Rellstab, Johann Karl Friedrich



Writer on music and printer and publisher of music; born at Berlin; was a pupil of Agricola and Fasch, and had intended to make a profession of music, but was compelled by the death of his father, a printer, to take charge of the business, and added to the establishment a branch of music printing and selling. In 1785 he opened a circulating library of music and in 1787 began a series of concerts which were of short duration, being absorbed by the Singakademie. The French invasion of 1806 forced him to close his business. He turned to practical account his musical knowledge, giving lessons, lectures on harmony and writing critical reviews for the Vossische Zeitung, a Berlin periodical. He died of apoplexy at Charlottenburg in 1813. His compositions are of little worth; they include an opera; several cantatas; an oratorio; a mass; a Te Deum; marches; symphonies; and overtures. His writings are interesting and show an observant and active mind. Among those published are a treatise on declamation; a guide to Bach's system of fingering; and a pamphlet concerning various Berlin musical performances. Of his three daughters, the eldest, Caroline (1794-1813), was a singer gifted with a voice of phenomenal compass, while the others were pianists of ability.