Naumann, Johann Gottlieb

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Naumann, Johann Gottlieb

Naumann, Johann Gottlieb, distinguished German composer and conductor, grandfather of Emil Naumann and (Karl) Ernst Naumann; b. Blasewitz, near Dresden, April 17, 1741; d. Dresden, Oct. 23, 1801. He received his first instruction in music at the Dresden Kreuzschule. In 1757 the Swedish violinist Anders Wesström took him to Italy, where he received valuable instruction from Tartini in Padua, Padre Martini in Bologna, and Hasse in Venice. His intermezzo II tesoro insidiato was premiered in Venice on Dec. 28, 1762. In 1764 he returned to Dresden, where he was appointed second church composer to the court; in 1765 he was named chamber composer. He made return trips to Italy (1765–68; 1772–74), where he brought out several operas. In 1776 he was appointed Kapellmeister in Dresden. In 1777 he visited Stockholm at the invitation of Gustavus III, and was charged with reorganizing the Hofkapelle. His most popular opera, Cora och Alonzo, received its first complete performance in Stockholm during the consecration of the New Opera House on Sept. 30, 1782. Another important opera, Gustaf Wasa, was premiered there on Jan. 19, 1786, and was considered the Swedish national opera for many years. In 1785–86 he visited Copenhagen, where he carried out some reforms at the Hofkapelle and court opera. He composed the opera Orpheus og Eurydike for the Danish king’s birthday, and it was premiered in Copenhagen on Jan. 31, 1786. He was named Ober kapellmeister for life in Dresden in 1786. At the request of Friedrich Wilhelm II, he made several visits to Berlin, where his operas Medea in Colchide (Oct. 16, 1788) and Protesilao (Jan. 26, 1789) were premiered at the Royal Opera. He also wrote masses, cantatas, oratorios, and lieder.


dramatic (all first perf. at the Kleines Kurfürstliches Theater in Dresden unless otherwise given): II tesoro insidiato, intermezzo (Teatro San Samuele, Venice, Dec. 28, 1762); Li creduti spiriti, opera buffa (Teatro San Cassiano, Venice, Carnival 1764; in collaboration with 2 other composers); L’Achille in Sciro, opera seria (Teatro San Cecilia, Palermo, Sept. 5, 1767); Alessandro nelle Indie, opera seria (1768; unfinished); La clemenza di Tito, opera seria (Feb. 1, 1769); II villano geloso, opera buffa (1770); Solimano, opera seria (Teatro San Benedetto, Venice, Carnival 1773); L’isola disabitata, azione per musica (Venice, Feb. 1773); Armida, opera seria (Teatro Nuovo, Padua, June 13, 1773); Ipermestra, opera seria (Teatro San Benedetto, Venice, Feb. 1, 1774); La villanella incostante, opera buffa (Teatro San Benedetto, Venice, Fall 1773); L’Ipocondriaco, opera buffa (March 16, 1776); Amphion, prologue and opera-ballet (Royal Theater, Stockholm, Jan. 1, 1778); Elisa, opera seria (April 21, 1781); Cora och Alonzo, opera seria (New Opera House, Stockholm, Sept. 30, 1782); Osiride, opera seria (Oct. 27, 1781); Tutto per amore, opera buffa (March 5, 1785); Gustaf Wasa, lyric tragedy (New Opera House, Stockholm, Jan. 19, 1786); Orpheus og Eurydike, opera seria (Royal Theater, Copenhagen, Jan. 31, 1786); La reggia d’Imeneo, festa teatrale (Oct. 21, 1787); Medea in Colchide, opera seria with ballet (Royal Opera, Berlin, Oct. 16, 1788); Protesilao, opera seria with ballet and choruses (Royal Opera, Berlin, Jan. 26, 1789; in collaboration with J.F. Reichardt); La dama soldato, opera buffa (March 30, 1791); Amore giustificato, festa teatrale (May 12, 1792); Ad e Galatea ossia I ciclopi amanti, opera buffa (Aprii 25, 1801). Oratorios (all performed in Dresden unless otherwise given): La passione di Gesù Cristo (Padua, 1767); Isacco, figura del Redentore (1772); S. Elena al calvario (1775); Giuseppe riconosciuto (1777); II ritorno del figliolo prodigo (1785); La morte d’Abel (1790); Davide in Terebinto, figura del Salvatore (1794); I Pellegrini al sepolcro (1798); II ritorno del figliolo prodigo (1800); Betulla liberata (1805). lieder:Freimaurerlieder...zum Besten der neuen Armenschule (publ. in Leipzig, 1775); 40 Freymäur-erlieder zum Gebrauch der teutschen auch französischen Tafellogen (publ. in Berlin, 1782; 2nd ed., 1784); Sammlung von Liedern (publ. in Pforten, 1784); Sechs neue Lieder (publ. in Berlin, 1795); 25 neue Lieder verschieden Inhalts (publ. in Dresden, 1799); etc. instrumental: Sinfonias; Keyboard Concerto; quartets; sonatas for Keyboard and Violin; sonatas for Glass Harmonica; etc.


A. Meissner, Bruckstücke zur Biographie J.G. N.’s (2 vols., Prague, 1803–04; 2nd ed., Vienna, 1814); F. Mannstein, Vollständiges Verzeichnis aller Kompositionen des Kurfürstlich Sächsischen Kapellmeisters N. (Dresden, 1841); G. Schweizer, Biographie von J.G. N. (3 vols., Zürich, 1843^5); M. Nestler, Der kursächsische Kapellmeister N. aus Blasewitz (Dresden, 1901); R. Englander, J.G. N. als Opernkomponist (1741–801) (Leipzig, 1922).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis Mclntire