|Born||14 January 1875
Kaysersberg, (Alsace-Lorraine), Germany (now Haut-Rhin, France)
|Died||4 September 1965 (aged 90)
|Nationality||German (1875–1919), French (1919–1965)|
|Fields||Medicine, music, philosophy, theology|
|Known for||Music, Philanthropy, Theology|
|Notable awards||Goethe Prize (1928)
Nobel Peace Prize (1952)
Albert Schweitzer (14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965) was a Franco-German (Alsatian) theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, in the German Empire. Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of Jesus as depicted by historical-critical methodology current at his time in certain academic circles, as well as the traditional Christian view, depicting a Jesus Christ who expected and predicted the imminent end of the world. He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of "Reverence for Life", expressed in many ways, but most famously in founding and sustaining the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambarn, now in Gabon, west central Africa (then French Equatorial Africa). As a music scholar and organist, he studied the music of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and influenced the Organ reform movement (Orgelbewegung).
Born in Kaysersberg, Schweitzer spent his childhood in the village of Gunsbach, Alsace (German: Gnsbach), where his father, the local Lutheran-Evangelical pastor, taught him how to play music. Long disputed, the historically German region of Alsace or Elsass was re-integrated into Germany from 1871 and during Schweitzer's youth: in treaties following World War I it was assumed by France. The tiny village is home to the Association Internationale Albert Schweitzer (AIAS). The medieval parish church of Gunsbach was of a special Protestant-Catholic kind found in various places in Germany even today. It was shared by the two congregations, which held their prayers in different areas of the same church at different times on Sundays. This compromise arose after the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War. Schweitzer, the pastor's son, grew up in this exceptional environment of religious tolerance, and developed the belief that true Christianity should always work towards a unity of faith and purpose.
Schweitzer's home language was an Alsatian dialect of German and like most Alsatians even during German rule, he was familiar with French as well. At Mulhouse high school he got his "Abitur" (the certificate at the end of secondary education), in 1893. He studied organ there from 1885-1893 with Eugne Munch, organist of the Protestant Temple, who inspired Schweitzer with his profound enthusiasm for the music of German composer Richard Wagner. In 1893 he played for the French organist Charles-Marie Widor (at Saint-Sulpice, Paris), for whom Johann Sebastian Bach's organ-music contained a mystic sense of the eternal. Widor, deeply impressed, agreed to teach Schweitzer without fee, and a great and influential friendship was begun.
From 1893 he studied Protestant theology at the Kaiser Wilhelm Universitt of Straburg. There he also received instruction in piano and counterpoint from professor Gustav Jacobsthal, and associated closely with Ernest Munch (the brother of his former teacher), organist of St William church, who was also a passionate admirer of J.S. Bach's music. Schweitzer did his one year's obligitory military service in 1894. Schweitzer saw many operas of Richard Wagner at Straburg (under Otto Lohse), and in 1896 he pulled together the funds to visit Bayreuth to see Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal, and was deeply affected. Soon afterwards he visited the new organ in the Liederhalle at Stuttgart, and, appalled by its lack of clarity, experienced another great realization. In 1898 he went back to Paris to write a Ph.D. dissertation on The Religious Philosophy of Kant at the Sorbonne, and to study in earnest with Widor. Here he often met with the elderly Aristide Cavaill-Coll. He also studied piano at that time with Marie Ja«ll. He completed his theology degree in 1899 and published his Ph.D. at the University of Tbingen in 1899.
Schweitzer rapidly gained prominence as a musical scholar and organist, dedicated also to the rescue, restoration and study of historic pipe organs. With theological insight, he interpreted the use of pictorial and symbolical representation in J. S. Bach's religious music. In 1899 he astonished Widor by explaining figures and motifs in Bach's Chorale Preludes as painter-like tonal and rhythmic imagery illustrating themes from the words of the hymns on which they were based. They were works of devotional contemplation in which the musical design corresponded to literary ideas, conceived visually. (Widor had not grown up with knowledge of the old Lutheran hymns.)
The exposition of these ideas, encouraged by Widor and Munch, became Schweitzer's next task, and appeared in the masterly study J. S. Bach: Le Musicien-Pote, written in French and published in 1905. During its preparation he became a friend of Cosima Wagner (then in Strasbourg), with whom he had many theological and musical conversations, exploring his view of Bach's descriptive music, and playing the major Chorale Preludes for her at the Temple Neuf. There was a great demand for a German edition, but instead he rewrote it in two volumes (J. S. Bach) in German, which were published in 1908, and in an English translation by Ernest Newman in 1911. Schweitzer's interpretative approach greatly influenced the modern understanding of Bach's music. He became a welcome guest at the Wagner's home, Wahnfried.
His pamphlet "The Art of Organ Building and Organ Playing in Germany and France" (1906, republished with an appendix on the state of the organ-building industry in 1927) effectively launched the twentieth-century Orgelbewegung, which turned away from romantic extremes and rediscovered baroque principles – although this sweeping reform movement in organ building eventually went further than Schweitzer himself had intended. In 1909 he addressed the Third Congress of the International Society of Music at Vienna on the subject. Having circulated a questionnaire among players and organ-builders in several European countries, he produced a very considered report. This provided the basis for the International Regulations for Organ Building. He envisaged instruments in which the French late-romantic full-organ sound should work integrally with the English and German romantic reed pipes, and with the classical Alsace Silbermann organ resources and baroque flue pipes, all in registers regulated (by stops) to access distinct voices in fugue or counterpoint capable of combination without loss of distinctness: different voices singing together in the same music.
In 1905 Widor and Schweitzer were among the six musicians who founded the Paris Bach Society, a choir dedicated to performing J.S. Bach's music, for whose concerts Schweitzer took the organ part regularly until 1913. He was also appointed organist for the Bach Concerts of the Orfo Catal at Barcelona and often travelled there for that purpose. He and Widor collaborated on a new edition of Bach's organ works, with detailed analysis of each work in three languages (English, French, German). Schweitzer, who insisted that the score should show Bach's notation with no additional markings, wrote the commentaries for the Preludes and Fugues, and Widor those for the Sonatas and Concertos: six volumes were published in 1912-14. Three more, to contain the Chorale Preludes with Schweitzer's analyses, were to be worked on in Africa: but these were never completed, perhaps because for him they were inseparable from his evolving theological thought.
On departure for Lambarn in 1913 he was presented with a pedal piano, a piano with pedal attachments (to operate like an organ pedal-keyboard). Built especially for the tropics, it was delivered by river in a huge dug-out canoe to Lambarn, packed in a zinc-lined case. At first he regarded his new life as a renunciation of his art, and fell out of practise: but after some time he resolved to study and learn by heart the works of Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor, Csar Franck, and Max Reger systematically. It became his custom to play during the lunch hour and on Sunday afternoons. Schweitzer's pedal piano was still in use at Lambarn in 1946.
Dr Schweitzer's recordings of organ-music, and his innovative recording technique, are described separately below.
One of his notable pupils was conductor and composer Hans Mnch.
In 1899 Schweitzer became a deacon at the church Saint-Nicolas of Strasbourg. In 1900, with the completion of his licentiate in theology, he was ordained as curate, and that year he witnessed the Oberammergau Passion Play. In the following year he became provisional Principal of the Theological College of Saint Thomas (from which he had just graduated), and in 1903 his appointment was made permanent.
Since the mid-1890s Schweitzer had formed the inner resolve that it was needful for him as a Christian to repay to the world something for the happiness which it had given to him, and he determined that he would pursue his younger interests until the age of thirty and then give himself to serving humanity, with Jesus serving as his example.
In 1906 he published Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung ("History of Life-of-Jesus research"). This book, which established his reputation, was first translated into English by William Montgomery and published in 1910 as The Quest of the Historical Jesus. Under this title the book became famous in the English-speaking world. A second German edition was published in 1913, containing theologically significant revisions and expansions: but this revised edition did not appear in English until 2001.
In The Quest, Schweitzer reviewed all former work on the "historical Jesus" back to the late 18th century. He showed that the image of Jesus had changed with the times and outlooks of the various authors, and gave his own synopsis and interpretation of the previous century's findings. He maintained that the life of Jesus must be interpreted in the light of Jesus' own convictions, which reflected late Jewish eschatology.
Schweitzer found many New Testament references to apparently show that First-Century Christians believed literally in the imminent fulfillment of the promise of the World's ending, within the lifetime of Jesus's original followers , He noted that in the gospel of Mark, Jesus speaks of a "tribulation", with his coming in the clouds with great power and glory" (St Mark), and states when it will happen: "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (St Matthew, 24:34) (or, "... have taken place" (Luke 21:32)): "All these things shall come upon this generation" (Matthew 23:36). "There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matthew 16:28) (or, "...until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power" (Mark 9:1); or, "... till they see the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:27).)
Schweitzer notes that St. Paul apparently believed in the immediacy of the "Second Coming of Jesus": "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4.17). St Paul spoke of the 'last times': "Brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none" (1 Corinthians 7:29); "God... Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Hebrews 1:2). Similarly in St Peter: "Christ.. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" (1 Peter 1:20), and "But the end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter 4:7). "Surely I come quickly" (Revelation 22:20). (Again, note N.T.Wright, ibid.)
Schweitzer writes that modern Christians of many kinds deliberately ignore the urgent message (so powerfully proclaimed by Jesus during the First Century) of an imminent end of the world. Each new generation hopes to be the one to see the world destroyed, another world coming, and the saints governing a new earth. Schweitzer concludes that the First Century theology, originating in the lifetimes of those who first followed Jesus, is both incompatible with, and far removed from, those beliefs later made official by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 CE.
The publication of The Quest for the Historical Jesus, effectively put a stop for decades to work on the Historical Jesus as a sub-discipline of New Testament studies. This work resumed however with the development of the so-called "Second Quest", among whose notable exponents was Rudolf Bultmann's student Ernst Ksemann.
Schweitzer established his reputation further as a New Testament scholar with other theological studies including The Psychiatric Study of Jesus (1911); and his two studies of the apostle Paul, Paul and his Interpreters, and the more complete The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle (1930). This examined the eschatological beliefs of Paul and (through this) the message of the New Testament.
At the age of 30, in 1905, he answered the call of "The Society Of The Evangelist Missions of Paris" who were looking for a Medical Doctor. However, the committee of this French Missionary Society was not ready to accept his offer, considering that his Lutheran theology was "incorrect".  He could easily have obtained a place in a German Evangelical mission, but wished to follow the original call despite the doctrinal difficulties. Amid a hail of protests from his friends, family and colleagues, he resigned his post and re-entered the University as a student in a punishing seven-year course towards the degree of a Doctorate in Medicine, a subject in which he had little knowledge or previous aptitude. He planned to spread the Gospel by the example of his Christian labor of healing, rather than through the verbal process of preaching, and believed that this service should be acceptable within any branch of Christian teaching.
Even in his study of medicine, and through his clinical course, Schweitzer pursued the ideal of the philosopher-scientist. By extreme application and hard work he completed his studies successfully at the end of 1911. His medical degree dissertation was another work on the historical Jesus, The Psychiatric Study of Jesus. In June 1912 he married Helene Bresslau, daughter of the Jewish pan-Germanist historian Harry Bresslau.
In 1912, now armed with a medical degree, Schweitzer made a definite proposal to go as a medical doctor to work at his own expense in the Paris Missionary Society's mission at Lambarn on the Ogoou river, in what is now the Gabon, in Africa (then a French colony). He refused to attend a committee to inquire into his doctrine, but met each committee member personally and was at last accepted. By concerts and other fund-raising he was ready to equip a small hospital. In Spring 1913 he and his wife set off to establish a hospital near an already existing mission post. The site was nearly 200 miles (14 days by raft) upstream from the mouth of the Ogoo at Port Gentil (Cape Lopez) (and so accessible to external communications), but downstream of most tributaries, so that internal communications within Gabon converged towards Lambarn.
In the first nine months he and his wife had about 2,000 patients to examine, some travelling many days and hundreds of kilometers to reach him. In addition to injuries he was often treating severe sandflea and crawcraw sores (washing with mercuric chloride), framboesia (using arseno-benzol injections), tropical eating sores (cleaning and potassium permanganate), heart disease (treated with digitalin), tropical dysentery (emetine (syrup of ipecac) and arseno-benzol), tropical malaria (quinine and Arrhenal arsenic), sleeping sickness, treated at that time with atoxyl, leprosy (chaulmoogra oil), fevers, strangulated hernias (surgery), necrosis, abdominal tumours and chronic constipation and nicotine poisoning, while also attempting to deal with deliberate poisonings, fetishism and fear of cannibalism among the Mbahouin.
Mrs. Schweitzer was anaesthetist for surgical operations, using chloroform and Papaveretum, a synthesized morphine derivative. After briefly occupying a shed formerly used as a chicken hut, in autumn 1913 they built their first hospital of corrugated iron, with two 13-foot rooms (consulting room and operating theatre) and with a dispensary and sterilising room in spaces below the broad eaves. The waiting room and dormitory (42 by 20 feet), were built like native huts, of unhewn logs, along a 30-yard path leading from the hospital to the landing-place. The Schweitzers had their own bungalow, and employed as their assistant Joseph, a French-speaking Galoa (Mpongwe) who first came as a patient.
When World War I broke out in summer of 1914, Schweitzer and his wife, Germans in a French colony, were put under supervision at Lambarn (where work continued) by the French military. In 1917, exhausted by over four years' work and by tropical anaemia, they were taken to Bordeaux and interned first in Garaison, and then from March 1918 in Saint-Rmy-de-Provence. In July 1918, after being transferred via Switzerland to his home in Alsace, he was a free man again. At this time Schweitzer, born a German citizen, had his parents' former (pre-1871) French citizenship reinstated and became a French citizen. Then, working as medical assistant and assistant-pastor in Strasbourg, he advanced his project on The Philosophy of Civilization, which had occupied his mind since 1900. By 1920, his health recovering, he was giving organ recitals and doing other fund-raising work to repay borrowings and raise funds for returning to Gabon. In 1922 he delivered the Dale Memorial Lectures in Oxford University, and from these in the following year appeared Volumes I and II of his great work, The Decay and Restoration of Civilization and Civilization and Ethics. The two remaining volumes, on The World-View of Reverence for Life and a fourth on the Civilized State, were never completed.
In 1924 he returned without his wife but with an Oxford undergraduate, Noel Gillespie, as assistant. Everything was heavily decayed and building and doctoring progressed together for months. He now had salvarsan for treating syphilitic ulcers and framboesia. Additional medical staff, nurse (Miss) Kottmann and Dr. Victor Nessmann, joined him in 1924, and Dr. Mark Lauterberg in 1925; the growing hospital was manned by native orderlies. Later Dr. Trensz replaced Nessmann, and Martha Lauterberg and Hans Muggenstorm joined them. Joseph also returned. In 1925-6 new hospital buildings were constructed, and also a ward for white patients, so that the site became like a village. The onset of famine and a dysentery epidemic created fresh problems. Much of the building work was carried out with the help of local people and patients. Drug advances for sleeping sickness included Germanin and tryparsamide. Dr. Trensz conducted experiments showing that the non-amoebic strain of dysentery was caused by a paracholera vibrion (facultative anaerobic bacteria). With the new hospital built and the medical team established, Schweitzer returned to Europe in 1927, this time leaving a functioning hospital at work.
He was there again from 1929-1932. Gradually his opinions and concepts became acknowledged, not only in Europe, but worldwide. There was a further period of work in 1935. In January 1937 he returned again to Lambarn, and continued working there throughout the Second World War.
Schweitzer considered his work as a medical missionary in Africa to be his response to Jesus' call to become "fishers of men" but also as a small recompense for the historic guilt of European colonizers:
"Who can describe the injustice and cruelties that in the course of centuries they [the coloured peoples] have suffered at the hands of Europeans? – If a record could be compiled of all that has happened between the white and the coloured races, it would make a book containing numbers of pages which the reader would have to turn over unread because their contents would be too horrible.
Rather than being a supporter of colonialism, Schweitzer was one of its harshest critics. In a sermon that he preached on 6 January 1905, before he had told anyone of his plans to dedicate the rest of his life to work as a doctor in Africa, he said:
"Our culture divides people into two classes: civilized men, a title bestowed on the persons who do the classifying; and others, who have only the human form, who may perish or go to the dogs for all the "civilized men" care.
"Oh, this "noble" culture of ours! It speaks so piously of human dignity and human rights and then disregards this dignity and these rights of countless millions and treads them underfoot, only because they live overseas or because their skins are of different color or because they cannot help themselves. This culture does not know how hollow and miserable and full of glib talk it is, how common it looks to those who follow it across the seas and see what it has done there, and this culture has no right to speak of personal dignity and human rights–
"I will not enumerate all the crimes that have been committed under the pretext of justice. People robbed native inhabitants of their land, made slaves of them, let loose the scum of mankind upon them. Think of the atrocities that were perpetrated upon people made subservient to us, how systematically we have ruined them with our alcoholic "gifts", and everything else we have done–We decimate them, and then, by the stroke of a pen, we take their land so they have nothing left at all–
"If all this oppression and all this sin and shame are perpetrated under the eye of the German God, or the American God, or the British God, and if our states do not feel obliged first to lay aside their claim to be "Christian" – then the name of Jesus is blasphemed and made a mockery. And the Christianity of our states is blasphemed and made a mockery before those poor people. The name of Jesus has become a curse, and our Christianity – yours and mine – has become a falsehood and a disgrace, if the crimes are not atoned for in the very place where they were instigated. For every person who committed an atrocity in Jesus' name, someone must step in to help in Jesus' name; for every person who robbed, someone must bring a replacement; for everyone who cursed, someone must bless.
"And now, when you speak about missions, let this be your message: We must make atonement for all the terrible crimes we read of in the newspapers. We must make atonement for the still worse ones, which we do not read about in the papers, crimes that are shrouded in the silence of the jungle night–"
Schweitzer was nonetheless still sometimes accused of being paternalistic or colonialist in his attitude towards Africans, and in some ways his views did differ from many liberals of the 1960s. For instance, he thought Gabonese independence came too early, without adequate education or accommodation to local circumstances. Edgar Berman quotes Schweitzer speaking these lines in 1960:
"No society can go from the primeval directly to an industrial state without losing the leavening that time and an agricultural period allow."
Chinua Achebe has quoted Schweitzer as saying: "The African is indeed my brother but my junior brother," which Achebe criticized him for, though Achebe seems to acknowledge that Schweitzer's use of the word "brother" at all was, for a European of the early 20th century, an unusual expression of human solidarity between whites and blacks. Later in his life, Schweitzer was quoted as saying: "The time for speaking of older and younger brothers has passed." It is also more likely that Schweitzer was speaking in terms of modern civilization than of class relationship of man; this would be consistent with his later statement that "the time for speaking of older and younger brothers is over", and his discussion of the modernization of "primeval" societies. Later in life he became more convinced that "modern civilization" was actually inferior or the same in morality than previous cultures.
The journalist James Cameron visited Lambarn in 1953 (when Schweitzer was 78) and found significant flaws in the practices and attitudes of Schweitzer and his staff. The hospital suffered from squalor and was without modern amenities, and Schweitzer had little contact with the local people. Cameron did not make public what he had seen at the time: according to a recent BBC dramatisation, he made the unusual journalistic decision to withhold the story, and resisted the expressed wish of his employers to publish an expos aimed at debunking Schweitzer.
American journalist John Gunther also visited Lambarn in the 1950s and reported Schweitzer's patronizing attitude towards Africans. He also noted the lack of Africans trained to be skilled workers. After three decades in Africa Schweitzer still depended on Europe for nurses. By comparison, his contemporary Sir Albert Cook in Uganda had been training nurses and midwives since the 1910s and had published a manual of midwifery in the local language of Luganda.
The keynote of Schweitzer's personal philosophy (which he considered to be his greatest contribution to mankind) was the idea of Reverence for Life ("Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben"). He thought that Western civilization was decaying because it had abandoned affirmation of (and respect for) life as its ethical foundation.
In the Preface to Civilization and Ethics (1923) he argued that Western philosophy from Descartes to Kant had set out to explain the objective world expecting that humanity would be found to have a special meaning within it. But no such meaning was found, and the rational, life-affirmating optimism of the Age of Enlightenment began to evaporate. A rift opened between this world-view, as material knowledge, and the life-view, understood as will, expressed in the pessimist philosophies from Schopenhauer onward. Scientific materialism (advanced by Spencer and Darwin) portrayed an objective world process devoid of ethics, entirely an expression of the will-to-live.
Schweitzer wrote: "True philosophy must start from the most immediate and comprehensive fact of consciousness, and this may be formulated as follows: 'I am life which wills to live, and I exist in the midst of life which wills to live'." In nature one form of life must always prey upon another. However, human consciousness holds an awareness of, and sympathy for, the will of other beings to live. An ethical human strives to escape from this contradiction so far as possible.
Though we cannot perfect the endeavour we should strive for it: the will-to-live constantly renews itself, for it is both an evolutionary necessity and a spiritual phenomenon. Life and love are rooted in this same principle, in a personal spiritual relationship to the universe. Ethics themselves proceed from the need to respect the wish of other beings to exist as one does towards oneself. Even so, Schweitzer found many instances in world religions and philosophies in which the principle was denied, not least in the European Middle Ages, and in the Indian Brahminic philosophy.
For Schweitzer, Mankind had to accept that objective reality is ethically neutral. It could then affirm a new Enlightenment through spiritual rationalism, by giving priority to volition or ethical will as the primary meaning of life. Mankind had to choose to create the moral structures of civilization: the world-view must derive from the life-view, not vice-versa. Respect for life, overcoming coarser impulses and hollow doctrines, leads the individual to live in the service of other people and of every living creature. In contemplation of the will-to-life, respect for the life of others becomes the highest principle and the defining purpose of humanity.
Such was the theory which Schweitzer sought to put into practice in his own life.
After the birth of their daughter, Mme Helene Schweitzer was no longer able to live in Lambarn owing to her health. A house was maintained at Knigsfeld im Schwarzwald, Baden-Wrttemberg, and this house is now maintained as a Schweitzer Museum.
From 1939–48 he stayed in Lambarn, unable to go back to Europe because of the war. Three years after the end of World War II, in 1948, he returned for the first time to Europe and kept traveling back and forth (and once to the USA) as long as he was able. During his return visits to his home village of Gunsbach, Schweitzer continued to make use of the family house, which after his death became an Archive and Museum to his life and work. His life was portrayed in the 1952 movie Il est minuit, Docteur Schweitzer, starring Pierre Fresnay as Albert Schweitzer and Jeanne Moreau as his nurse Marie. Schweitzer inspired actor Hugh O'Brian when O'Brian visited in Africa. O'Brian returned to the United States and founded the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation (HOBY).
The Nobel Peace Prize of 1952 was awarded to Dr Albert Schweitzer. His "The Problem of Peace" lecture is considered one of the best speeches ever given. From 1952 until his death he worked against nuclear tests and nuclear weapons with Albert Einstein, Otto Hahn and Bertrand Russell. In 1957 and 1958 he broadcast four speeches over Radio Oslo which were published in Peace or Atomic War. In 1957, Schweitzer was one of the founders of The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. On 23 April 1957, Dr. Schweitzer made his "Declaration of Conscience" speech; it was broadcast to the world over Radio Oslo, pleading for the abolition of nuclear weapons. He ended his speech, saying:
"The end of further experiments with atom bombs would be like the early sunrays of hope which suffering humanity is longing for."
In 1955 he was made an honorary member of the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II. He was also a chevalier of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. Schweitzer died on 4 September 1965 at his beloved hospital in Lambarn, Gabon. His grave, on the banks of the Ogowe River, is marked by a cross he made himself.
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship was founded in 1940 by Dr. Schweitzer to unite U.S. supporters in filling the gap in support for his Hospital when his European supply lines was cut off by war, and continues to support the Lambarn Hospital today. Schweitzer, however, considered his ethic of Reverence for Life, not his Hospital, his most important legacy, saying that his Lambarn Hospital was just "my own improvisation on the theme of Reverence for Life. Everyone can have their own Lambarn." Today ASF helps large numbers of young Americans in health-related professional fields find or create "their own Lambarn" in the U.S. or internationally. ASF selects and supports nearly 250 new U.S. and Africa Schweitzer Fellows each year from over 100 of the leading U.S. schools of medicine, nursing, public health, and every other health-related field (including music, law, and divinity), helping launch them on lives of Schweitzer-spirited service. The peer-supporting lifelong network of "Schweitzer Fellows for Life" numbered over 2,000 members in 2008, and is growing by nearly 1,000 every four years. Nearly 150 of these Schweitzer Fellows have served at the Hospital in Lambarn, for three month periods during their last year of medical school.
Recordings of Schweitzer playing the music of Bach are available on CD. During 1934 and 1935 he was for some time in Britain, delivering the Gifford Lectures at Edinburgh University, and those on Religion in Modern Civilization at Oxford and London. He had originally conducted trials for recordings for HMV on the organ of the old Queen's Hall in London. These records did not satisfy him, the instrument being too harsh. In mid-December 1935 he began to record for Columbia Records on the organ of All Hallows, Barking-by-the-Tower (London). Then at his suggestion the sessions were transferred to the church of Ste Aurlie in Strasbourg, on a mid-18th century organ by Johann Andreas Silbermann (brother of Gottfried), an organ-builder greatly revered by Bach, which had been restored by the Lorraine organ-builder Frdric Hrpfer shortly before the First World War. These recordings were made in the course of a fortnight in October 1936.
Dr. Schweitzer developed a technique for recording the performances of Bach's music. Known as "The Schweitzer Technique", it is a slight improvement on what is commonly known as mid-side. The mid-side sees a figure-8 microphone pointed off-axis, perpendicular to the sound source. Then a single cardioid microphone is placed on axis, bisecting the figure-8 pattern. The signal from the figure-8 is mult-ed, panned hard left and right, one of the signals being flipped out of polarity. In the Schweitzer method, the figure-8 is replaced by two small diaphragm condenser microphones pointed directly away from each other. The information that each capsule collects is unique, unlike the identical out-of-polarity information generated from the figure-8 in a regular mid-side. The on-axis microphone is often a large diaphragm condenser. The technique has since been used to record many modern instruments.
Altogether his early Columbia discs included 25 records of Bach and eight of Csar Franck. The Bach titles were mainly distributed as follows:
Later recordings were made at Parish church, Gnsbach:
"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace."
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."
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