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Loewe, (Johann) Carl (Gottfried)

Loewe, (Johann) Carl (Gottfried)

Loewe, (Johann) Carl (Gottfried), outstanding German composer of lieder; b. Löbejün, near Halle, Nov. 30, 1796; d. Kiel, April 20, 1869. His father, a schoolmaster and cantor, taught him the rudiments of music. When he was 12 he was sent to the Francke Inst. in Halle, where his attractive manner, excellent high voice, and early ability to improvise brought him to the attention of Jérôme Bonaparte, who granted him a stipend of 300 thalers annually until 1813. His teacher was Türk, the head of the Francke Inst; after Türk’s death in 1813, Loewe joined the Singakademie founded by Naue. He also studied theology at the Univ. of Halle, but soon devoted himself entirely to music. He had begun to compose as a boy; under the influence of Zelter, he wrote German ballades, and developed an individual style of great dramatic force and lyrical inspiration; he perfected the genre, and was regarded by many musicians as the greatest song composer after Schubert and before Brahms. His setting of Goethe’s Erlkönig(1818), which came before the publication of Schubert’s great song to the same poem, is one of Loewe’s finest creations; other songs that rank among his best are Edward, Der Wirthin Töchterlein, Der Nöck, Archibald Douglas, Tom der Reimer, Heinrich der Vogler, Oluf, and Die verfallene Mühle.Loewe was personally acquainted with Goethe, and also met Weber. In 1820 he became a schoolmaster at Stettin, and in 1821 music director there and organist at St. Jacobus Cathedral. He lived in Stettin, except for frequent travels, until 1866, when he settled in Kiel. He visited Vienna (1844), London (1847), Sweden and Norway (1851), and Paris (1857), among other places. Loewe was an excellent vocalist, and was able to perform his ballades in public. He publ. the pedagogic works Gesang-Lehre, theoretisch und practisch für Gymnasien, Seminarien und Bürgerschulen (Stettin, 1826; 5th ed., 1854), Musikalischer Gottesdienst: Methodische Anweisung zum Kirchengesang und Orgelspiel (Stettin, 1851, and subsequent eds.), and Klavier-und Generalbass-Schule (Stettin, second ed., 1851). Among his other works are 6 operas: Die Alpenhütte (1816), Rudolf der deutsche Herr (1825), Malekadhel (1832), Neckereien (1833), Die drei Wünsche (Berlin, Feb. 18,1834), and Emmy (1842). He also composed several cantatas, 2 syms., 2 piano concertos, 4 string quartets, Piano Trio, piano sonatas, and 368 ballades for Voice and Piano. M. Runze ed. a Gesamtausgabe der Balladen, Legenden, Lieder und Gesänge (17 vols., Leipzig, 1899–1905).

Bibliography

C. Bitter, ed., Dr. C. L’s Selbstbiographie (Berlin, 1870); K. König, K. L.: Eine aesthetische Beurteilung (Leipzig, 1884); A. Wellmer, K. L.: Ein deutscher Komponist (Leipzig, 1887); M. Runze, L redivivus (Berlin, 1888); A. Bach, The Art-Ballad: L. and Schubert (London, 1890; 3rd ed., 1891); M. Runze, Ludwig Giesebrecht und C. L. (Berlin, 1894); W. Wossidlo, C.L. als Balladenkomponist (Berlin, 1894); A. Niggli, C.L. (Zürich, 1897); H. Bulthaupt, C. L., Deutschlands Balladenkomponist (Berlin, 1898); H. Draheim, Goethes Balladen in L.s Komposition (Langensalza, 1905); K. Anton, Beiträge zur Biographie C. L.s (Halle, 1912); H. Kleemann, Beiträge zur Ästhetik und Geschichte der L.schen Ballade (diss., Univ. of Halle, 1913); L. Hirschberg, C. L.s Instrumentalwerke (Hildburghausen, 1919); O. Altenburg, C. L. (Stettin, 1924); H. Engel, C. L.: Überblick und Würdigung seines Schaffens (Greifswald, 1934); G. Dallmann, C.L.: Ein Leben für die Musik: Lebensskizze eines romantischen Musikers (Gutzkow, 1996); H. Kühn, J.G.C. L.: Ein Lesebuch und eine Materialisammlung zu seiner Biographie (Halle, 1996); J. Salmon, The Piano Sonatas of C. L.(N.Y., 1996).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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