L(o)uise Reichardt

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Songs, songs, and more songs–composed by Louise Reichardt (11 April 1779, Berlin — 17 November 1826, Hamburg).

The composer and singing teacher received her first music instruction from her father, the Kapellmeister, composer, and writer Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752-1814), and was largely self-taught after that. Around 1814 she established one of the first music schools in Hamburg. Together with Johann Heinrich Clasing she founded a music association in 1816 and took over the direction of the choir. She rehearsed mainly sacred choral works and Handel’s compositions were particularly important to her.

By 1800, four of her songs were published in Zwölf deutsche Lieder von Johann Freidrich Reichardt und dessen Tochter Luise Reichardt (Zerbst: C. C. Menzel; RISM ID no. 990054269). Having the father recognize his daughter as a composer in this way speaks for the quality of her compositions.

She liked to select words by her friends to set to music: Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano, and Philipp Otto Runge, but also Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Karl Philipp Konz, Novalis, and Ludwig Tieck. Not all of Louise Reichardt’s approximately 90 compositions have yet been included in the RISM catalog, but the more than 150 entries for sources of her music are enough to give you an initial impression. The Spanisches Lied has the most sources in RISM, with words by Clemens Brentano (see, for example, RISM ID no. 452511896).

Image: Title page from XII Deutsche und italiänische romantische Gesänge (Berlin: Realschul-Buchhandlung, 1806), from the copy in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (D-Mbs 4 Mus.pr. 354; RISM ID no. 1001052654).

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