Edelmann, Jean-Frédéric, famous Alsatian harpsichordist, pianist, composer, and teacher; b. Strasbourg, May 5, 1749; d. (executed by guillotine) Paris, July 17, 1794. He studied law at the Univ. of Strasbourg (matriculated 1770). He went to Paris about 1774, where he gained distinction as a performer, teacher, and composer. His students included Jean- Louis Adam and Mehul. His life took a tempestuous and ultimately tragic turn after he joined the Jacobin cause. Returning to Strasbourg in 1789, he was appointed administrator of the Lower Rhine. However, he soon fell out with his former friend Philippe-Frederic Dietrich, the mayor of Strasbourg. Edelmann assisted in bringing about his arrest, trial, and execution in 1793. After further Jacobin intrigues, Edelmann himself became a victim of the Reign of Terror and was executed by guillotine. Through his teaching and compositions, Edelmann helped to make the piano a fashionable instrument in Paris. Many of his keyboard works were publ. in his lifetime. Ironically, his lyric drama Arianne dans I’isle de Naxos (1782) was dedicated to Joseph Ignace Guillotin. See R. Benton, “The Instrumental Music of Jean-Frederich Edelmann: A Thematic Catalogue and List of Early Editions/’ Fontes Artis Musicae, XI/2 (1964).
DRAMATIC La Bergeré des Alpes, scene lyrique (Paris, July 20, 1781); Ariane dans I’isle de Naxos, drame lyrique (Opera, Paris, Sept. 24, 1782); Diane et I’amour, opera-ballet (Paris, 1802); Feu, ballet (Opera, Paris, Sept. 24, 1782). INSTRUMENTAL : Six sonates pour le clavecin and Violin ad libitum, op.l (Paris, 1775); Six sonates pour le clavecin and Violin ad libitum, op.2 (Paris, 1776); 2 divertissements pour le clavecin and Violin ad libitum, op.3 (Paris, 1776); Sinfonie pour le clavecin, accompanied by 2 Violins, 2 Horns, and Cello ad libitum, op.4 (Paris, 1776); 4 sonates for Clavecin with Violin ad libitum, op.5 (Paris, 1777); 3 sonates for Clavecin with Violin ad libitum, op.6 (Paris, 1778); 2 sonates for Clavecin with Violin ad libitum, op.7 (Paris, 1779); 3 sonates for Clavecin with Violin ad libitum, op.8 (Paris, 1779; No. 2 composed by Edelmann’s sister); 4 quatuor for Clavecin, 2 Violins, and Viola, op.9 (Paris, 1781); 4 sonates for Clavecin with Violin ad libitum, op. 10 (Paris, 1782); Concerto for Clavecin, 2 Violins, 2 Oboes, 2 Horns, and Bass ad libitum, op. 12 (Paris, 1782); 4 sonates en quatuor for Clavecin, accompanied by 2 Violins with Bass ad libitum, op.13 (Paris, 1784); 3 concerts for Clavecin, 2 Violins, and Viola, op.14 (Paris, 1785); 4 divertissements for Clavecin, 2 Violins, and Viola, op. 15 (Paris, 1786); Airs pour clavecin ou le forte piano, op.16 (Paris, 1788). ORATORIO: Esther (Concert Spirituel, Paris, April 8, 1781; not extant).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire