Vogler, Georg Joseph

views updated May 23 2018

Vogler, Georg Joseph

Vogler, Georg Joseph, noted German pianist, organist, pedagogue, music theorist, and composer, known as Abbé or Abt Vogler; b. Pleichach, near Würzburg, June 15, 1749; d. Darmstadt, May 6, 1814. His father was a violinist and instrument maker at the court of the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. After studying humanities at the Univ. of Würzburg (magisterium, 1766), he received training in law there (1766-67) and in theology in Bamberg (1767-70). In 1771 he went to Mannheim as almoner at the court of Carl Theodor, the Elector Palatine; by 1772 he was court chaplain there. With the assistance of the elector, he pursued his musical training in Italy (1773-75); was active in Bologna, Padua, Venice, and Rome, his principal mentors being Padres Martini and Francesco Antonio Vallotti; while in Rome, Pope Pius VI made him a chamberlain, a prothonotary, and a Knight of the Order of the Golden Spur. In 1775 he returned to Mannheim as spiritual counselor and Vice-Kapellmeister to his patron. He founded the Mannheimer Tonschule for teaching his own method of composition. In 1780 he was in Paris, where he submitted a paper to the Académie Royale des Sciences, Essai de diriger le goût des amateurs de musique,an explanation of his system of teaching (publ, in Paris, 1782); in Paris he also produced his opera La Kermesse (1783), which was a fiasco; that same year he visited London, where his method won the approbation of the Royal Soc. After serving as 1stKapellmeister at the Electoral Court in Munich (1784-86), he became Kapellmeister and teacher to the Crown Prince at the Swedish court in Stockholm in 1786; also traveled extensively in Europe, and in 1792-93 visited North Africa. Following the conclusion of his contract in Stockholm in 1794, he once again traveled in Europe, during which time he was active as both a performer and a teacher. In 1807 he was made Hofkapellmeister and privy councillor for ecclesiastical affairs at the Hessen-Darmstadt court; founded a Tonschule there, where Weber and Meyerbeer were his pupils. Vogler established himself as a leading keyboard virtuoso, teacher, and music theorist. He was a distinguished master of keyboard improvisation. While in Amsterdam in 1789, he completed construction of a portable organ, the “orchestrion,” which he promoted in succeeding years during his various concert tours. His writings proved influential, but his compositions, which included stage works, syms., piano concertos, and chamber works, failed to make an impact and are now completely forgotten.


Tonwissenschaft und Tonsetzkunst (Mannheim, 1776); Stimmbildungskunst (Mannheim, 1776); Kuhrpfälzische Tonschule (Mannheim, 1778); Betrachtungen der Mannheimer Tonschule,I-III (Mannheim, 1778-81); Entwurf eines neuen Wörterbuchsfür die Tonschule (Frankfurt am Main, 1780); Essai propre à diriger le goût de ceux qui ne sont pas musiciens (Paris, 1782); Verbesserung der Forkel’sehen Veränderungen über das englische Volkslied God Save the King (Frankfurt am Main, 1793); Erste musikalische Preisausteilung für das Jahr 1791 nebst 40 Kupfertafeln (Frankfurt am Main, 1794); Inledning Hl harmoniens kännedom (Stockholm, 1794); Clavér-schola med 44 graver ade tabeller (Stockholm, 1798); Organist-schola med 8 graverade tabeller (Stockholm, 1798-99); Lection til choral eleven (Stockholm, 1799-1800); Choral-System (Copenhagen, 1800); Data zur Akustik (Leipzig, 1801); Handbuch zur Harmonielehre und für den Generalbass (Prague, 1802); Zergliederung der 32 Orgelpräludien (Munich, 1806); Über die harmonische Akustik (Offenbach, 1807); Zergliederung der musikalischen Bearbeitung der Busspsalmen (Munich, 1807); Grundliche Anleitung zum Ciavirstimmen (Stuttgart, 1807); Utile dulei: Belehrende musikalische Herausgaben,I (Munich, 1808); Über Sprach- und Gesangsautomaten (Frankfurt am Main, 1810); System für den Fugenbau (Offenbach, c. 1818); Über Choral- und Kirch-engesange (Munich, 1813).


J. Fröhlich, Biographie des grossen Tonkünstlers Abt G.J. V.(Würzburg, 1845); H. Künzel, Abt V.(Darmstadt, 1867); E. Pasqué, Abt V. als Tonkünstler, Lehrer und Priester (Darmstadt, 1884); K. von Schafhäutl, Abt G.J. V, Sein Leben, sein Charakter und musikalisches System (Augsburg, 1888); J. Simon, Abt V.s kompositorisches Wirken (Berlin, 1904); E. Rupp, Abbé V. als Mensch, Musiker, und Orgelbautheoretiker (Ludwigsburg, 1922); P. Vretland, Abbé V. in Stockholm (Wurzburg, 1924); idem, Abbé V.(1933); H. Schweiger, Abbé G.J. V.s Orgellehre (diss., Univ. of Vienna, 1938); H. Kreitz, Abbé G.J. V. als Musiktheoretiker (diss., Univ. of Saarbrücken, 1957); D. Britton, Abbé G.J. V: His Life and His Theories on Organ Design (diss., Univ. of Rochester, 1973); F. and M. Grave, In Praise of Harmony: The Teachings of Abbé G.J. V.(Lincoln, Nebr., 1987).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Vogler, Georg Joseph

views updated May 14 2018

Vogler, Georg Joseph ( Abbé Vogler) (b Pleichach, nr. Würzburg, 1749; d Darmstadt, 1814). Ger. composer, theorist, organist, and teacher. Ordained priest in Rome 1773. Returned to Mannheim 1775 and founded mus. sch. Became 2nd Kapellmeister and wrote operas. After visits to Paris (1780) and London (1783) to propagate his theories of musical performance, he became court cond. at Munich 1784–6. Travelled widely from 1786. Court mus. dir. Stockholm 1786, founding mus. sch. there. Travelled again from 1799. Taught in Vienna 1803–4. Court cond., Darmstadt 1807. Invented ‘simplifications system’ for org., demonstrating it in Eng., Denmark, and Holland on portable ‘orchestrion’. Famous for his ‘storm’ effects in org. recitals. Wrote 10 operas, cantata, much church mus., pf. concs., many theoretical works, 32 org. preludes in every key (with analysis), arr. 12 Chorales by J. S. Bach. Pupils incl. Aloysia Weber (singing), Meyerbeer, Weber, Danzi, etc. (comp.). Subject of poem Abt Vogler by Robert Browning (1812–89) containing line ‘The rest may reason and welcome; 'tis we musicians know’.