Carl Friedrich Zelter

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Carl Friedrich Zelter, painting by Carl Joseph Begas , 1827
Memorial plaque on the house where he was born , Münzstraße 23 in Berlin-Mitte

Carl Friedrich Zelter (born December 11, 1758 in Berlin ; † May 15, 1832 there ) was a German musician , professor , music teacher , composer and conductor with the greatest cultural and political influence in his time.

Live and act

Memorial plaque for the "master mason and music professor" Zelter on the house in Berlin-Mitte that he redesigned for Friedrich Nicolai

Carl Friedrich Zelter, son of a master bricklayer, learned his father's trade. In 1783 he acquired his master craftsman's certificate and entered his father's business. In 1787 he rebuilt the house for his friend Friedrich Nicolai at Brüderstraße 13 . In addition to his practical work as a master mason, Zelter continued his musical education on an autodidactic basis . He became a member of Karl Theophil Döbbelin's orchestra in the Theater am Gendarmenmarkt and in 1791 joined the newly founded Sing-Akademie zu Berlin of his teacher and sponsor Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch .

In the early 1790s Zelter married the widow Flöricke, née Kappeln, who brought a son from his first marriage into the relationship, but died in 1795. In 1796 he married Julie Pappritz. She was the daughter of a finance council. Julie Zelter sang excellently and became an important support for Carl Friedrich Zelter's work in the Sing-Akademie. In 1800, after Fasch's death, Zelter took over the management of the Sing-Akademie. In 1806 he was made an honorary member and in 1809 professor of the Royal Academy of Arts .

In 1802 he met Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Weimar . A deep friendship developed with many personal encounters and an exchange of letters that lasted more than 30 years. Zelter was one of Goethe's few friends. He received numerous poems by Goethe and sent them back to music. Goethe reported on Zelter's character: “Zelter is brilliant in conversations and always hits the nail on the head [...] At the first encounter, he can appear a little very rough, sometimes even a little raw. Alone, that's only on the outside. I hardly know anyone who is as delicate as Zelter at the same time. "

Carl Friedrich Zelter, drawing 1832

On April 10, 1807, Zelter founded the Ripienschule for instrumental music and so-called Friday music with ten instrumentalists in the Sing-Akademie, and in 1809 the first Berlin Liedertafel , of which he was the master. In 1820 he founded the Royal Institute for Church Music and a student choir. He also took time for numerous students, of whom Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy , his sister Fanny , Otto Nicolai , Giacomo Meyerbeer and Eduard Grell are the best known.

Musically he orientated himself on Bach and Handel . He composed symphonies, cantatas, motets, choral music and especially songs. He made great contributions to the German folk song; for example, the melody of the famous joke song The Cuckoo and the Donkey (1810) comes from him.

Zelter initiated and managed the construction of the house of his Sing-Akademie from 1825 to 1827 on the Kastanienwäldchen , near the street Unter den Linden , behind the Neue Wache , in which the Maxim-Gorki-Theater has been located since 1952 . Zelter was also a member of the renowned lawless society in Berlin .

Zelter wrote numerous music pedagogical memoranda with which he made a significant contribution to the institutionalization of musical education in Prussia. The establishment of a music department at the Friedrich Wilhelm University, founded in 1810, and the establishment of the section for music at the Royal Academy of the Arts in 1833 go back to his commitment .

Carl Friedrich Zelter died on May 15, 1832, almost two months after his friend Goethe. Friedrich Schleiermacher gave the funeral speech.


The honor grave in Berlin
Postage stamp (1952) from the Men from the History of Berlin series

Zelter's grave is one of the few remaining graves in the old cemetery of the Sophienkirche in Berlin-Mitte . Today the grave is an honorary grave of the State of Berlin . It was equipped by the Sing-Akademie with an obelisk about two meters high in honor of its second director . The inscription reads: “Your Director Carl Friedrich Zelter. The Sing Academy. 1833. Renewed in 1883. "

A letter from Zelter to Friedrich von Müller dated March 31, 1832 about the death of Goethe was added by Walter Benjamin to his collection of letters, Deutsche Menschen .

The Zelter plaque , which was donated for choirs by Federal President Theodor Heuss on August 7, 1956, was named after him .

The asteroid (15808) Zelter was named in his honor, as was the former Carl-Friedrich-Zelter-Oberschule in Berlin-Kreuzberg .

A street in Frankfurt am Main keeps the memory of the musician alive.

Works (selection)

Literary works

  • Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, biography . JF Unger, Berlin 1801.

Musical compositions

  • Man walks a dark street, for four-part, mixed choir and organ or piano (new edition Berlin 2006)
  • Wake up, the voice calls us , motet for mixed choir (SATB) and figured bass (organ, double bass, violoncello and bassoon) based on a text by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
  • Rondo with variations for piano, op.2
  • Concerto for viola and orchestra in E flat major
  • The violet
  • Saint Paul
  • Table song (Voss)
  • Zechtalent (Bornemann)
  • serenade
  • Goethe settings (songs):
    • Understanding and law
    • Elf king
    • Who buys love gods?
    • Vanitas vanitatum vanitas
    • Mailied
    • The brittle
    • The convert
    • Wedding song
    • Brilliant hustle and bustle
    • First loss
    • Christel
    • Federal song
    • Wanderer's Night Song ( That You Are From Heaven )
    • Wanderer's night song (there is peace over all peaks )
    • Only those who know longing
    • Don't tell me to talk
    • Floral greeting
    • O give, from the soft puddles
    • The king in Thule

See also


Newer literature

Older literature

  • Wilhelm Rintel (Ed.): Carl Friedrich Zelter. A biography. Edited from autobiographical manuscripts . Published by Otto Janke, Berlin 1861.
  • Robert EitnerZelter, Karl Friedrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 45, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1900, pp. 46-52.
  • Georg Richard Kruse: Zelter. Musician biographies . tape 34 . Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig 1915.
  • Moritz Bauer (Ed.): Karl Friedrich Zelter. Fifteen selected songs . Martin Breslauer Publishing House, Berlin 1924.
  • Johann-Wolfgang Schottländer (Ed.): Carl Friedrich Zelters representations of his life . Verlag der Goethe-Gesellschaft, Weimar 1931 ( writings of the Goethe-Gesellschaft, with illustrations and autographs , volume 44).
  • Georg Schünemann (Ed.): Carl Friedrich Zelter. Man and his work . Berlin Bibliophile Evening, Berlin 1937.

Correspondence with Goethe

  • Karl Richter (Hrsg.): Johann Wolfgang Goethe: All works according to the epochs of his work in 33 volumes . 1st edition. btb, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-442-90499-4 .
    • Hans-Günter Ottenberg (ed.): Correspondence between Goethe and Zelter in the years 1799 to 1827 . 1st edition. tape 20 , no. 1 . btb, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-442-72957-9 .
    • Edith Zehm, Sabine Schäfer (ed.): Correspondence between Goethe and Zelter in the years 1828 to 1832 . 1st edition. tape 20 , no. 2 . btb, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-442-72958-6 .
    • Edith Zehm (ed.): Correspondence between Goethe and Zelter in the years 1799 to 1832 . 1st edition. tape 20 , no. 3 . btb, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-442-72959-3 .
  • Ludwig Geiger (ed.): Correspondence between Goethe and Zelter . Verlag Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig (3 volumes: 1799-1818, 1819-1827, 1828-1832).
  • Thomas Richter: The dialogues about literature in the correspondence between Goethe and Zelter . Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2000, ISBN 3-476-45230-1 .

Web links

Commons : Carl Friedrich Zelter  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The place of birth Berlin (and not Petzow near Potsdam ) has been undisputed in the literature since the research of his grandson Wilhelm Rintel for the first Zelter biography. From Zelter's documents: " I was born in 1758 on December 11th during the Seven Years' War, in Berlin in the house where I am writing this (=  Münzstrasse 1)." Wilhelm Rintel: Carl Friedrich Zelter. A biography. Edited from autobiographical manuscripts . Berlin 1861, p. 3 .
  2. ^ Johann Peter Eckermann : Conversations with Goethe in the last years of his life . Ed .: Fritz Bergemann. 9th edition. Insel Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-458-32200-0 , p. 42, 137 .
  3. Honorary graves in Berlin (database of the Senate Administration), query on the name Zelter ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. The Carl Friedrich Zelter Oberschule was merged with the Eberhard Klein School in 2010 . The new school is now called Refik Veseli Secondary School , cf. Article new beginning with a new name. In: Tagesspiegel , September 8, 2014