Sue Young Histories

Johann Gottlob Friedrich Wieck 1785 – 1873

September 05, 2009

Johann Gottlob Friedrich Wieck 1785 – 1873Johann Gottlob Friedrich Wieck 1785 – 1873 was a noted German piano teacher, voice teacher, piano firm owner, and music reviewer.

Wieck was a patient and a friend of Samuel Hahnemann when they both lived in Liepsig. Johann Gottlob Friedrich Wieck was a close friend of Ludwig von Beethoven and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Wieck’s daughter Clara also knew Samuel Hahnemann, and she married Robert Alexander Schumann,

Wieck was born in Pretzsch in 1785. He was a student of theology at Wittenberg and was also a preacher and private music tutor. He was also engaged in in a piano factory and a music lending library in Leipzig, which Wilhelm Richard Wagner was known to use.

He married his first piano student, soprano Marianne Tromlitz (1797–1872), with whom he had three children, Clara, Alwyn and Gustav. In 1825, Marianne divorced Wieck and married another piano teacher, Adolph Bargiel, father of Woldemar Bargiel. Marianne and Bargiel were apparently having an affair, and Bargiel was a good friend of Wieck.

On 31 July 1828, Wieck married his second wife, Clementine Fechner, twenty years his junior, with whom he had three more children, Cäcilie, Clemens and Marie. Marie went on to become a notable pianist and teacher, but was not as famous as her half-sister Clara.

In 1844 Wieck moved to Dresden, where he lived for the rest of his life. He spent the summers at Loschwitz, where he died in 1873.

His home became a rendezvous for many artists and musicians. Felix Mendelssohn supported him becoming professor of piano at the Leipzig Conservatory, but the post went to Ignaz Moscheles.

Even before the birth of his daughter, Clara, Wieck had resolved that she should become a great piano virtuoso. He developed his own teaching method and gave her daily lessons in piano, violin, singing, theory, harmony, composition, and counterpoint. Beginning at age 12, Wieck began accompanying Clara on her tours throughout Europe. When she fell in love with another of her father’s students, Robert Alexander Schumann, Wieck refused steadfastly to countenance the marriage, and they later successfully applied to the courts for permission to be married without his consent.

Not only did Wieck have his objections overturned, but he was also sentenced to jail for 18 days for unruly courtroom behaviour, after accusing Robert Alexander Schumann of habitual drunkenness and the inability to support a wife.

After a few years and in light of Robert Alexander Schumann’s growing reputation as a serious composer, Wieck and the Schumanns reconciled.

He published some studies and exercises for the piano, and a number of pamphlets. He also edited various piano works, under the anonymous acronym “D.A.S”, which stands for “Der alte Schulmeister”.

Wieck published a very positive review of Frederic Chopin’s Variations on “La ci darem la mano” in the German periodical, Caecilia. Frederic Chopin found the review so embarrassingly cloying that he blocked Wieck’s attempts to publish the review in French. In a letter to a friend, Frederic Chopin wrote that Wieck, “instead of being clever, is very stupid” and that he did not want his musical integrity to “die” because of “the imagination of that … stubborn German.”


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