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Josephine Lang
(1815-80)


Biographical

Composer and pianist.  Though not credited with any composition in larger form than songs or piano pieces, Josephine Lang won a high artistic rank among the women composers of Germany.  She began her piano studies when five years old, and made progress enough to allow a public appearance in her eleventh year.  Four years later, Mendelssohn met her and became her teacher in counterpoint and thoroughbass.  He was charmed by her gifted and poetic nature, and calls her 'one of the loveliest creatures I have ever seen.  She has the gift of composing songs, and of singing them, in a degree that I have never known before.'  To help support her parents, she did some teaching, and sang in the royal chapel with such success that she was named for the post of royal court singer.  In 1842 she married Christian Kostlin, who obtained a law professorship at Tiibingen, and there she passed fourteen happy years.  The death of her husband was followed by the loss of her three sons, and she was forced once more to struggle for a living.  In this later period of trial and success, she published most of her compositions.  The songs, amounting to a hundred and fifty in number, are remarkable for their strong feeling and expressive power, while her piano works are stamped with originality and depth of conception.  Among the latter are the great 'Deutscher Siegesmarsch', two mazurkas, and an impromptu, 'In the Twilight'.[1]

Place of birth: Munich[2]

Place of death: Tübingen[2]


 

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Sources

1.
A. Elso. Woman's Work in Music. Boston: L. C. Page & Company, 1904.
2.
Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, vol. 51. Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1906.
 

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