BAEYERTZ, Charles Nalder
Editor and critic.
A new biography of Baeyertz, Charles Nalder appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Baeyertz was born in Melbourne in 1865, the son of Charles Baeyertz, bank manager. The family may have had a German origin (Belgian and Hungarian also suggested) but had been domiciled in Britain for several generations. His mother gave up her Jewish faith for the Church of England when she married, and after her husband's early death carried on for many years an evangelical mission in Australia, America, and Britain.
C. N. Baeyertz was educated at Wesley College, Prince Alfred College (Adelaide), Hahndorf Gymnasium, and Melbourne University. He married late in 1886 (four children) and in 1892, after losses in the Melbourne land boom, came to New Zealand and began a career in journalism in Dunedin. Baeyertz became music critic to the Otago Daily Times but late in 1892 he started his own journal the Triad (sponsored initially by the Dresden–later, Bristol Piano Co.) which soon claimed a unique place in the musical and literary life of the growing country. “A Monthly Journal devoted to Literature, Art and Music”, it was well produced, with copious illustrations, and paid great attention to criticism of the arts, as well as opening its pages to local writers. Its correspondents covered the musical and literary life of the whole country, but its special flavour was derived directly from the vigorous, well informed, and fearless criticisms of its editor. Baeyertz was several times involved in libel actions; the most notable was in 1913 when an ageing singer failed to secure damages after the Triad had compared his voice to a “pig's whistle”. The Triad would not accept advertisements, or even free seats, for any performance it was going to criticise. Baeyertz was his own factotum and was very successful in canvassing advertisers, and the art and musical supplements issued free to subscribers were paid for by advertising.
After 20 years' prosperity in New Zealand, in 1915 the Triad began publication in Sydney, but did not do so well. Baeyertz's own connection with the journal ended about 1925, when he became editor, briefly, of the Sydney Sunday Times, but thereafter engaged, very fruitfully, in broadcasting and in teaching voice production.
Baeyertz visited America in 1908, England in 1919. He was much in demand as a judge of speech and singing in competitions both in New Zealand and Australia where his meticulous standards made him formidable, as did his appearance. Pat Lawlor has described the “Mephisto-like Baeyertz (his pointed beard and tall fierce presence conveyed this impression).”
Baeyertz published a tourist guide to New Zealand in 1902, and in 1924 he brought out in Australia a four-volume series of correspondence tuition in correct English, public speaking, and voice production.
He died on 5 June 1943 in New South Wales.
Baeyertz based his criticism on a profound knowledge of music and certain phases of literature (e.g., Shakespeare). He had a prodigious memory which enabled him to master many languages. His son has written: “Buoyant is a good description of his whole vibrant personality”. His work for the Triad made him the greatest New Zealand editor and critic of his time.
by David Oswald William Hall, M.A., Director, Adult Education, University of Otago (retired).
- N.Z. Magazine, Sep-Oct, Nov-Dec 1943
- Baeyertz and his “Triad”, Baeyertz, R. E. (typescript in Hocken Library).