Bärenreiter connections? – I may be suspected of being a braggart! The time span will soon reach 80 years – between the ten-year-old handling of the beloved, long since tattered volumes of “Gesellige Zeit” and “Geselliges Chorbuch” to the invitation by the publisher’s family to a concert in June 2022. Not to mention another time span – between institution-related contacts (11 books, several contributions to collective publications) and warm personal contacts

The fact that everyone involved at the publisher knew they lived not only close to the Iron Curtain, but quasi under it, meant a lot to those living in the GDR: when it was possible in the 1950s, Karl Vötterle invited a group of Weimar students dedicated to Renaissance music; later there were requests to adopt MGG articles, meetings at congresses, e.g. in Brno in 1970, where I met the owner again and was fortunate to witness the start of heirs’ fortunes. All this went far beyond mutual, publishing interests between Kassel and Leipzig which were often cunningly and maintained in a roundabout way; a gift from over there, the Complete Edition of Mozart’s letters, claims a place of honour on my shelves.

After I was “forced to leave the GDR voluntarily”, much of what I had previously hoped for could be redeemed, be it in concerts, e.g. at the Kasseler Musiktage, at the “Ring” at the opera, invitations to the Heinrich-Schütz-Allee, communication with a dream editorial team, where not even superlatives suffice to describe the individuals‚ books that have little chance of being displayed in railway station bookshops.

When I think of Bärenreiter, it is always with a background of friendship, some of it close, of commitment as well as coming together, almost conspiring, in the interest of common, important concerns.

Thank you!

Peter Gülke  

Conductor, musicologist and music author

Ernst von Siemens Music Prize 2014

Admission to the Order “Pour le mérite” 2022