... call me Rahel - At Rahel Levin Varnhagen's Salon, Berlin, Jägerstraße, c. 1805
Works by Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, Ludwig van Beethoven, Jan Ladislav Dussek, Louis Spohr and other composers - Texts by Rahel Levin Varnhagen, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Karl August Varnhagen von Ense, Karl Gustav Freiherr von Brinckmann, Henriette Herz, Karoline Bauer, Louis Spohr and other authors
The intellectual scene in Berlin at the end of the 18th and in the first third of the 19th centuries hardly knows a more remarkable female figure than Rahel Varnhagen, née Levin, who occupied centre stage in this Philharmonic Salon. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, to whom she was presented in 1795, described the well-known salonnière as “strong in her sentiments and yet light in expressing them. The former gives her a great significance, the latter makes her likeable. […] She is, as far as I know her, true to herself at every moment, always animated in her very own way and yet quiet – in brief, she’s what I would like to call a noble spirit.”
Artists, philosophers and statesmen frequented Rahel Varnhagen’s house – Prince Louis Ferdinand und Prince Antoni Henryk Radziwill as well as Friedrich Schleiermacher, Moses Mendelssohn’s daughter Dorothea Veit, Friedrich Schlegel, Jean Paul, Ludwig and Friedrich Tieck, Clemens Brentano and many others. This was probably the only place that Heinrich Heine, who was a student at the time, could have encountered the famous philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who had assumed Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s professorship at the Berlin University in 1818. Thus it comes as no surprise that Theodor Mundt characterised the writer, critic and founder of Berlin’s probably best-known salon as “the most subtly feeling nerve system of her time”. “You were glad to call on her,” Wilhelm von Humboldt also recalled, “[…] because it was practically assured that you would never leave her without having heard something from her and taking something with you that gave you food for thought, something to think about further, often deeply, or that stimulated your feelings in a lively way.”
For the literary frame of this salon, which settled in Berlin in 1805, programme designer Götz Teutsch has invited Dagmar Manzel and Robert Gallinowski, who will read texts from Rahel herself but also her husband Karl August Varnhagen von Ense, and Goethe, Henriette Herz and Karoline Bauer. Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the pianist Cordelia Höfer will perform works by the composing Prussian prince Louis Ferdinand, Beethoven, Dussek and Spohr.