A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Berner, Friedrich

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BERNER, Friedrich Wilhelm, born at Breslau, March 16, 1780 [App. p.545 "May"]; pupil of his father the organist of the Elisabeth Church there, under whose tuition he made such rapid progress as to be appointed his assistant at thirteen years of age. Counterpoint and composition he learnt from Gehirnie, director of the choir at the Matthäus Church, and at the same time from Reichardt the cello, horn, bassoon, and clarinet, which last instrument he played in the orchestra of the theatre. The arrival of C. M. von Weber in Breslau to take the post of capellmeister roused Berner to fresh exertions. Weber valued him as an excellent pianoforte and clarinet player. In 1811 he and Schnabel were summoned to Berlin by Zelter to master the system of the Singakademie, with the view of establishing similar institutions in Breslau and the rest of Silesia, such being the wish of the Prussian government. Berner was also entrusted with the task of cataloguing the musical treasures of the suppressed monasteries. In the middle of all this activity he was seized with a long and serious illness which removed him on May 9, 1827. More details of his life will be found in the 'Hausfreund' for 1827, No. 15. Among his numerous pupils, Adolph Hesse the celebrated organist, himself also departed, is one of the most remarkable. He left many compositions both for voices and instruments, but his didactic writings are more valuable—'Grundregeln des Gesanges' (1815), 'Theorie der Choral-zwischenspiel' (1819), 'Lehre von den musikalischen Interpunktion' (1821). Some of his songs are even now very popular, e.g. 'Deutsche Herz verzage nicht.'

[ F. G. ]