Christian August Pohlenz

June 26, 2008

Christian August Pohlenz was born at Saalgast, Niederlausitz, July 3rd 1790, and died at Leipzig, March 9th 1843. He was organist of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, and conductor of the Gewandhaus Concerts 1827-35, when he was replaced by Mendelssohn. His best known works include choruses for male voices, and are in the “Olpheus” collection. During his lifetime, his songs were more popular: Der kleine Tambour Veil, Auf, Matrosen, die Anker gclichlel, etc.

Carl Christian Muller

April 28, 2008

Carl Christian Muller was born in Saxe-Meiningen, July 3rd 1831.¬† F. W. and Heinrich Pfeifer were his teachers for pianoforte and organ, Andreas Zollner for composition. Muller went to New York in 1854 where he was at first employed in a pianoforte factory, then was leader of the Barnum’s Museum orchestra. From 1879 onward he was professor of harmony at the New York College of Music. Muller translated Sechter’s “Grundsatze der musikalischen Composition” (as “Fundamental Harmony”; New York, 1871, and 9 subsequent editions). He also supplemented it with four sets of Tables, on primary instruction, modulation, chord-succession, and harmonization, (1882-93). His published works include: “Pleasant Recollections,” and “Golden Hours” for pianoforte; two organ-sonatas, opus 47, sonata for violin and pianoforte, and opus 61 string-quintet in A; a four part piece for male choruses; various songs; and for organ, “March of the Crusaders,” and “Resignation” as well as several further works.

Ludwig Abel

January 14, 2008

Ludwig Abel was born in Eckartsberga, Thuringia, Germany on January 14th 1835; he died at Neu-Pasing, near Munich, Germany on August 13th 1895. A pupil of Ferdinand David, he was a member of the Gewandhaus orchestra at Leipzig, the Weimar court orchestra (1853), leader of the court orchestra at Munich (1867), teacher in and (1878) Inspector of the Royal Music-School then managed by von Bulow. In 1880, Abel was appointed royal Professor, from which position he retired on pension in 1894. A violin-virtuoso of high rank, and an excellent orchestra conductor; he wrote a good Violin Method, as well as studies, variations, etc.

Nicholas-Joseph Hullmandel

January 11, 2008

Nicholas-Joseph Hullmandel was a celebrated pianist and performer on the harmonica; born in Strassburg, Germany in 1751, he died at London, England on December 19th 1823. Nicholas-Joseph was a nephew of the famous horn-virtuoso, Rodolphe. He first studied music in the Strassburg Catholic school, and became a pupil of the “Hamburg Bach.” He went in 1775 to Milan, and in 1776 to Paris, where for ten years he was a fashionable teacher. In 1787 he made a wealthy marriage and retired, but the Revolution drove him to London, and he again gave lessons. Napoleon restored a portion of his property, and he again retired into private life. His playing and compositions had considerable influence on French art of the period. He published 12 pianoforte-trios, opus 1 and 2; 14 violin-sonatas with pianoforte, opus 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 11; six pianoforte-sonatas, opus 6; Divertissement, opus 7; and two sets of airs and variations for solo pianoforte, opus 9.

Christian Julius Fries (nicknamed Wulf), was born in Garbeck, Holstein, Germany, on January 10th 1825. Self-taught violoncellist, he played in the Bergen orchestra from 1842, and at Ole Bull’s concerts. He went to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1847; in 1849 was founded [with August Fries (first violin), Gerloff (second violin), Eduard Lehmann (first viola, flute), Oscar Greiner (second viola), and Wulf Fries (‘cello)], the Mendelssohn Quintet Club, to which he belonged for 23 years; later he was a member of the Beethoven Quintet Club. Wulf Fries also figured in the Music Fund Society, and the Harvard Musical; played in trios with Rubinstein, and took part in frequent concerts all over the New England States, and gave many lessons, even into his 70s. As a thorough musician and fine concert-‘cellist, he had a highly beneficial influence on New England concert music.

Athanasius Kircher

January 3, 2008

Athanasius Kircher was a famous Jesuit archaeologist as well as a musical composer. He was born at Geisa in Thuringia, near Fulda, Germany on May 2nd 1602, and died in Rome, Italy on November 28th 1680. He was professor at Wurzburg 1635-7, and later at Avignon. Afterwards he lived in Rome. His musical works include “Musurgia universalis, sive ars magna consoni et dissoni” (1650; epitomized in German, 1662); “Phonurgia nova, sive conjugium mechanico-physicum artis et naturae” (1673); his “Oedipus aegyptiacus” contains a curious chapter on hieroglyphic music; in his treatise “De arte magnetica” are given airs then popularly regarded as a cure for tarantism; in fact, all his works exhibit a unique blending of real scientific thought with superstition.