Solothurn Central Library / Olten City Archive
In 2013, the musical holdings of Olten City Archive were moved to the Central Library in Solothurn and on this occasion temporarily handed over to the RISM Switzerland for comprehensive cataloguing. The first part of the holdings includes the posthumous works of the Solothurn brothers Charles and Edgar Munzinger and their namesake Eduard Munzinger, and can be assigned to the major project "Repertory of Swiss composers of the 19th century". The second part is the object of a separate project, containing further collections of members of the Munzinger family, namely that of Eduard's father Viktor Munzinger and of his brother Ulrich with the latter's son Emil Munzinger. A small number of sources also comes from the pen of Walter Weinmann, the former director of the choral society in Olten.
The Munzinger family was one of the most culturally and politically important families of 19th century Solothurn. Ulrich's brother Josef Munzinger, for instance, was among the first elected federal councillors in 1848. While the older generation were largely amateur musicians (Viktor trained as a medical doctor, Ulrich worked as a merchant), the members of the younger generation with the exception of Emil studied at the Leipzig Conservatory. Their musical activities in Switzerland had a national resonance, their commitment to various choral societies lastingly influenced the Swiss choral movement. Accordingly, vocal compositions prevail in the collections, including both sacred music (masses, motets) and secular. Among these, a prominent role is played by lieder with piano accompaniment and unaccompanied works for male choir, particularly the contributions to the cantonal singing festivals. In smaller number, there is also chamber music, arrangements and transcriptions. Ambitious works with lavish scoring come primarily from the pen of Eduard Munzinger, who composed, among others, an opera and oratorios.
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