Friedrich Schneider: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

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Johann Christian Friedrich Schneider (3 January 1786 in Alt-Waltersdorf – 23 November 1853 in Dessau) was a German pianist, composer, organist, and conductor.

Schneider studied piano first when his father Johann Gottlob Schneider (senior), and after that at the Zittau Gymnasium later Schönfelder and Unger. His first published works were a set of three piano sonatas in 1804. In 1805, he commenced studies at the University of Leipzig. He became an organist at St. Thomas Church, Leipzig in 1812, and was named conductor in Dessau in 1821. It is thought that Schneider premiered Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in Leipzig in 1811. In 1824, he was festival director of the Lower Rhenish Music Festival and his oratorio Die Sündflut was premiered during this event.

Schneider composed copiously. Among his works are seven operas, four masses, six oratorios, 25 cantatas, 23 symphonies, seven piano concertos, sonatas for violin, flute, and cello, and a good many shorter instrumental pieces, some of them for piano, some for organ. He with left numerous solo songs and allocation songs.

Friedrich Lux was one of Schneider’s pupils. His brothers Johann Gottlob Schneider (junior; 1789-1864) and Johann Gottlieb Schneider (1797-1856) were likewise organists, the former achieving great fame and notability, with artistic links to Mendelssohn, Liszt, Schumann and many others.

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