The Lutenist Walter Gerwig

The Lutenist
Walter Gerwig

An engaging life story, a tale about the lute, and a narrative about the evolution of ‚Early Music‘ since the 20th century – along with a valuable depiction of a slice of contemporary history in Germany spanning two World Wars…

First edition 2024 ISBN 978-3-907375-045-4

49.50 CHF / € Order number: HOV22304

Walter Gerwig – biography

With this biography of Walter Gerwig (1899-1966), the Deutsche Lautengesellschaft (DLG) commemorates a musician who, more than any other, furthered the cause of the lute in Germany during the 20th century.

Through his work as an artist, pedagogue and publisher, Walter Gerwig awakened interest in the lute across several generations of musicians and was largely responsible for this instrument, once so widespread, regaining its place in today’s musical life.

Gerwig’s work spanned an era which, with two wars and the National Socialist regime, was one of the most difficult in modern German history. Following the First World War, in a time marked by a spirit of optimism despite the economic hardships, there were new orientations that also left their mark on music, for example in the rediscovery of historical lute instruments and their literature, the reform movement in music education, the use of new media and the emergence of the early music movement.

This study is largely based on the development of archival material entrusted to the DLG in 2019 by Gerwig’s close family. It provides extensive documentation of the lutenist’s life and artistic activities. Going beyond a purely biographical view, this presentation also goes into detail about the contemporary historical context as well as the music-historical discourse in the course of the rediscovery of the lute in the 20th century.

“I can but praise the wealth of Information so skilfully gathered and presented – no easy task!

The personal recollections in particular bring Gerwig to life. This book has truly enriched the lute world.“

(Anthony Bailes, Arlesheim)

„… a splendid masterpiece that will no doubt find a place on the bookshelves of all lutenists and for which I say a heartfelt thank you! As the Carinthian regional representative of the ÖLG, my successor in office Dr. Eberwein, stated: „We have all been waiting for this book!“ (Dr. Gerfried H. Leute, Klagenfurt)

„My heart-felt congratulations on this excellent work, a rare biography combining personal attachment, eye-witness immediacy, academic distance and objectivity – and thus achieving a very special authenticity.“

(Prof. Dr. Matthias Werner, Jena)