Altenburg, Johann Ernst
- Edward H. Tarr
(b Weissenfels, June 15, 1734; d Bitterfeld, May 14, 1801). German trumpeter, organist and teacher. Son of Johann Caspar Altenburg, he was sworn into apprenticeship by his father at two years of age and was released from his articles as a trumpeter 16 years later. Because of the decline of Baroque social order, however, he was never able to find a position as a trumpeter. He became a secretary to a friend of his father's, a royal Polish stablemaster, then studied the organ and composition with Johann Theodor Römhild in Merseburg until 1757 and (briefly) with Bach's son-in-law, Johann Christoph Altnickol, in Naumburg. In 1757 he joined the French army as a field trumpeter and participated in the Seven Years War, then travelled to various German states, returning to Weissenfels in 1766. In 1767 he found a position as an organist in Landsberg, and in 1769 in the then small village of Bitterfeld. He auditioned unsuccessfully for better positions and died embittered and impoverished....