The orange scarf is laid to rest… On the death of Ulrich Müller

Ulrich Müller (1940-2012)

We feel we need to start our blog on an important but sad note: Ulrich Müller, one of the great scholars and a unique personality in the humanities, passed away on October 14th, 2012, aged 71. Medieval German Philology and Linguistics was his primary field of expertise and he was one of the most knowledgeable and prolific experts on the Nibelungenlied, as well as the works of Neidhart and Oswald von Wolkenstein – this knowledge representing only the tip of an unfathomable intellectual iceberg. He contributed such a quantity of works and furthered the knowledge of medieval German literature in so many ways that trying to offer a list here could only fail. Such a list is, however, being prepared by the much more competent authorities at Salzburg, where he lived and worked.

Ulrich Müller as a young man with the original of Wolkenstein MS B

Ulrich Müller was one of those German scholars who did not fear the sight of musical notation and who always tried to promote an interdisciplinary approach to his field, boldly crossing borders and venturing into other hunting grounds. He always encouraged performers to bring to life and to the stage the pieces of literary and musical art that he loved so dearly. He never denied assistance or help, he always kept a positive frame of mind, and never reacted in a condescending way, no matter how silly a question might have been. He was a catalyst for projects in both the performing arts and in musicology, providing impetus to and studies and performances alike. His enthusiasm was legendary. And above all he was a friendly, cheerful, and inspiring personality who knew how to enjoy himself and the company of others.

We have lost a great man, and on a personal note I have lost a friend whom I had the honour of getting to know better and better in the past few years. I had hoped to enjoy his friendship or at least the knowledge of him being around for a few years longer. It was good to know that the world contained him and his orange scarf.

On behalf of the project-team, Marc Lewon

The day and mood of Müller’s funeral.