Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch

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Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch (painting by Anton Graff after 1790)
Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, engraving by Carl Traugott Riedel (1769-after 1832) after Johann Gottfried Schadow
Replica of the Fasch bust by Fritz Schaper in front of the former Singakademie
Grave site in Berlin. The artificial stone bust rested on the column in the background until it was stolen in 2005.
Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, founder of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin, marble bust after Fasch's death mask by Gottfried Schadow
Part of the burial site in Berlin

Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch (born November 18, 1736 in Zerbst ; † August 3, 1800 in Berlin ), son of the Baroque composer Johann Friedrich Fasch , was a German musician, composer , music teacher and choir director .

He achieved lasting fame through the establishment of the "Singe-Academie zu Berlin" (1791), which was later taken over by his pupil Carl Friedrich Zelter .


He received his first musical training from his father, who worked as court conductor in Zerbst and was himself a student of Johann Sebastian Bach . At the age of 14 his father sent him to Neustrelitz , where he learned to play the violin with the concertmaster there, Johann Christian Hertel . At the age of 15 he became a member of the ducal chapel. He was also an excellent companion on the harpsichord and organ .

Fasch began to write church music early on, but he kept destroying them because they probably did not meet his standards.

In 1756 he came to the Prussian court on the recommendation of Franz Benda , violinist in the court orchestra of Frederick II (the Great). In addition to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach , he became the second court harpsichordist. One of his tasks was to accompany the king at his flute concerts; the fee for this was 300 Reichstaler per year. From 1774 to 1776 he was court conductor .

Although Friedrich II had almost given up music after the Seven Years' War and the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778, Fasch still had to travel from Berlin to the court in Potsdam every four weeks because the king refused his repeated requests for dismissal. During this time he devoted himself primarily to writing artistic canons , music theory and his diverse academic studies.

The Berlin court music director Johann Friedrich Reichardt brought him from Italy a work by the early Baroque Italian composer Orazio Benevoli , a 16-part mass that fascinated Fasch and made him want to write a similar artistic work, which he succeeded in doing.

When trying to find a choir that could cope with the work, Fasch was unsuccessful, as neither the school choirs available to him nor the court singers were up to the work. Therefore, he began to study the mass with his private students. From these rehearsals, which took place in private circles from 1790, the Singe-Academie, which was founded on May 24th, 1791, developed on the day when Fasch first kept a rehearsal book and the gathering became more binding and became an institutional structure began to develop.

In September of the same year, the mixed choir had its first public appearance in the Marienkirche with a composition for the 51st Psalm (Miserere Mei) . At the end of 1793 the choir rehearsed at the Royal Academy of Arts .

From 1794, Fasch regularly studied works by Johann Sebastian Bach with the choir, in addition to his own. Composers such as Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven , who attended the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin in 1796, wrote for the choir.

In the course of the years up to his death, Fasch composed a number of other choral works. The Sing-Akademie zu Berlin itself quickly gained notoriety beyond Berlin, and when Fasch died in 1800 it already had 137 members.

Fasch died on August 3, 1800 and was buried in the Jerusalem cemetery near the Halle Gate . The grave is the honorary grave of the State of Berlin and one of the oldest preserved graves in the cemetery. The tombstone bears Psalm 40 as an inscription : I waited for the Lord and he bowed to me. And put a new song in my mouth to praise our God. At his funeral, Mozart's Requiem was performed for the first time in Berlin. The grave, which was laid out as an hereditary burial, is in Dept. 1/1.

Fasch's artificial marble bust, made from Schadow's marble bust, was stolen from the composer's grave in January 2005 and has been lost since then. The memorial for Fasch in front of the former Singakademie, in which the Maxim-Gorki-Theater resides today , is the work of the sculptor Fritz Schaper . After 1945, the bust came into the collection of the Märkisches Museum via the then director of the Singakademie, Georg Schumann , and was later listed there as the "unknown male portrait" by Schaper. The Berlin art historian Jörg Kuhn succeeded in identifying the bust in 1996 on the basis of historical recordings. These photographs and the original bust served as a template for the Fasch memorial erected in 2011.

Works (selection)

Among the few compositions he has survived or handed down - he had almost all of his works burned before his death - are:

  • Motets
  • 16-part mass
  • "Miserere Mei" (51st Psalm)
  • “Requiem aeternam” for 8-part. according to Choir (new edition Berlin 2006)
  • "Blessed are the dead" for 4 floors. according to Choir (new edition Berlin 2006)
  • Ariette pour le clavecin ou piano forte avec quatorze variations (new edition Berlin 2006)
  • Giuseppe riconosciuto ( Pietro Metastasio ), oratorio, first performed in 1774 by the court orchestra in the St. Hedwig's Cathedral in Berlin
  • Psalms 119
  • “Harre auf Gott” for alto solo, 4-part mixed choir, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 horns, 2 bassoons, string orchestra and figured bass; Cantata for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany
  • “Those who sow with tears” , cantata for the 16th Sunday after Trinity; for soprano, alto, tenor and bass solo, 4st. according to Choir, string orchestra and figured bass
  • Triple Concerto for trumpet, oboe d'amore, solo violin, string orchestra and harpsichord
  • Symphony in F major (September 1752, autograph in Dresden)



  • Carl Friedrich Zelter : Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch . JF Unger 1801, biography.
  • Carl von Winterfeld , About Karl Christian Friedrich Fasch's sacred vocal works. Berlin 1839, 16 columns ( PDF )
  • Hinrich Lichtenstein : On the history of the Sing-Akademie in Berlin. In addition to a message about the feast on the fiftieth anniversary of your foundation and an alphabetical list of all the people who were members of it. Verlag Trautwein, Berlin 1843.
  • Georg Schünemann : The Berlin Singing Academy 1791–1941 , Berlin 1941.
  • Alfons Ott:  Fasch, Karl Friedrich Christian. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 5, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1961, ISBN 3-428-00186-9 , p. 27 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Catalog of the pictorial works 1780-1920, Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, edited by Jörg Kuhn, Bernd Ernsting, Wolfgang Gottschalk and Knut Brehm (LETTER Schriften, 14), Cologne 2003.

Web links

Commons : Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hinrich Lichtenstein: On the history of the Sing-Akademie in Berlin . Berlin 1843, XIV
  2. ^ Thefts in historical cemeteries . ( Memento from December 19, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Foundation for historical cemeteries
  3. Jump up ↑ loot art . In: Berliner Zeitung , April 8, 2005