In the early 1980s the late Richard Beattie Davis took his new wife, Gillian, to seek out the birthplace of the Bavarian composer, Adolph von Henselt (1814-1889) in whom he had had a life-long interest.
On the first trip to
Schwabach we went to the police station and were unable to find any
information, except for the fact that there was a `Henseltweg` which we
photographed. Around the corner we found the plaque which commemorated
Henselt`s birth, but the house was unoccupied and in disrepair with
animals inhabiting the courtyard. We photographed this, but when we
returned to England, we found that there was something wrong with the
film. In 1986 we returned and parked directly below the flat of the
Henselt scholar, Dr.Oskar Stollberg, but, alas, we didn`t know that at
the time. In 1987 we managed to meet the new curator of the Stadtmuseum,
Jürgen Söllner who arranged for us to meet Dr.Stollberg and exchange
information about our respective collections. On October 31st. 1988 a
planning meeting was held with various interested parties to discuss
what could be arranged in Schwabach to mark the anniversaries that would
arise in 1989. At that point nothing had been considered, but the fact
that someone from England had made enquiries was the catalyst for the
first Henseltfest. The unofficial committee was made up of
Herr.U.Distler, Herr.R. Mari, Dr.Oskar Stollberg, (German Henselt
scholar) Herr. Jürgen Söllner, (town museum curator) Herr.Wolfgang
Dippert, (town archivist) Richard Beattie Davis (English Henselt
scholar) and his wife, Gillian.
In May and October 1989
celebrations were held in Schwabach to commemorate the 175th.
anniversary of Henselt's birth, also the 100th. anniversary of his
death. Thanks to the Oberbürgermeister, Herr. Hartwig Reimann and
inestimable help from Jürgen Söllner and Wolfgang Dippert, a splendid
exhibition and concerts of Henselt's music were mounted. They published
an informative and still much sought after catalogue of documents,
memorabilia and a provisional listing by Richard Beattie Davis of
Henselt's works. This collected together a great deal of information,
hitherto scattered around the world.
In October 2001 the Davises went to Schwabach to meet Herr. Lucien Schiwietz from `IME`, Bonn, and his wife, Lilli, to discuss the proposed International Henselt Seminar to be sponsored by IME.
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