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date: 25 May 2020

Berner, Friedrich Wilhelmlocked

  • Franz Gehring
  • , revised by John Warrack
  •  and Rudolf Walter


(b Breslau, May 16, 1780; d Breslau, May 9, 1827). German organist, teacher, composer and musical organizer. He studied music with his father, Johann Georg Berner (1738–1810), organist at St Elisabeth, Breslau, becoming his assistant at 13 and succeeding him in 1810. He also learnt many other instruments, and at the age of 16 became clarinettist in the city theatre orchestra; he also studied composition with Franz Gehirne. Around 1798 he heard the organist David Traugott Nicolai, whose father had been a pupil of Bach, and was so impressed that he abandoned ‘the galant style of organ playing’ for that of Bach. When Weber was appointed Kapellmeister in 1804 Berner befriended him, and when Weber accidentally drank some engraving acid, it was Berner's prompt action which prevented disastrous consequences. In 1812 Berner went to Berlin with Joseph Schnabel, leader of the theatre orchestra, to study Zelter's teaching methods at the Sing-Akademie, the Prussian government's intention being to form similar institutions. While in Berlin he played Mozart's Concerto for two pianos with Weber, and also performed as an organist. Three years later the Akademische Institut für Kirchenmusik was founded in Breslau, with Berner and Schnabel as directors. After the dissolution of the Silesian monasteries in ...

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Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart