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The Ferdinand Rebay Project

From the start of 2017 and the next couple of years, Bergmann Edition will publish almost 300 compositions by the Austrian composer Ferdinand Rebay. Bergmann Edition and Stift Heiligenkreuz (who owns the original manuscripts) has made an agreement that Milena Valcheva (Bulgarian guitarist and engraver) can prepare the manuscripts for publishing, and Bergmann Edition will handle the formalities regarding the publishing.

FERDINAND REBAY (1880–1953) 

Ferdinand Rebay was born in Vienna in 1880. He studied both violin and piano from an early age. His mother had studied piano with Anton Bruckner, and his father co-owned a publishing firm Rebay & Robitschek. 

At the age of only ten, he went to the Abbey of Stift Heiligenkreuz as a chorist, and during the next five years, he received a solid musical education. In 1904, aged 24, he completed his studies at the Konservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna with bravura by composing the work Erlkönig, which his legendary teacher Robert Fuchs declared was the finest work to have been presented at the conservatory in his three decades teaching there.  

Until 1938 (when he lost his job) Rebay was an important and extremely productive person in the Vienna classical establishment. He had two choirs, worked as a piano professor at the conservatorium, accompanied singers and wrote a lot of original music. He wrote numerous chamber music works of different sorts, and his fondness for the guitar meant that he often included it in his compositions. He also wrote a substantial amount of solo works for the instrument. Including music for the guitar, more than 600 works came from his hand. Rebay wrote in a Romantic Neoclassical style, closer to Brahms, Mahler and Grieg than to the concurrent Second Vienna School (Schoenberg). 

After the war, he got his job back and he was active composing until his death in 1953. A significant amount of the manuscripts to his large productions can be found in The Abbey of Stift Heiligenkreuz Collection. Bergmann Edition will publish those 300 works that include the guitar, all of which are in possession of the Collection, over the next couple of years. We hope that classical guitar societies around the world will study this gem of the Late Romantic period in Vienna.

MILENA VALCHEVA Milena Valcheva is a Bulgarian guitarist and engraver. In the year 1991, she graduated from the Academy of Music and Dance Arts – Plovdiv, with a Music Pedagogy major. In 2010 she earned a Doctor of Arts degree from the New Bulgarian University, Sofia. She is working at the Dobrin Petkov National School for Music and Dance Arts, and she has established herself as a trusted expert on digital music score-writing doing the prepress work for some of the most prestigious specialised publishing houses. She was a member of the former duo, Milena & Valentin Valchev Guitar Duo which she formed with her husband Valentin Valchev until his too-early death in 2014. Recently, Milena Valcheva joined a Ferdinand Rebay seminar arranged by musicologist Maria Gelew, PhD who catalogued Rebay’s works. Valcheva acknowledged the guitar treasures hidden in the archives of the Heiligenkreuz Abbey. In co-operation with The Abbey of Stift Heiligenkreuz Collection and Bergmann Edition, she is now engaged preparing Rebay’s manuscripts for publishing. Some of the manuscripts are initially fingered for the guitar by Rebay’s niece, Gerta Hammerschmied, a guitarist to whom he dedicated a lot of his guitar compositions. Milena Valcheva critically goes through the pieces before publication, and the fingering and layout presented in this edition are to be attributed to Milena Valcheva only.


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