Muthel (January 17, 1728 – July 14, 1788) was a German
composer and noted keyboard virtuoso. Along with C.P.E.
Bach, he represented the Sturm und Drang style of
As far as is known, he was the first to use the term
fortepiano in a published work, in the title of his Duetto
für 2 Clavier, 2 Flügel, oder 2 Fortepiano (1771), which
reflects the rising popularity of the fortepiano at that
Biography He was born in Mölln in the Duchy of Lauenburg, the fifth
of nine children. His father was Christian Caspar, an
organist and friend of Georg Philipp Telemann. He studied
music with his father, and later Johann Paul Kunzen in
Lübeck. In 1747, at age 19, he became a court organist and
cembalist for Duke Christian Ludwig II of
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, in Schwerin.
In 1750 he was given leave to study with Johann Sebastian
Bach in Leipzig. He became Bach's last pupil, beginning
study only three months before the master's death. In that
time, he notated a number of the blind composer's final
works, including the Chromatic Fantasia and parts of the
Orgelbüchlein. According to Bach's biographer Philipp Spitta,
he was present at Bach's deathbed, and took over his duties
for nine weeks. Afterwards, he continued study with Johann
Christoph Altnickol, who had also been living and studying
with Bach. Afterwards he took the opportunity to travel and
meet other composers, the most notable of whom was C.P.E.
Bach (then residing at the court of Frederick II of Prussia
at Potsdam), with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship
and correspondence. In 1751 he returned to the ducal court,
where he remained for two more years, eventually being
replaced by his younger brother.
In 1753 he moved to Riga (now in Latvia, then part of the
Russian Empire), where one of his brothers had moved. It was
here that he published his first works, in 1756; he only
published a few works in his lifetime. At first he worked as
a conductor for a private orchestra; later, he was appointed
organist at St. Peter's Church, which he served from 1767
until 1788, when he died in nearby Bienenhof.
Influence Riga was far from the established musical centers of
Europe; he published few works, but he gained praise from a
number of musicians for his virtuosity. The English music
historian Charles Burney, who mentioned him several times in
his writings, held him in high esteem. The German Christian
Friedrich Daniel Schubart wrote of his harpsichord skill
that "connoisseurs that have heard him cannot praise enough
the quickness, correctness and lightness with which he
conquers mountains of difficulties."
He is believed to have been a skilled improviser on the
keyboard. He seems to have preferred the clavichord.
Compositions Most of his works remained unpublished in his lifetime,
and some known works are still without official publication.
None of the works for his principal instrument, the organ,
were published in his lifetime, nor were any for
His known works include a total of seven concerti, nine
sonatas, and numerous other shorter pieces.
Concerto in B flat major (printed 1767)
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor (printed 1767)
Sonata No. 1 in F major (printed in 1756)
Sonata No. 2 in G major (printed in 1756)
Sonata No. 3 in C major (printed in 1756)
Duetto für 2 Clavier, 2 Flügel, oder 2 Fortepiano (printed
Duetto in E-flat major (printed in 1771)
Arioso with 12 Variations, No. 1 in G major (printed in
Arioso with 12 Variations, No. 2 in C minor (printed in
12 Variations for Clavichord
Minuet with 6 variations
Tempo di Minuetto con Variazioni
Fantasy in F major for Organ
Two Fantasies in E-flat major for Organ
Fantasy in G minor for Organ
Fantasy in G major for Organ
45 Choice Odes and Songs from Various Poets (45 Auserlesene
Oden und Lieder van verschiedenen Dichtern) (printed in
For other instruments
Concerto for Bassoon in C major
Concerto for 2 Bassoons in E-flat major
Sonata in D major for Flute and Basso Continuo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Muthel - Fortepiano Concerto, Schornsheim
Johann Gottfried Muthel -
Fantasie in F major
Played by Andrew Dewar on the 1997 Jürgen Ahrend Organ in
the Musikhochschule, Stuttgart
Muthel - Sonata in D Major
for flute and continuo
Kelly Nivison Roudabush,
Eunji Lee, harpsichord
Doctoral Traverso Recital,
March 8th, 2012. Ford Hall, Indiana University.
2. Allegro ma non troppo
Johann Gottfried Muthel
(1728-1788) Duet in C major for Harpsichords
2. Un poco adagio
Gregor Hollmann Harpsichord
- Jurgen Ammer Kassel after J. H. Harrass 1714
Bernward Lohr Harpsichord - Joop Klinkhamer Amsterdam after
Chr. Zell 1737
Johann Gottfried Muthel Sonata
en F,Hollmann Harpsichord
Johann Gottfried Muthel Sonata
in D, Allegro
featuring baroque flutist and music director Kim
Pineda with Bernard Gordillo, harpsichord; August
Denhard, theorbo; and Max Fuller, viola da gamba.
They perform Allegro from Muthel's Sonata in D.
Müthel: Fantasie g-moll
Recorded in Miami, FL. Anne
Recorded live by T. Schuster.