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.

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