Who was she?
Ramann was a writer and music teacher who lived in Germany from 1833-1912. She was influential in both of her roles. Ramann was also an advocate for her gender, writing on the state of women, and fighting have her works equally represented with the men of her time.
Who/How did she teach?
Ramann founded a school for women in teachers in 1858 in Glückstadt. In 1865 she opened another school with Ida Volckmann. It was one of the first in Germany to combine general philosophical education with music teaching. Before that though, Ramann traveled to the United States in the mid 1850s and spent a year around the area of Chicago, bringing music to rural communities without musical establishments.
What did she write?
She wrote a number of books about music and especially about Liszt. Her collected works came out in 1868 at the age of 35 but her first writing on Liszt was about his Christus Oratorio in 1874. She also wrote a Liszt biography, Franz Liszt als Künstler und Mensch, which appeared in three volumes beginning in 1880. The first volume dealt with his life to 1840, while the second was divided into 2 parts: The Virtuoso Period and Weimar and Rome. She later worked a collection about Liszt as a Pedagogue: Liszt Pädagogium. Liszitiana is a work Ramann envisioned containing all the volumes as well as her personal experience and their correspondance. Lisztiana was not published until 1983.
Aus der Gegenwart (Nuremberg, 1868)
Bach und Händel (Leipzig, 1868)
Die Musik als Gegenstand des Unterrichts und der Erziehung (Leipzig, 1868)
Allgemeine musikalische Erziehungs- und Unterrichtslehre der Jugend (Leipzig, 1870, 2/1873)
Franz Liszt's Oratorium Christus (Leipzig, 1874, 3/1881)
ed.: Franz Liszt: Gesammelte Schriften (Leipzig, 1880–83/R)
Franz Liszt als Künstler und Mensch (Leipzig, 1880–94; vol. i, Eng. trans., 1882)
Grundriss der Technik des Klavier-Spiels (Leipzig, 1885)
Franz Liszt als Psalmensänger und die früheren Meister (Leipzig, 1886)
Liszt-Pädagogium (Leipzig, 1902/R)
Lisztiana: Erinnerungen an Franz Liszt in Tagebuchblättern, Briefen und Dokumenten aus den Jahren 1873–1886/87, ed. A. Seidl (Mainz, 1983)
What were her research methods?
Ramann spent an extensive amount gathering primary sources regarding Liszt. She sent him questionnaires and took special care documenting interviews with him. She sent Liszt 37 pages of questionnaires.
Ramann often had to battle for scholarly freedom from the Princess and they sometimes had heated debates about it.
Ramann’s questionnaires ranged from biographical information to musical and analytical questions.
How did she become interested in Liszt?
Ramann was taught music by the wife of Franz Brendel, editor of the Neue Zeitschrift füt Musik. Through this connection Ramann was familiar with Liszt from a young age. Her familiarity with the Neue Zeitschrift put her in contact with Liszt from an early age. The princess eventually read her work on Christus and sought her out to write Liszt’s biography.
How did Liszt feel about Ramann?
After her Christus article, Liszt wrote to her saying, “I already distributed [your so remarkable study about Christus] to several friends who could not believe that the author was not a professor at University of Berlin or Liepzig!” Quoted by Ramann in Lisztiana
Liszt did have criticisms of Ramann’s biography, especially her sometimes harsh masculine portrayal. Ramann prided this as being a product of her objectivity in the matter.
James Deaville suggests this may be a product of Ramann’s homosexuality as well.