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Himmel, Frederick Henry

HIMMEL, FREDERICK HENRY (1765-1814), German composer, was born on the 20th of November 1765 at Treuenbrietzen in Brandenburg, Prussia, and originally studied theology at Halle. During a temporary stay at Potsdam he had an opportunity of showing his self-acquired skill as a pianist before King Frederick William II., who thereupon made him a yearly allowance to enable him to complete his musical studies. This he did under Naumann, a German composer of the Italian school, and the style of that school Himmel himself adopted in his serious operas. The first of these, a pastoral opera, // Primo Naiiigatore, was produced at Venice in 1794 with great success. In 1792 he went to Berlin, where his oratorio Isaaco was produced, in consequence of which he was made court Kapellmeister to the king of Prussia, and in that capacity wrote a great deal of official music, including cantatas, and a coronation Te Deum. His Italian operas, successively composed for Stockholm, St Petersburg and Berlin, were all received with great favour in their day. Of much greater importance than these is an operetta to German words by Kotzebue, called Fanchon, an admirable specimen of the primitive form of the musical drama known in Germany as the Singspiel. Himmel's gift of writing genuine simple melody is also observable in his songs, amongst which one called " To Alexis " is the best. He died in Berlin on the 8th of June 1814.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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