France loses 1825 music store where great composers played

France loses 1825 music store where great composers played


norman lebrecht

June 16, 2020

Wolf Musique in Strasbourg is a legend.

Founded by Seligmann Wolf in 1825, Richard Strauss played half of Salome on one of its pianos. Gustav Mahler bought sheet music. Everyone went to Wolf. Seligmann’s son Lazare brought the Berlin Philharmonic on its first visit to France.

Wolf was a musical institution.

Sadly no more.

It’s a victim of the Covid economic crash.

More here.


  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    Tragic! -another music shop that bites the dust and not just any musich shop.

  • MezzoLover says:

    Small correction to NL’s post – it was Gustav Mahler who played Salome on one of the pianos at Wolf Musique, not Richard Strauss.

    According to a recent Le Parisien article quoting Harry Lapp, who bought Wolf Musique from the Wolf family in 1980, the store is where, one day in 1905, Richard Strauss found “the Austrian pianist Gustav Mahler to rehearse his opera Salome in front of dumbfounded clients”.

    (“Le gérant, pas avare d’anecdotes sur cette institution, évoque ce « jour de 1905 où le compositeur allemand Richard Strauss a retrouvé le pianiste autrichien Gustav Mahler pour répéter son opéra Salomé devant des clients médusés ».”)

    Both Strauss and Mahler were fine pianists themselves (Strauss in particular), but I would venture a guess that this was Mahler obsessing with the opera whose premiere he had craved but was never able to stage at the Hofoper as he had hoped thanks to the Viennese censors. The opera, as we all know, had its premiere in Dresden on December 9, 1905, conducted by Ernst von Schuch.

    Here’s the Le Parisien article:

  • Ben G. says:

    Very sad for this historic place. Like many other institutions of this nature, they have become victims of Internet online shopping and now the virus.

    Here is the plaque behind the store:

    Strasbourg is full of other musical landmarks. Right across the street from the Wolf store, the Banque de France has another plaque commenmorating the first performance of “La Marseillaise”:

  • Edgar Self says:

    Now,if Strauss had played Mahle’s ‘Salome’, I’d have gone to Strasbourg to hear it. With maybe Alma in the Seven Veils. Or even Tom Lehrer’s rag.