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Wittgenstein, Leopoldine

Leopoldine ("Poldi") Wittgenstein (1850-1926), mother of pianist Paul Wittgenstein and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

She was born Leopoldine Kalmus (thus was related to (click on) Alfred Kalmus); her father, Jakob Kalmus, was descended from a prominent Prague Jewish family, her mother, Maria Stallner, from an established family of Austrian Catholic land owners. In 1873, she married Karl Wittgenstein (1847-1913), a leading figure in the iron and steel industry, and a patron of the arts. Their house, Alleegasse 4, Vienna IV (bombed in World War II), became a lively center for musical life, regularly frequented by distinguished composers, performers, and critics. The couple had five sons and three daughters (one of whom, Helene, was the mother of Schenker's pupil Felix Salzer), all of whom received musical instruction.

Leopoldine was herself an excellent pianist, having studied with Karl Goldmark; and her son Paul became a professional concert pianist.

Leopoldine and Schenker

Leopoldine inherited a valuable collection of musical manuscripts, including works by J. S. Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven, notably the autograph manuscript of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 109. Schenker worked on this autograph at the Wittgenstein house on November 12 and 19, 1912 when preparing his Die letzten f├╝nf Sonaten von Beethoven ... op. 109 (Vienna: UE, 1913) (OJ 1/11, pp. 277, 282). While Paul Wittgenstein was Schenker's contact, it was clearly his mother who had control of the manuscript collection, and it was with her that Schenker experienced difficulty obtaining permission to have the Op. 109 source photographed by Court Photographer Schramm (OJ 1/12, pp. 367, 372, 378, 380, June 25 and 28, July 7, 13, and 19, 1913, see also WSLB 167, December 19, 1913).

No correspondence is known to survive between Leopoldine Wittgenstein and Schenker, but OJ 15/24 contains his correspondence with her son, Paul.

Sources:

├ľsterreichisches Musiklexikon, ed. Rudolf Flotzinger; and various websites

Ray Monk, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius (New York: Penguin Books, 1991)

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