1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Löwe, Johann Karl Gottfried
LÖWE, JOHANN KARL GOTTFRIED (1796–1869), German composer, was born at Löbejün, near Halle, on the 30th of November 1796, and was a choir-boy at Köthen from 1807 to 1809, when he went to the Franke Institute at Halle, studying music with Türk. The beauty of Löwe’s voice brought him under the notice of Madame de Staël, who procured him a pension from Jérôme Bonaparte, then king of Westphalia; this stopped in 1813, on the flight of the king. He entered the University of Halle as a theological student, but was appointed cantor at Stettin in 1820, and director of the town music in 1821, in which year he married Julie von Jacob, who died in 1823. His second wife, Auguste Lange, was an accomplished singer, and they appeared together in his oratorio performances with great success. He retained his office at Stettin for 46 years, when, after a stroke of paralysis, he was somewhat summarily dismissed. He retired to Kiel, and died on the 20th of April 1869. He undertook many concert tours during his tenure of the post at Stettin, visiting Vienna, London, Sweden, Norway and Paris. His high soprano voice (he could sing the music of the “Queen of Night” in Die Zauberflöte as a boy) had developed into a fine tenor. Löwe was a voluminous composer, and wrote five operas, of which only one, Die drei Wünsche, was performed at Berlin in 1834, without much success; seventeen oratorios, many of them for male voices unaccompanied, or with short instrumental interludes only; choral ballads, cantatas, three string quartets, a pianoforte trio; a work for clarinet and piano, published posthumously; and some piano solos. But the branch of his art by which he is remembered, and in which he must be admitted to have attained perfection, is the solo ballad with pianoforte accompaniment. His treatment of long narrative poems, in a clever mixture of the dramatic and lyrical styles, was undoubtedly modelled on the ballads of Zumsteeg, and has been copied by many composers since his day. His settings of the “Erlkönig” (a very early example), “Archibald Douglas,” “Heinrich der Vogler,” “Edward” and “Die Verfallene Mühle,” are particularly fine.