Friedrich Rochlitz at 250

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Leipzig writer and music journalist Johann Friedrich Rochlitz (12 February 1769 - 16 December 1842) studied theology and philosophy before working as a tutor. In 1798 he founded the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung at Breitkopf & Härtel, serving as the journal’s editor until 1818. It developed into the most important music journal in the German-speaking area.

Through his marriage to Henriette Winkler, the widow of a rich patrician, Rochlitz became independently wealthy in 1809 and came into possession of a not insignificant collection of paintings.

Rochlitz knew and was friends with a number of personalities of his day, including composers such as Louis Spohr, Carl Maria von Weber, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Schubert. From 1801 to 1829 he also corresponded with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In addition to numerous stories, Rochlitz also wrote and translated opera libretti and wrote theoretical treatises about art. Some of his music journalism appeared in the two-volume collection Für Freunde der Tonkunst (Leipzig 1824/25).

Rochlitz published a multi-volume collection of exquisite songs with a historical range from Giullaume Dufay to Michael Haydn that was also exquisitely titled Sammlung vorzüglicher Gesangstücke der anerkannt grössten zugleich für die Geschichte der Tonkunst wichtigsten die eigene höhere Ausbildung für diese Kunst und den würdigsten Genuss an derselben fördernsten Meister der für Musik entscheidendsten Nationen, gewählt nach der Zeitfolge geordnet, und mit den nöthigsten historischen und anderen Nachweisungen herausgegeben (Mainz: Schott, 1838-1840; RISM ID no. 403008644).

Some of Rochlitz’s own compositions are indexed in the RISM catalog.

Image: Title page of Sammlung vorzüglicher Gesangstücke, volume 3, copy from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (D-Mbs 2 317-2).

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