were premiered.

She then transferred to the Baden Conservatory for her studies, where she took lessons in violin, piano and composition. A special feature at this time was that Margarete Schweikert did not, as usual, have her trousseau paid out on her 21st birthday, but wished to have a violin when she came of age.

In 1912 she published her first works and the Munich Wunderhorn Verlag published the Lieder Op. 3. During World War I, she was given the opportunity to substitute for the violin teacher at the Grand Ducal Baden Teachers' Seminar Prinzessin-Wilhelm-Stift in Karlsruhe and thus began her first teaching activities. During this time, Schweikert's first music journalistic works appeared, including a review of the world premiere of Pfitzner's Palestrina in 1917.

Her marriage to the banker Hermann Voigt and the birth of her daughter Christina in 1924 put her musical activities on hold and, as a result of the ban on double work imposed by the National Socialists in 1933, ergo that there was only one earner in the family, which in most cases was the husband, she was denied the opportunity to continue working.

After the end of the Second World War, Schweikert was able to resume her teaching activities and in 1950 she became an expert advisor for music at the Karlsruhe women artists' organisation GEDOK. From 1955 she was its chairperson. She died on March 13, 1957 in Karlsruhe. Margarete Schweikert's estate is housed in the Badische Landesbibliothek Karlsruhe, and includes piano and organ pieces, 160 songs and pieces for mostly unusual chamber music ensembles.

Sontraud Speidel, pianist and professor at the University of Music Karlsruhe, talks about the Karlsruhe composers Margarete Schweikert and Clara Faisst

Jeannette La-Deur (piano) is the artistic director of the Margarete-Schweikert project of the GEDOK Karlsruhe and editor of the music editions. Together with Elena La-Deur (flute) and Andreas Reibenspies (baritone) she presents pieces by the composer Margarete Schweikert.


Lieder an ein Mädchen, Op. 15: No. 4, Wenn ich, holder Liebreiz, dich berühre, published by and sung by Bernhard Bechtold, accompanied by Jeannette La-Deur (piano) recorded on 18.05.2018 as part of »Margarete Schweikert - Im bitteren Menschenland«.

Scherzando in G minor, published by and played by Sontraud Speidel (piano) to be found on the CD »Klaviermusik Karlsruher Komponisten«, 17.05.1996, Bella Musica


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