Gerstenberg, Heinrich Wilhelm von
- E. Eugene Helm
(b Tondern, Jan 3, 1727; d Altona, Nov 1, 1823). German poet, critic and musician. From 1757 he studied law at Jena, where inspired by such literary associates as Claudius, Münter and J.L. Schlosser he began his own poetic creations. In 1759, after the considerable success of his dramatic poem Tändeleyen (part of which was later set as a cantata by C.P.E. Bach), he abandoned law in favour of Danish military service, participating in the Russian campaign of 1762 and eventually settling in Copenhagen for about 12 years. There he became the close friend of Klopstock, studied music with J.A. Scheibe, and instituted a series of musical evenings at his home, attended equally by poets and musicians, in which he himself sometimes performed and sang. This custom was continued after he moved to Lübeck as ‘Danish Resident’ in 1775. Financial considerations forced him to sell this position in ...