Mizler, Lorenz Christoph

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Mizler, Lorenz Christoph

Mizler, Lorenz Christoph, learned German music scholar; b. Heidenheim, Franconia, July 25, 1711; d. Warsaw, March 1778. He entered the Ansbach Gymnasium when he was 13, and also took music lessons from Ehrmann in Ansbach, and learned to play the violin and flute. In 1731 he enrolled as a theology student at the Univ. of Leipzig, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1733 and his master’s degree in 1734 with his Dissertatio, Quod musica ars sit pars eruditionis philosophicae (2nd ed., 1736; 3rd ed., 1740). He was a friend of J.S. Bach. In 1735 he went to Wittenberg, where he studied law and medicine. Returning to Leipzig in 1736, he gave his disputation De usu atque praestantia philosophiae in theologia, jurisprudent, medicina (Leipzig, 1736; 2nd ed., 1740). In 1737 he joined the faculty of the Univ. of Leipzig, where he lectured on Mattheson’s Neu-eröffnete Orchestre and music history. In 1738 he also established the Korrespondierende Sozietät der Musicalischen Wissenschaften. He likewise publ. the valuable music periodical Neu eröffnete musikalische Bibliothek (1739–54). In 1743 he entered the service of the Polish count Mala-chowski of Konshie, working as a secretary, teacher, librarian, and mathematician; he learned the Polish language and devoted much time to the study of Polish culture. In 1747 he took his doctorate in medicine at the Univ. of Erfurt. That same year, he went to Warsaw, where he was made physician to the court in 1752. He was ennobled by the Polish court as Mizler von Kolof in 1768. His vast erudition in many branches of knowledge impelled him to publ. polemical works in which he, much in the prevalent manner of 18th-century philosophers, professed omniscience. Thus he publ, the pamphlet Lusus ingenii de praesenti bello (Wittenberg, 1735), in which he proposed, by means of a musical game, to advise the German emperor Karl VII on the proper conduct of the war waged at the time. Pugnacious by nature, he derided “the stupidities of conceited self-grown so-called composers making themselves ridiculous” in a lampoon entitled “Musical Stabber” (Musikalischer Starstecher, in welchem rechtschaffener musikverständigen Fehler bescheiden angemerket, eingebildeter und selbst gewachsener sogenannter Componisten Thorheiten aber lächerlich gemachet werden, Leipzig, 1739–40). His theoretical writings include Anfangs-Gründe des General-Basses nach mathematischer Lehr-Art abgehandelt (an attempt to instruct figured bass by mathematical rules; Leipzig, 1739). He also translated into German Fux’s Gradus ad Parnassum, with annotations (Leipzig, 1742). He prepared an autobiography for Mattheson’s basic biographical music dictionary, Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte (Hamburg, 1740; new ed. by M. Schneider, Berlin, 1910; reprint, 1969).


F. Wohlke, L.C. M.: Ein Beitrag zur musikalischen Gelehrtengeschichte des 18. Jahrhunderts (Würzburg, 1940); J. Birke, Christian Wolffs Metaphysik und die zeitgenössische Literatur- und Musiktheorie: Gottsched, Scheibe, M. (Berlin, 1966).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire