2. Continuation of Corrections and Additions to
Gerber’s Lexicon der Tonkünstler, etc., by J. F. Reichardt.
Frischmuth (Johann Christian) died in Berlin
in 1789. Wessely, a fine and well-educated young
musician of the Jewish nation, who for several
years had been Music Director alongside Frischmuth
at the German National Theater, now took over his
position, and since that time has been diligently
striving to improve the orchestra, of which the public
has already felt a noticeable effect, especially in the
performance of Mozart’s excellent Figaro.
In the inaugural issue of Musikalisches Wochenblatt in early Oct 1791, Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752–1814) published the first installment in a series devoted to “corrections and additions” (“Berichtigungen und Zusätze”) to Ernst Ludwig Gerber’s Lexicon der Tonkünstler (1790–92). Reichardt continued the series sporadically in subsequent issues of the Wochenblatt, and then in Musikalische Monathsschrift, the Wochenblatt’s successor.
The passage above is Reichardt’s proposed addition to Gerber’s article on Johann Christian Frischmuth (1741–1790), music director of the Nationaltheater in Berlin from 1785 until his death in 1790 (Reichardt gives Frischmuth’s date of death as 1789). Reichardt’s proposed addition concerns Bernhard Wessely (1768–1826), who from 1788 was second music director of the Nationaltheater under Frischmuth, and who took over as sole director following Frischmuth’s death (for more on Wessely, see the entry for 23 Jun 1792). Reichardt notes that Wessely had been working hard to improve the theater’s orchestra, and that this improvement was especially noticeable in performances of Mozart’s “excellent” Le nozze di Figaro (performed in German in Berlin as Die Hochzeit des Figaro). Among other improvements, Wessely increased the size of the orchestra, from 18 players to around 40 (see Bauman 1985, 227, note 4). Gerber, in his article on Frischmuth in volume 2 of the new edition of the Lexikon (1812) mentions that Wessely succeeded Frischmuth, but he omits Reichardt’s comment about the improvement of the orchestra.
Schwob (2015, 220–21) includes the notice transcribed above, without reference to its publication on our site in 2014. On Musikalische Wochenblatt and Musikalische Monathsschrift see the Notes to the entry for 10 Oct 1791.
Bauman, Thomas. 1985. North German Opera in the Age of Goethe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ledebur, Carl von. 1861. “Frischmuth (Johann Christian).” Tonkünstler-Lexicon Berlin’s von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart. Berlin: Ludwig Raub.
Schwob, Rainer J. ed. 2015. W. A. Mozart im Spiegel des Musikjournalismus, deutschsprachiger Raum 1782–1800. Beiträge zur Mozart-Dokumentation, vol. 1. Stuttgart: Carus Verlag.
Search Term: mozard
First Published: Sun, 21 Sep 2014
Updated: Mon, 16 Jan 2023
Edge, Dexter. 2014. “The improvement of the orchestra of the Nationaltheater in Berlin under Wessely (with reference to Figaro) (September 1792).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 21 September 2014; updated 16 January 2023. https://www.mozartdocuments.org/documents/september-1792/
Edge, Dexter. 2014. “The improvement of the orchestra of the Nationaltheater in Berlin under Wessely (with reference to Figaro) (September 1792).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 21 September 2014; updated 16 January 2023. [direct link]