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.



“Singstücke beym Clavier zu Singen” leads to Newberry Library

Dave Blum: I’m currently working through the Lititz Manuscript Book Collection. Presently I am working through a set of 48 tunes many of which were copied by J.F. Peter in a manuscript book owned by Christian  Schropp (1756-1826).

The first entries are patriotic songs, but the collection soon turns to sacred songs in the same vein as Herbst’s songs to be sung at the pianoforte. In fact the title of the collection is “Singstücke beym Clavier zu Singen,” and there have already been a few tunes in common with the Herbst German collection. Several of these texts have been verses of hymns I’ve been able to identify in the Gregor Gesangbuch. When the composer is not known I’ve been searching RISM to see if I can find a match.

This morning I searched for information for the text “Ich find’ in meines Heilands Leiden,” but could not find the text either in the Gesangbuch or in HYMNARY.ORG. I then searched RISM to see if I could find the tune. I found a single match which shared the title in this collection:

Title on source: [cover title:] Charlotte L. | Schropp’s | Music Book. | 7.th March. 1800.
Material: • score: 16f.
Manuscript: 1800 (1800); 17,5 x 24 cm
This collection is at the Newberry Library in Chicago!

The aforementioned music collection at the Newberry Library names Charlotte L. Schropp. I don’t know if this is the same person. Could the L stand for Loskiel, her adoptive parents?

I found the following in: Schultze, Augustus. “The Old Moravian Cemetery of Bethlehem, Pa., 1742-1897.”  Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, v. 5 (1899), 1899.

“Charlotte Sabina Schropp, 1787-1833, born at Nazareth, a daughter of John Schropp. She taught in the boarding school. After her father’s death she was adopted by Bishop Loskiel and wife, and showed them the loving attention of a daughter.”

Now, there was a bumper crop of Schropps. The name appears in the graveyard listings of Nazareth and Lititz, but this was the only Charlotte I could find. This may not be the right person, but it cannot be mere coincidence that the only other occurrence of this text and tune has someone with the same last name.

Who is Hendel?

Philhamonic Society of Bethlehem PSB 95 is a folder with manuscript parts bearing this title information: Ihrer war viel tausendmal tausend — Das Lamm, das geschlachtet ist p. … di Hendel.  Who is Hendel?  A check of the WorldCat database, the Library of Congress  authority file and the RISM OPAC did not provide any clues.

Searching RISM by musical incipit did reveal the identity of the work and the composer. The musical incipits matched George Frederic Handel’s Coronation Anthem, no. 1,  Zadok the priest. 

This is a case of contrafactum where the Moravians used Handel’s music and applied another text.  Oh, yes, someone used a phonetic spelling of Handel’s name.


Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott (J. S. Bach), 1824

Among the vocal works of the Philharmonic Society of Bethlehem is Folder 96. The title on the folder is Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott p. / Cantate / für 4 Singstimmen / mit Begleitung des Orchesters / in Musick gesetzt / von / John. Sebastian Bach. / Clavier Auszug.  Stamped: Moravian Church, / Choir Gallery / Bethlehem, Penna.  In the Gemein Music Account Book, John Christian Till was paid $3.00 on January 7, 1824 for copying parts for this piece.

How is it that a vocal work of J. S. Bach shows up in Bethlehem, Pa. in 1824? That is the question. It was in 1823/24 that Felix Mendelssohn was given a copyist manuscript score of Bach’s St. Mathew Passion by his maternal grandmother, Bella Soloman. The Mendelssohn family connection to the music of J. B. Bach goes back further to Felix Mendelssohn’s great aunt Sarah Levy (1761-1854), sister to Bella Soloman in Berlin. Sarah Levy, an accomplished musician and member of the esteemed Berlin Singakadamie, was devoted to works of J. S. Bach known through the association with her teacher Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. The Berlin Singakademie hired Carl Friedrich Zelter, who was also Felix Mendelssohn’s tutor and responsible for extensive music education programs and music training institutions throughout Germany. The rich musical environment had a profound impact on the Moravians and the music they performed.

According to the Dienerblätter, John Christian Till (1762-1844) was not known to have visited Germany or Europe. In 1824 he was the organist for the Germein in Bethlehem. The question remains — How is it that a vocal work of J. S. Bach shows up in Bethlehem, Pa. in 1824?

Felix Mendelssohn: Reviving the Works of J.S. Bach 



A Collection of Motets by Various Composers Becomes a Set of 7 Motets by Known Composers

The cataloging cards indicated “Collection of Motets” by “Various Composers”.  Three motets were by Christian David Jaeschke; three motets were anonymous and the last motet was by Samuel Friedrich Heine.

A note on the folder was inscribed: “7 Motetten … presented to the C.M. of Beth by their former active member the late Bishop Hüffel–a noted Violoncello players & father to Mrs. Sam. Reincke dec-d”.  This note was the key to discovering what this collection really is.

Deconstructing the information, we know that “C.M. of Beth” is the Collegium Musicum Bethlehem, here in the United States.  “Bishop Hüffel” is Christian Gottlieb Hüffel, 1762-1842, who was born in Kleinwelka, Germany, studied in Nieksy and Barby, was called to service in Dublin, Ireland, and Berthelsdorf, was a teacher at the Pädagogium in Niesky and Barby, called to service in Bethlehem, Pa. (1818 through 1826), called to service in Bethlesdorf and Herrnhut. Of most importance for this puzzle is that he was in Niesky and in Bethlehem.

The three motets by Jaeschke matched the descriptions for the same motets in RISM.  Two motets in RISM are in a collection of 6 motets, all by Jaeschke, from the Christiansfeld, Denmark Moravian archives. The three anonymous motets also match three motets in the Christiansfeld set of motets.  So, we now know that 6 motets are by Jaeschke and the 7th is by Heine.

In addition to identifying the composer, records for additional copies of these motets indicate that they are from the Nieksy Collection, that they are inscribed with the name C. G. Hüffel and dated 1786. Recall that Bishop Hüffel taught in Niesky from 1784 to 1789. He obviously made an additional copy of selected motets that he brought to America. He must have left the manuscripts with his daughter, Charlotte Sophia, who married Samuel Reincke. This manuscript was presented Collegium Musicum Bethlehem after Hüffel’s death.

Furthermore, the 6th motet, “Leben wir, so leben wir den Herrn” has an inscription on an inner folder: “Dank=P[salm] zur Einweih[ung] des Neuerbauten Ki[rche] in Bethl[ehm] am 20st [en Mai] 18[06].  This motet was sung at the dedicated of the new church (now Central Moravian Church) in Bethlehem on 20 May 1806.

Discovering the identity of an unidentified quintet

SCM 432 was a puzzle — no composer or title page, two parts (Ob II and Bsn) of a printed work (PN 1536) with a title “Quintet II” in the key of E♭ major. Using discovery tools and this process….

  • in WorldCat a search in the Publishers Number Index revealed 66 musical works with the publisher’s number “1536”. In the list 2 composers (Mozart and Anton Reicha) appeared with the word “quintet” in the title.
  • in RISM online a search for “Anton Reicha” revealed 85 works. There were 14 published works, which did not include any quintets. There were 30 entries for “quintets (instr).
  • Number 14 in the list of 30 was in E♭ Although we do not have the lead part (flute), the incipts matched up (key, time signature, tempo markings, melodic and rhythmic progression). It was identified as op. 88, no. 2 by Anton Reicha.
  • Further searching in RISM Series AII (paper) revealed a citation for published parts (PN: 1536) by the publisher Simrock.
  • So the unknown quintet is now identified as Anton Reicha’s Quintet for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, op. 88. No. 2, published by Simrock about 1817 or 1818.

[Dave has a recording of this work]

Determining the correct identity for symphonies by Georg Anton Kreusser.

While cataloging SCM 178 and LCM 80-82, I discovered an inconsistency between the manuscript copies of Kresser’s 3 symphonies and 3 Kreusser symphonies edited by Robert King in the early 1980s.  King identified the 3 symphonies as opus 13; whereas, (matching musical incipits) RISM identified the 3 symphonies as opus 1 and narrowed the identification further by thematic catalog number (PetK 34-36).

PetK is an abbreviation for the thematic catalog. We don’t own the 1975 work by Edith Peters, Georg Anton Kreusser : ein Mainzer Instrumentalkomponist der Klassik, but we borrowed it from UNC Chapel Hill through Interlibrary Loan.

Using the thematic catalog, it was revealed that not only did the musical incipits match, but the title page text of the manuscripts copied by Johann Friedrich Peter matched the elaborate title page of the first published parts (André, 1777). Our manuscripts indicate that that Peter copied the symphonies in 1786.  I found no evidence to support the use of opus 13 in our collection.

[show the title page of SCM 178 and the thematic catalog page 154 and the RSIM page]

Kreusser, Georg Anton [ascertained]
Symphonies in D major

Work information

Catalog of works: PetK 34

Genre: Symphonies

Title on source: Dx | No I. | VI Sinpfonie | â | Due Violini | Due Oboe | Due Corni | Viola | e | Basso | Dedicate a S. E. il Comte de Schoenborn. &. &. | Del Sig: Kreusser