The first official anthem adopted by West Germany after founding in 1949 was the "Hymn an Deutschland" (Hymn to Germany). The "Lied der Deutschen" that was often used in Germany was avoided at this time due to the recent misuse of the anthem by the Nazi party (and the subsequent ban on the anthem by the Allied powers for the years following). The anthem proved to be unpopular with the people, however, possibly due to the similarity of a church hymn. The lyrics were written by Rudolf Alexander Schröder and the music composed by Hermann Reutter. The anthem was briefly in use from 1950 to 1952.
Hermann Reutter was born in Stuttgart on 17 June 1900. In 1920 he moved to Munich. After three years of singing lessons with Emma Rückbeil-Hiller (Stuttgart) and Karl Erler (München) he studied at the Munich Academy of Musical Arts composition with Walter Courvoisier and piano with Franz Dorfmüller, and organ with Ludwig Mayer.
Since 1923 he participated in the music festival of Donaueschingen and intensified his contact with the Donaueschingen circle, in particular with Paul Hindemith. Starting with 1926 he was a frequent composer in association with the annual music festival of the Allgemeine Deutsche Musikverein where many of his works were world premiered. He began intensive concert activities as pianist and accompanist in lieder in 1929, working together with major conductors and soloists of his period.
In 1932 he succeeded Ewald Straesser as principal teacher of composition at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart. He was appointed director of the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt on the Main four years later. In 1945 was the end of this work. He returned to Stuttgart and resumed concert activities in 1950. Two years later he was appointed professor of composition and lied interpretation at the Stuttgart Hochschule fuer Musik. In 1955 he became full member of the Berlin Akademie der Kuenste and of the Bayerische Akademie der Schoenen Kuenste, Munich. Since 1956 he was juror, later chairman, of the jury in the category Singing at the ARD competition.
He succeeded Hermann Erpf as director of the Stuttgart Hochschule fuer Musik. Since 1960 he often stayed in the USA for interpretation courses at various universities. From 1966-1974 he led the master class of lied interpretation at the Munich Musikhochschule. In 1968 he founded the Hugo Wolf Society Stuttgart, being its president until his death.
For his achievement as a composer and a teacher he was awarded (among others) the Ludwig-Spohr-Award of the City of Brunswig (1953), the Grand Cross for Distinguished Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (1959 and with Star in 1975), a Honorary doctorate of the Music and Arts Institute San Francisco and the Hugo Wolf Medal of the International Hugo Wolf Society, Vienna (both in 1976).
Hermann Reutter died in Heidenheim on 1 January 1985.
West Germany Anthem (1953-1990), East Germany Anthem (1949-1990), National Anthem of Germany (1922, abolished 1945, restored 1990-up to present)
The postal card above shows the score and lyrics of Hymn to Germany