Baumgarten Carl Friedrich
|Baumgarten, Karl [Carl] Friedrich.|
(b Lübeck, c1740; d London, 1824). German composer, violinist and organist, active in England. He had organ lessons with J.P. Kunzen at Lübeck before he settled in London, at about the age of 18, as organist of the Lutheran Chapel in the Savoy. In addition to serving as an organist, he worked as a teacher, composer and violinist. The imputation made by Haydn, who heard him in London in 1792, that his violin playing lacked energy would seem to be contradicted by the fact that he was a well-known orchestral leader, for example at the Haymarket Theatre in 1763, at Dublin the following year, and for a long period at Covent Garden (1780-94); he was also a violinist in the Duke of Cumberland?s band. Burney wrote that Baumgarten had then (1789) ?been so long in England that his merit [was] unknown to his countrymen on the Continent?; and Baumgarten had apparently forgotten his continental connections, for when he met Haydn he could hardly converse in German.
His music for the stage was only moderately successful. Burney wrote that Baumgarten deserved notice ?as an instrumental composer and profound harmonist?. Judging by what was published, this was a generous verdict. His chamber music is written in the style current during the late 18th century in England, in imitation of J.C. Bach, but it is undistinguished and technically undemanding. His organ fugues are archaically ?learned? by comparison with his other work, and rather dull. As an extemporizer at the organ, however, Baumgarten was highly admired; he was respected as a knowledgeable musician and a cultured person of wide interests including astronomy and mathematics. He also had an interest in music theory and wrote an unpublished treatise