A Guide to the Arthur Fickénscher Papers Fickenscher, Arthur. 12731

A Guide to the Arthur Fickénscher Papers

A Collection in the
Special Collections
The University of Virginia Library
Accession number 12731


[logo]

Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4110
USA
Phone: (434) 243-1776
Fax: (434) 924-4968
Reference Request Form: https://small.lib.virginia.edu/reference-request/
URL: http://small.library.virginia.edu/

© 1997 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.

Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Special Collections Department Staff

Repository
University of Virginia. Library. Special Collections Dept. Alderman Library University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia 22903 USA
Collection Number
12731
Title
Arthur Fickénscher Papers ca. 1895-1995
Extent
ca. 2000 items
Collector
Location
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

Arthur Fickénscher Papers, Accession 12731, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library

Acquisition Information

The collection is a consolidation of gift acquisitions received in the Manuscript and Special Collections Departments of the University of Virginia over the period 1941-1997 from Edith Cruzan Fickénscher, Arditha Fickénscher, William W. Jones, Robert Septimus Pace, Jr., Gordon Rumson and anonymous donors.

The original classification numbers (listed below) of all acquisitions to this collection have been consolidated into a single classification number: 12731.

Previous Classification Numbers: Manuscript numbers: 1093; 5121,-a-b; 8815; Record Group numbers: RG-21/31.771 (.791) (.871) (.921) (.961) (.962) (.971).

Funding Note

Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities


Biographical Sketch

Arthur Fickénscher, composer, pianist, teacher and inventor, was born to George W. and Elizabeth Wagner Fickénscher on March 9, 1871, in Aurora, Illinois. His musical education began at an early age; learning violin and piano under the tutelage and guidance of his music instructor father, he gave his first recital at age six. He spent his later formative years (1883-1889) as a student in Munich, Germany attending the Hochschule der Musikand the Royal Academy from which he graduated with unprecedented honors after studying under such notables in music theory and composition as Joseph Rheinberger and Ludwig Thuille. Upon returning to Illinois, Fickénscher taught piano privately to students and gave formal concert performances around the Chicago area. His reputation as an accomplished pianist and accompanist led to his participation in concert tours throughout the United States and Mexico with many of the distinguished singers of the day such as the great Wagnerian tenor, Anton Shott; Nikita, soprano of the Russian opera; Materna; David Bispham and Madame Shumann-Heink. These tours enhanced his reputation and allowed his piano mastery and musical artistry wide recognition.

In 1896, Fickénscher settled in San Francisco where he taught and coached young singers and studied the potentialities of the human voice. He also began to immerse himself in the composition of original music, being particularly drawn by the influence of the English poets of the Renaissance, Dante Rossetti and William Morris. In 1901, he married Edith Cruzan, an opera and concert singer whose theatrical and musical talents matched his own as they became an acclaimed recital team throughout the west coast. While living in San Francisco, the Fickénschers experienced the great earthquake of 1906. In the fire that devastated the city, they lost their home and many of their possessions including papers, press clippings, memorabilia and compositional manuscripts relating to their concert activities and Fickénscher's early music works.

In 1911, Fickénscher returned to Germany with his wife and young daughter, Arditha. He established a studio in Berlin providing vocal instruction to students and undertook a series of joint recitals with his wife that introduced them to admiring European audiences. In that period, his choral-orchestral poem, The Chamber Blueand the orchestral-choral symphonic poem, Aucassin and Nicoletewere performed to positive reviews in concert presentations. Fickénscher also continued to pursue his idea of perfecting a keyboard for pure intonation and was granted a patent for its design in Germany in 1912.

At the outbreak of World War I, the Fickénschers returned to California. They opened a studio in both Oakland and in San Francisco to instruct and train singers, resumed their joint recital programs and lectures and soon became a couple in great demand in the music circles in the area and beyond. That demand induced them in 1917 to move to New York City, to again teach students and to present themselves in recital and concert programs to metropolitan music lovers.

A major change in Fickénscher's career style took place three years later. In 1920 he accepted an invitation from Edwin A. Alderman, then president of the University of Virginiain Charlottesville, to serve as head of the newly established music department. Over the next 14 years he devoted himself in quiet dignity, but tireless energy to the challenge of organizing, developing and directing the administration of the department. He taught students; gave leadership to the University Glee Cluband presented major concerts in Washington, Baltimore, New Orleans, Richmond and numerous other cities and towns throughout Virginia. He established the Albemarle Choral Club; conducted the University of Virginia and the Norfolk Symphonyorchestras; participated in ensemble recitals, every 2 weeks over a period of 11 years and, in 1938, conducted a fully staged mimo-drama of his work, The Chamber Blueat the University. He performed organ recitals in the University's McIntire Amphitheater; provided piano accompaniment to students in vocal programs and instituted the McIntire Concertsprogram which featured such renowned artists as, Barrère, Alda, Novaes, Homer, Casals, Ponselle, Martinelli and Zimbalist. With all this, he still found time to arrange the settings of numerous college football songs; to serve as the regular organist at Christ Episcopal Churchin Charlottesville and to continue work on his music compositions and on the development and construction of the "Polytone," his idea of a workable intonation keyboard which he designed to subdivide the octave into 60 tones.

In 1941, Fickénscher retired from the University of Virginia and returned to Fairfax in Marin County in California. There he worked to complete his major unfinished orchestral-choral symphonic poem, The Land East of the Sunand to publish an article on the Polytone which he had patented in February 1941. The article, "The Polytone and the Potentialities of a Purer Intonation," appeared in The Music Quarterly(July, 1941). In May, 1946, he participated in concert at Florida State Teacher's College, conducting The Chamber Bluewith the Australian-American composer, Percy Grainger at the piano and, as pianist, joining a string quartet to play the Piano Quintet.

In 1947, the Fickénschers relocated to the city of San Francisco to spend their remaining years near their daughter. Edith Fickénscher died on January 9, 1950 and Arthur Fickénscher on April, 15, 1954. Some years later, in 1983, their ashes were spread over the grounds of the University of Virginia cemetery near the grave of their close friends, James Southall Wilson and his wife Julia by two devoted former students and lifelong friends and associates, Robert Septimus Pace, Jr. and William W. Jones.

As a composer, Arthur Fickénscher was influenced by Bach, Wagner and César Franck. His work reflected contemporary trends and was cast in a "sensuous mysticism" that intrigued many of his musical colleagues, particularly Percy Grainger (1882-1961) who considered Fickénscher to be one of the few musical geniuses of the 20th century.

Scope and Content

The Papers of Arthur Fickénscher contain ca. 2,000 items (11 shelf feet) that span the years 1895-1995. The largest portion of the papers, consists of originals and copies of virtually all of the music that Fickénscher produced. The remaining portion contains correspondence and other papers of a professional and personal nature. The collection has been divided into three major groups:

Group I, (Correspondence), contains letters sent to Fickénscher and drafts and second copies of letters that he prepared. The correspondence is subdivided into three categories: (1) General, (2) Named and (3) Polytone Related. These are listed by date or by correspondent name to highlight special interest or subject matter.

Group II, (Professional and Personal), contains items relating to Fickénscher's music and academic career activities. These include published articles; biographical background about his life and work; catalogue descriptions of his music; memorabilia in the form of concert and recital programs; reviews and newspaper clippings; a compilation of notes, drawings and music relating to the evolution and development of the "Polytone;" and an assortment of other miscellaneous items consisting of financial and contract records of the University of Virginia's McIntire Concerts(1919-1939); photographs of family and friends; instructor notes for voice lessons; some brochures about musical instruments; name and address notebooks and family birth, marriage and burial documents.

Group III, (Compositions), contains original manuscripts, master sheets for duplication and print copies of musical scores. These items have been consolidated into oversized folders for ease of reference and study and have been arranged in this listing under descriptive categories similar to those used by Fickénscher in describing his own compositions and by others who have catalogued his musical works. (see William W. Jones and Gordon Rumson (Box 1, below) and also William W. Jones, Life and Works of Arthur Fickénscher, American Composer , 1871-1954, unpublished, 1992).

A 33 1/3 rpm recording of Willowwood, (a setting of four sonnets by Rossetti for mezzo-soprano with piano, viola and bassoon accompaniment) has been transferred to the appropriate custodial section of the University of Virginia Special Collections Department where it is identified as part of these papers.

Container List

Group I: Correspondence
  • General
    • Box 1
      1911-1977, n.d.
  • Name
    • Box 1
      Alderman, Edwin A.
      1920
    • Box 1
      Bailey, Howald T.
      1951-1952
    • Box 1
      Fickénscher, Arditha F.
      1982
    • Box 1
      Fickénscher, Edith Cruzan
      1904-1941, n.d.
    • Box 1
      Friedlander, Max
      1923
    • Box 1
      Grainger, Percy
      1932
    • Box 1
      Koons, Walter E.
      1933
    • Box 1
      Maganini, Quinto
      1938
    • Box 1
      Miscellaneous (non-Fickénscher)
      1922-1989
    • Box 1
      Newcomb, John L.
      1941
    • Box 1
      Pace, Robert Septimus, Jr.
      1954
    • Box 1
      Riesberg, F. W.
      1934
    • Box 1
      Toscanini, Arturo
      1939
    • Box 1
      Wecker, Karl
      1934
  • Polytone Related
    • Box 1
      Deagan, J. C.
      ca. 1914-1917
    • Box 1
      Gerhard, Arthur
      1931
    • Box 1
      Grainger, Percy
      1932
    • Box 1
      Gustafson, Carolyn
      1949
    • Box 1
      Hitchcock, Frank
      1939-1948
    • Box 1
      Hughes, Edwin
      1935-1942
    • Box 1
      Huntington, Edward V.
      1941-1942
    • Box 1
      Kegley, H. Paul
      1946-1947
    • Box 1
      Kimmel, George P. and Cowell, Henry
      1940-1950, n.d.
    • Box 1
      Kinsolving, Charles M.
      1941-1942
    • Box 1
      Klann, August A.
      1941-1946
    • Box 1
      Lippelt, Marie
      1922
    • Box 1
      Loar, Lloyd A.
      1941-1942
    • Box 1
      Maxwell, Leon R.
      1924-1925
    • Box 1
      Miscellaneous
      1919, n.d.
    • Box 1
      Morhard, J. E.
      1930
    • Box 1
      Pitt, Don A.
      1952
    • Box 1
      Reisner, W.H. (Mfg.Co)
      1941
    • Box 1
      Slonimsky, Nicholas
      1952
    • Box 1
      Stoney, William
      1941-1942
Group II: Professional and Personal
  • Articles
    • Box 1
      By and about Arthur Fickénscher
      1901-1953, n.d.
  • Biographical
    • Box 1
      Background on life and work
      1924-1954, n.d.
    • Box 1
      Catalogue of Arthur Fickénscher's musical works (by William W. Jones)
      1957
    • Box 1
      Typescript, "Arthur Fickénscher-A Brief Overview," by Gordon Rumson
      1995
  • Concert Performances (Arthur / Edith Cruzan Fickénscher, and others)
    • Box 2
      Memorabilia
      1895-1991, n.d.
      (5 folders)
  • Miscellany
    • Box 2
      Arthur Fickénscher's vocal instruction notes
      1949, n.d.
    • Box 2
      Autographed score, "Lullaby," by Peter van de Kamp
      1934
    • Box 2
      Business records of McIntire Concerts, University of Virginia
      1919-1939, n.d.
      (4 folders)
    • Box 2
      Family memorabilia
      1908-1990, n.d.
    • Box 2
      Photographs--of Fickénscher family and friends
      1940-1950, n.d.
    • Box 2
      Photographs--of The Chamber Blue, mimo- drama stage production
      1938
  • Music Reviews
    • Box 3
      About Arthur and Edith Cruzan Fickénscher
      1932-1946, n.d.
  • Newspaper Clippings
    • Box 3
      About Arthur and Edith Cruzan Fickénscher
      ca. 1895-1952, n.d.
  • "Polytone" Invention
    • Box 3
      Development notes and patent designs
      ca. 1912-1941, n.d.
      (2 folders)
    • Box 3
      Manuscripts and publication material about the "Polytone"
      ca. 1941, n.d.
    • Box 3
      Music scores for the "Polytone"
      n.d.
    • Box 3
      Newsclippings about the "Polytone"
      1912-1935, n.d.
    • Box 3
      Photographs of the "Polytone"
      n.d.
Group III: Compositions

(manuscripts, master sheets and prints of musical scores)

  • Orchestral
    • Oversize I-1
      Aucalete, 1927. Fantasia on themes from "Aucassin and Nicolete"
    • Oversize I-1
      Day of Judgment("Dies Irae")
      1927
      (1-3 of 8 folders)
    • Oversize I-2
      Day of Judgment("Dies Irae")
      1927
      (4-8 of 8 folders)
    • Oversize I-3
      Interludefrom "The Land East of the Sun"
      ca. 1949-1954
      (3 folders)
    • Oversize I-3
      Out of the Gay Nineties
      1934
      (1-2 of 3 folders)
    • Oversize I-4
      Out of the Gay Nineties
      1934
      (3 of 3 folders)
    • Oversize I-4
      Willowwave and Wellaway. Fantasia on themes from "Willowwood"
      1925
      (2 folders)
  • Orchestra with voice and/chorus
    • Oversize I-5
      Aucassin and Nicolete
      ca. 1907-1909
      (1-4 of 10 folders)
    • Oversize I-6
      Aucassin and Nicolete
      ca. 1907-1909
      (5-10 of 10 folders)
    • Oversize I-7
      The Chamber Blue. Mimo-drama
      ca. 1907-1935
      (1-3 of 8 folders)
    • Oversize I-8
      The Chamber Blue. Mimo-drama
      ca. 1907-1935
      (4-5 of 8 folders)
    • Oversize I-9
      The Chamber Blue. Mimo-drama
      ca. 1907-1935
      (6 of 8 folders)
    • Oversize I-10
      The Chamber Blue. Mimo-drama
      ca. 1907-1935
      (7 of 8 folders)
    • Oversize I-11
      The Chamber Blue. Mimo-drama
      ca. 1907-1935
      (8 of 8 folders)
    • Oversize I-12
      The Land East of the Sun
      n.d.
      (1-4 of 6 folders)
    • Oversize I-13
      The Land East of the Sun
      n.d.
      (5-6 of 6 folders)
    • Oversize I-13
      Visions
      ca. 1908
  • Chamber Works
    • Oversize I-13
      Old Irish Tune
      1946, 1995
    • Oversize I-14
      Quintet, ("Evolutionary Quintet" and "Piano Quintet 'From the Seventh Realm' ")
      1890's-1951
      (1-4 of 9 folders)
    • Oversize I-15
      Quintet, ("Evolutionary Quintet" and "Piano Quintet 'From the Seventh Realm' ")
      1890's-1951
      (5-9 of 9 folders)
    • Oversize I-16
      Variation Fantasy. Variations on a theme in medieval style
      1937
      (5 folders)
  • Chamber music with voice
    • Oversize I-17
      Willowwood
      1910, 1994
      (4 folders)
  • Choral Works
    • Oversize I-18
      Choral Settings of French Folk Songs
      1922

      Contents: mixed chorus: 1. Au clair de la lune; 2. Bonhomme que savez-vous faire?; 3. J'ai du bon tabac; male chorus: 1. Vive Henri Quartre; 2. Charmante Gabrielle; 3. Malbrouk

    • Oversize I-18
      I Know a Maiden Fair to See. Poem by Longfellow
      1912
    • Oversize I-18
      My Country, 'Tis of Thee
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-18
      A Roundelay. Words by Edith Cruzan Fickénscher
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-18
      Song of India. Choral arrangement scored by Arthur Fickénscher
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-18
      Suzette, ("An Idle Idyll")
      1929
  • Organ Works
    • Oversize I-18
      Improvisational Fantasy. Dedicated to Richard Purvis
      ca. 1953
    • Oversize I-18
      Lament for Organ
      1949, 1994
    • Oversize I-18
      Nocturne. By Benjamin Erich, arranged by Arthur Fickénscher
      n.d.
  • Sacred Music
    • Oversize I-18
      Anthem Hymn. Episcopal Hymnal #435, "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind"
      1948
    • Oversize I-18
      Communion Service, 1945. Selections from the Episcopal Order of Communion
      1945

      Contents: 1. Kyrie Eleison; 2. Gloria Tibi; 3. Gloria Patri; 4. Benedictus Qui Venit; 5. Agnus Dei; 6. Gloria in Excelsis; 7. Amen; 8. Nunc Demitis; 9. Sanctus

    • Oversize I-18
      Jubilate Deo in F
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-18
      Lenten Anthem, ("Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days")
      1929
    • Oversize I-18
      Requiem a la Gregorian
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-18
      Untitled (possible Te Deum)
      n.d.
  • Settings
    • Oversize I-19
      College Songs of the University of Virginia
      1923-1935, n.d.

      Contents: "Alma Mater"; "Come Boys and Join Together"; "Eli Banana: Tilka Song"; "Georgetown is Dying"; "Give Us a Song, Boys"; "The Good Old Song"; "Ha! Ha! Virginia"; "Hike Virginia"; "In a Rose-Tinted Valley"; "Just Another Touchdown for U.Va."; "Now We'll Lick Old Yale"; "Oh! Carolina"; "Old Virginia"; "Orange and Blue"; "Virginia, Hail, All Hail!"; "Virginia, Hail, All Hail!" (version two); "Virginia Yell Song"; "Virginia's Banner"; "We're the Team from U. Va."

  • Voice and Piano
    • Oversize I-19
      Acht Deutche Volkslieder Zum Konzertvortrag, (Eight German Folk Songs for Concert Performance). English words by Edith Cruzan Fickénscher
      1923

      Contents: 1. Abschied, (Farewell); 2. Bienchen summ herum, (Bees); 3. Drei Röselein, (Three Rosebuds); 4. Der holde Mai, (Maytime); 5. Das Vöglein, (The Messenger); 6. Frühlingsbotschaft, (Cuckoo); 7. Gott weiss es, (God knows); 8. Der Gänsedieb, (The Lusty Robber)

    • Oversize I-19
      The Brass Band
      1907-1911
    • Oversize I-19
      Das Herz am Rhein
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-20
      Faery Song. Words by Edith Cruzan Fickénscher
      1912
    • Oversize I-20
      A Fairy's Love Song. Setting of one of the "Songs of the Hebrides"
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-20
      Compositions for Voice and Piano
      ca. 1900-1912, n.d.

      Contents: 1. Am Abend, (At Evening); 2. Erster Kuss, (The First Kiss); 3. Deutung, (Reavealings); 4. Gefunden, (Found); 5. Mondnacht, (Moonlight); 6. Hochsommer, (Midsummer); 7. Busse, (Penitence). (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 published as: Five Compositions for Voice and Piano)

    • Oversize I-20
      In the Gloaming, ("Americana"). Dedicated to Robert Septimus Pace, Jr.
      1954, n.d.
    • Oversize I-20
      Mein Herz ist im Hochland. Poem by Robert Burns
      1952
    • Oversize I-20
      Smile Na Sae Sweet, My Bonnie Babe. Ancient Air from Johnson's Museum
      1946
    • Oversize I-20
      Star Spangled [Banner]
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-20
      Verrufene Stelle, (Horror's Realm)
      1922
    • Oversize I-20
      Waltz. By Howald Bailey
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-20
      When I Am Dead My Dearest
      1941-1942
    • Oversize I-20
      Where Go the Boats? (Wohin führen die Boote?). Words by Robert Louis Stevenson
      1923, n.d.
    • Oversize I-20
      The Wind (Der Wind). Words by Robert Louis Stevenson
      1923, n.d.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Oversize I-20
      Joy
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-20
      Viola d'Amour
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-20
      Music for the "Polytone" (see Box 3)
      n.d.
    • Oversize I-20
      Various untitled
      n.d.

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Arditha
  • Arthur Fickénscher
  • Edith Cruzan