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Forkel, Johann Nikolaus

Forkel, Johann Nikolaus

Forkel, Johann Nikolaus, erudite German music historian; b. Meeder, near Coburg, Feb. 22, 1749; d. Göttingen, March 20, 1818. He was a chorister at Liineburg (1762–66) and Schwerin (1766). In 1769 he began the study of law at the Univ. of Göttingen, where he became its organist in 1770 and its music director in 1779. Forkel remains best known for his classic biography of Bach. His publ. compositions include piano sonatas and songs; in MS are the oratorio Hiskias; 2 cantatas: Die Macht des Gesangs and Die Hirten an der Krippe zu Bethlehem; syms., trios, choruses, etc.

Writings

Uber die Theorie der Musik, sofern sie Liebhabern und Kennern derselben nothwendig und nutzlich ist (1774); Musikalischkritische Bibliothek (3 vols., Gotha, 1778–79); Uber die beste Einrichtung offentlicher Concerte (1779); Genauere Bestim-mung einiger musikalischer Begriffe (1780); Musikalischer Almanack fiir Deutschland (1782, 1783, 1784, and 1789); Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik (2 vols., Leipzig, 1788, 1801); Allgemeine Literatur der Musik, oder Anleitung zur Kenntniss musikalischerBucher (1792); Uber Johann Sebastian Backs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke (Leipzig, 1802; Eng. tr., 1820; new Eng. tr., 1920, byC. Terry).

Bibliography

H. Edelhoff, J.N. R: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Musikwissenschaft (Göttingen, 1935); G. Stauffer and A. Mendel, The E-Hojjfrneister & Kuhnel Correspondence: A document of the early 19th-century Bach revival (annotated Ger.-Eng. ed., N.Y., 1990).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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