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Eberhard Müller (Composer, Thomaskantor)

Born: December 13, 1767 - Northeim, Hannover, Germany
Died: December 3, 1817 - Weimar, Saxony, Germany

August Eberhard [Eberhart, Eberhardt] Müller, was a German pianist, organist and flautist as well as composer and conductor.


August Eberhard [Eberhart, Eberhardt] Müller's father organist at RinteIn, was his first instructor, and he subsequently learnt of Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach of Bückeburg. In 1785 he went to Leipzig to study law, but soon gave it up.

In 1789 August Eberhard Müller became organist of St. Ulrich's Church in Magdeburg. In 1792 he was chosen to direct the concerts, etc., at Berlin, and there became intimate with Marpurg, Johann Friedrich Fasch, Reichardt and other distinguished men. He was made organist of Nikolaikirche in Leipzig in 1794. He played the organ and harpsichord equally well, and was also a proficient on the flute. In 1800 he was appointed deputy to Johann Adam Hiller at the Thomasschule and assistant Kapellmeister at Thomaskirche, and from 1901 followed Johann Adam Hiller as Thomaskantor. From 1810 he was musical director at the Weimar court.


August Eberhard Müller composed concertos, keyboard and chamber music and various vocal works. His early output is Mozartian; his later piano music is more virtuoso in style. He wrote influential piano and flute tutors. The following is a list of his compositions:

(1) Piano: Two concerto!: a trio for piano and strings, op. 17; two sonatas for violin and piano; many sonatas for piano solo, besides variations. etc.
(2) Organ: Suites, a sonata and Choral, variations.
(3) Flute: Eleven concertos; a fantasia with orchestra and twenty-three duets for two flutes.
(4) Vocal: Three cantatas for four voices and orchestra; two posthumous operettas (Singspiele); songs with piano accompaniment.
(5) Instruction: Method for the piano, and instruction-book dor flute (see Q.-L).


August Eberhard Müller was ‘greatly esteemed’ by Beethoven, and valued by Goethe for his energy when he was in charge of the music in Weimar. He was most known for his propagation of the music of Haydn and W.A. Mozart, and for his much-reprinted Klavier- [i.e. clavichord] und Fortepiano Schule (1804).

His views ‘On the Flute and true Flute-playing’ (Ueber Flöte und wahres Flötenspiel) were published in the AMZ, 1798, cols 193–7 (a partial translation can be found in Ardal Powell’s edition of The Keyed Flute by Johann George Tromlitz, Oxford, 1996, pp. 236-8) and the Elementarbuch für Flötenspieler (c. 1815). Müller’s preference was for the keyed flute (eventually the ‘eight-keyed’ version), an instrument which ‘has certainly been significantly improved quite recently, with the result that one can express with the help of additional keys several dull, dead and out-of-tune notes with equal strength and purity [of intonation] with the others’ (Elementarbuch, chapter 1).

He was a strong advocate of W.A. Mozart’s music (he was eleven years younger than the composer), provided a commentary and cadenzas to his piano concertos and arranged the late Symphony in E flat K. 543 very effectively as a Sonata brillante a quattro mani (1801). The keyboard Sonata in B flat listed as K. Anh. 498a (Anh. C 25.04/05) is now at least partially attributed to Müller (the slow movement is an adaptation of the slow movement from the Piano Concerto K. 450); according to Wolfgang Plath and Wolfgang Rehm the first movement and the minuet (thought by Einstein to be a transposed version of the ‘lost’ minuet from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik) were composed by Müller.

As an independent composer for the flute he left eleven concertos and other showpieces with orchestra, duos, solos and sonatas, in addition to his adaptation of the clarinet concerto which was published in parts in 1801.

Source: Grove Concise Dictionary of Music (© 1994 by Oxford University Press); Christopher Hogwood Website; Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2005, February 2006)

Thomaskantors: Thomanerchor Leipzig | Gewandhausorchester Leipzig | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Thomaskirche Leipzig: Church Services, Motets & Concerts

Links to other Sites

August Eberhard Müller (Wikipedia) [German]

Christopher Hogwood's web site: Archive



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