Carl Loewe

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Carl Loewe

Johann Carl Gottfried Loewe (born November 30, 1796 in Löbejün , † April 20, 1869 in Kiel ) was a German cantor, organist and composer who wrote about five hundred ballads, seventeen oratorios , six operas and two symphonies. Since he lived 46 years of his life in Szczecin , where he worked as an organist, music director and composer and founded the Pomeranian Choir Association, he is commonly known as the “Pomeranian ballad king”.


Memorial plaque in Loewes birthplace Löbejün
Monument in front of the Jakobikirche in Stettin (destroyed after 1945)

Carl Loewe was born as the twelfth child of the cantor and organist Andreas Loewe and his wife Marie in Löbejün in what was then the Prussian Duchy of Magdeburg . He received an upbringing that was art-loving from his parents at an early age. During his first school years in Köthen he sang in the Köthener boys' choir from 1807 to 1809 and then switched to the Latina of the Francke Foundations in Halle during the time of the Kingdom of Westphalia thanks to a grant from King Jérôme Bonaparte . During this time he received composition lessons from Daniel Gottlob Türk , for whom he appeared as a soprano in the Stadtsingechor zu Halle and as a soloist at concerts. On the recommendation of his teacher, he received musical support from Johann Friedrich Reichardt , who lived in Giebichenstein near Halle.

Since Loewe was unable to prevail against his competitor Johann Friedrich Naue in his application for the position of organist at the Marktkirche Our Dear Women in 1816 , he enrolled as a student of Protestant theology at the Friedrichs- University of Halle a. During his studies in 1817 he became a member of the Teutonia Halle fraternity . In Halle's public musical life, Loewe proved himself to be an excellent tenor in performances by the Singakademie under the direction of Johann Friedrich Naues and on many other occasions. In the years in Halle he wrote almost fifty compositions, ballads such as Erlkönig and Edward .

After completing his studies, Loewe was examined by Carl Friedrich Zelter in Berlin in 1820 with regard to his qualifications as a church and school musician. He passed with distinction and became cantor and organist at the Jakobikirche in Stettin. Loewe worked here for 46 years, including as a high school teacher at the Marienstiftsgymnasium , as a trainer at the teacher training seminar and as the city's music director. He founded the Pomeranian Choir Association and organized numerous music festivals in its name until 1857. He was close friends with the mathematician Justus Günther Graßmann , with his son, the mathematician Hermann Graßmann , and with the poet Ludwig Giesebrecht , whose texts he set to music.

In 1829 Carl Loewe was admitted to the Freemasons ' Union , and his lodge Zu den Drei Zirkeln was based in Stettin. In his vocal quartets he composed a. a. a composition for freemasons.

In his time Loewe had a good reputation as a conductor, pianist and also as a concert singer. In 1832 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Greifswald and in 1837 a member of the Berlin Academy of the Arts .

In 1821 Carl Loewe married Julia von Jakob, a daughter of the University Chancellor Ludwig Heinrich von Jakob, in Halle / Saale . Julia Loewe died in 1823 after the birth of her son Julian, who was raised by relatives. Loewe married Auguste Lange in 1825. There are four daughters from this marriage.

After he recovered from a severe stroke in 1864, he had to say goodbye in 1866 at the request of the Szczecin Magistrate. He spent the last years of his life with his eldest daughter Julie, married v. Bothwell in Kiel. She tried to preserve the works of her father for posterity.

His tomb is in the Eichhof park cemetery near Kiel. The heart was buried in the Jakobikirche in Stettin, in a gilded capsule in the cavity of a large organ pipe .


Carl Loewe made the ballad known as a special extended form of the solo song in the 19th century - as a composer and also as a singer. Loewe, six years before Robert Schumann , and the cycle of poems women love and life by Adelbert von Chamisso set to music (1834). In the ballads, his ability to vividly portrayal, pictorial tone painting and haunting characterization of figures, scenes and events is best expressed. Its range of topics is wide-ranging. In addition to the preferred areas of history, legend and fairy tales, he has created everyday and genre images, idylls and moral fables; The big stands next to the small, the simple next to the fantastic, the uncanny next to the playful and humorous. With his beautiful tenor voice, Loewe was considered an eloquent, intense lecturer.


Memorial plaque in the Jakobikirche in Stettin

The most famous of the 400 ballads include:

  • Mr. Oluf op. 2, No. 2 (1821, Danish ballad, translation: Johann Gottfried Herder)
  • 3 ballads op.20 (1832, after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe):
    • Wedding song
    • The sorcerer's apprentice
    • The walking bell

Other works


Memorial stone in St. Nikolai Kiel
  • 1832 Awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Greifswald
  • 1837 appointment as a full member of the Royal Academy of the Arts
  • Commemorative plaques in the Nikolaikirche in Kiel and the Jakobikirche in Stettin, in which his heart is also buried in a capsule in one of the two organ pillars, commemorate Loewe.
  • There is a bust of Loewes in the Düsternbrooker wood in Kiel; a street was named after him there.
  • In 1938 Karl-Löwe-Gasse in Vienna - Meidling was named after the composer.
  • In Unkel in Rhineland-Palatinate , where his widow bought a house for herself and two of her daughters in 1874, he has been remembered since 1995 with the annual Carl Loewe Music Days.
  • The International Carl Loewe Society, founded in 1992, continues the traditions of the Loewe associations founded in Berlin in 1882 and Löbejün in 1888 and is based in the composer's birthplace. The Carl Loewe Festival has been held there regularly since 2002.
  • Friends and admirers in Stettin collected for the erection of a monument, which was ceremoniously unveiled on November 30, 1898 next to the Jacobi church there. The draft was created by the sculptor Hans Weddo von Glümer , and the statue was cast in bronze in one of the Gladenbeck foundries in Friedrichshagen. The statue was replaced by a Polish statue of the Virgin Mary after 1945 .
  • In his hometown there is a Carl Loewe bust made of Löbejun porphyry on the upper market . This is a copy (1947) of the bust created by Fritz Schaper in 1896 , which was melted down as a metal donation in 1942 .
  • There is also a memorial plaque in Löbejün on the successor building to Loewes' birthplace in the churchyard.
  • In 1999 the asteroid (10095) Carlloewe was named after him.

Complete recording of the songs and ballads

  • Cord Garben (pianist): Carl Loewe: Lieder & Balladen (Complete Edition) , Vol. 1–18.


in order of appearance

Web links

Commons : Carl Loewe  - collection of images, videos and audio files
further works directories
Audio samples

Individual evidence

  1. a b Eckhard Oberdörfer: Udo Jürgens was a fan: Carl Loewe - the Pomeranian king of ballads. In: Ostsee-Zeitung . April 18, 2019, accessed April 18, 2019 .
  2. ^ Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume II: Artists. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , pp. 461-463.
  3. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurerlexikon. Revised and expanded new edition of the 1932 edition, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-7766-2161-3 .
  4. ^ Carl Ludwig Schleich : Sunny past. Memoirs of a Doctor . Ernst Rowohlt Verlag, Berlin 1930, p. 10.
  5. Erlkönig with Thomas Quasthoff ' on YouTube
  6. The Sorcerer's Apprentice with Josef Greindl on YouTube
  7. The watch with Hermann Prey on YouTube
  8. The watch with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on YouTube
  9. ^ BR-Klassik: Carl Loewe: “The Atonement of the New Covenant” - Passion Oratorio in three parts. In: Bayerischer Rundfunk . April 19, 2019, accessed May 11, 2019 .
  10. HISTORY ASSOCIATION UNKEL e. V. Carl Loewe 5th paragraph
  12. Carl-Loewe-Weg in the Kiel Wiki
  14. ↑ Register of monuments, Saalkreis, p. 85.