Naumann, Johann Gottlieb



Dramatic composer, teacher and musician to royalty. Born at Blasewitz, near Dresden, the son of a peasant; educated at the Kreuzschule of Dresden, and expected to become a schoolmaster. His knowledge of music he gained by his own efforts, until Weestroem, a Swedish musician, discovered his musical ability and took him on a tour to Hamburg, then to Padua. Weestroem's object in taking young Naumann was evidently a selfish one, for, while he was studying in Padua with the great teacher, Tartini, he gave his boy companion none of the benefit of that instruction, and in fact treated him so badly that Naumann left him. Tartini then gave Naumann lessons, and another musician aided him financially, so he could continue his musical studies. In 1761 he studied dramatic music in Naples. In Venice he produced his first opera, San Samuele, and then returned to Dresden, where, in 1763, he received the appointment of Court composer of sacred music to the Elector of Saxony. He again went to Italy, where he composed several dramatic works, some of which were produced in Italy, others in his own country. In 1774 he received an invitation to Berlin from Frederick the Great, which he refused, and as a reward received the title of chapelmaster. Ten years later was made chief musicmaster, because he refused a flattering offer at Copenhagen. Naumann wrote equally well for church and stage. His Amphion Protisilao, Solimano La Drama Soldata, stage productions, very popular in their day; Cora, an opera written by him in 1782, was recently performed at Stockholm. His mass in A flat major and one in A minor, and his grand mass, Our Father, are still used in the Dresden Catholic Court Church.