A woman composer in a Moravian music Collection?

Today for the first time, I encountered a composition by a woman composer.  In the collection of the Philharmonic Society of Bethlehem I found the cataloging for Johanna Kinkel’s Vogelkantate.  It was published by T. Trautwein in 1838.  It is a cantata for 5 voices and piano.  We have the printed score and parts. She labeled the work “Musikalischer Scherz” or a musical joke.  It is filled with bird immitations.

Johanna Kinkel (1810-1858) was a composer, pianist, choral director, poet, journalist, novelist, music teacher and historian. She was born Johanna Mockel in Bonn. Her father was a teacher at the French Gymnasium and her mother encouraged her musical talents. She studied with Franz Anton Ries and with his support she began a career as a coach, accompanist and choral directory while still in her teens.

Vogelkantate, her op. 1,  was published while teaching piano and studying with Karl Böhmer and Wilhelm Taubert in Berlin. The orginal owner of the score and parts was Timothy Weiss (b. 1800), whose name is inscribed on the cover. Timothy Weiss was a noted tenor; he also played clarinet and trombone with the Philharmonic Society of Bethlehem

You can look at the description of Vogelkantata in GemeinKat.



One thought on “A woman composer in a Moravian music Collection?

  1. Actually, I’ve been seeing multiple entries for Augusta Browne (1820-1882) in the manuscript book collections. She was born in Dublin, Ireland, but she arrived in the United States with her family by about 1830. She served as the organist of First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, New York; and her music was published in Boston and New York in the 1840s and 50s. (Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd ed., vol. 2, p.12)
    Since many of the manuscript books were copied/compiled by female students at Moravian academic institutions for women, I think it is significant that they included songs by early woman composers.
    I discovered another piece attributed to “Miss M. Smith,” but it will be difficult to verify biographical information with such a common name and only an initial.
    Other songs are texts by Mrs. Hemans composed by “her sister.”
    I think there are opportunities here for further research!


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