KUMMER, Friedrich August, a great violoncellist, born at Meiningen Aug. 5 1797. His father (an oboist) migrated to Dresden, where the lad learnt the cello under Dotzauer. It was his ambition to enter the King's band, but as there was then no vacancy for a cellist, he took up the oboe, and soon attained such proficiency as to obtain the desired appointment, in Nov. 1814. In 1817 he again took up his original instrument, and in time became known as the most accomplished virtuoso in Germany. With the exception of occasional musical tours, principally in Germany and Italy, his career has been confined to Dresden. In 1864 he celebrated the 5oth anniversary of his appointment as a member of the Dresden orchestra, after which he retired on a pension, and was succeeded by F. Grützmacher. He died at Dresden, May 22, 1879. Kummer's tone was at once sweet and powerful, and his command over difficulties very great. His playing however was characterised in a remarkable degree by repose, and he is described as never having been excited even when playing the most passionate or difficult passages. Kummer has been a voluminous writer for his instrument. 163 of his works have appeared in print, among which are Concertos, Fantasias, a good Violoncello School, etc. He has also composed some 200 entractes for the Dresden Theatre. Among his many distinguished pupils, Goltermann of Stuttgart, and Cossmann of Wiesbaden may be named.
[ T. P. H. ]
KUNST DER FUGE, DIE. This work of J. S. Bach's has been already mentioned under the head Art of Fugue. It only remains to add that since that time a good analysis of it was read by Mr. James Higgs to the Musical Association, Feb. 5, 1877, and is published in their Proceedings for 1876–77.
KUNTZSCH, Johann Gottfried, one of those earnest, old-fashioned, somewhat pedantic, musicians, to whom Germany owes so much; who are born in the poorest ranks, raise themselves by unheard-of efforts and self-denial, and die without leaving any permanent mark except the pupils whom they help to form. The 'Baccalaureus Kuntzsch' was teacher of the organ and clavier at the Lyceum of Zwickau when Schumann was a small boy, and it was by him that the great composer was grounded in pianoforte playing. Kuntzsch celebrated his jubilee at Zwickau in July 1852, when Schumann wrote him a charming letter, which his biographer assures us was but one of many. Schumann's studies for the pedal piano—6 pieces in canonform (op. 56), composed in 1845 and published in 1846—are dedicated to his old master, whose name is thus happily preserved from oblivion. Kuntzsch died at a great age in 1854.
KUPSCH, Karl Gustav, demands a few lines as having been for a short time Schumann's instructor in the theory of music—apparently in the latter part of 1830, after his accident to his finger. Kupsch was an average German Kapellmeister, born in Berlin, lived and worked there and in Leipzig and Dresden as teacher composer and conductor, till 1838, when he settled in Rotterdam as Director of the Singing Academy, and one of the committee of the 'Eruditio musica' Society. In 1845 h returned to Germany, became Director of the Theatre at Freiburg im Breisgau, and at Naumburg, where he died July 30, 1846.
KYRIE (Gr. Κύριε ελέησον; Kyrie eleison; 'Lord, have mercy').
I. That portion of the Ordinary of the Mass which immediately follows the Introit, and precedes the Gloria in excelsis: and which, at High Mass, is sung by the Choir, while the Celebrant, supported by the Deacon and Subdeacon, is occupied in incensing the Altar.
The Kyrie, in common with all other choral portions of the Mass, was originally sung exclusively to Plain Chaunt melodies, such as those which are still preserved in the Roman Gradual, and still sung, with great effect, in many Continental Cathedrals. One of these, the Kyrie of the Missa pro Defunctis, exhibited in the subjoined example, is peculiarly interesting, not only from its own inherent beauty, but, as will be presently shewn, from the use to which it was turned by Palestrina, in the Sixteenth Century.
When, after the invention of Figured Music, these venerable melodies were selected as themes for the exercise of contrapuntal skill, the Kyrie naturally assumed a prominent position in the polyphonic Mass; and at once took a definite form, the broad outlines of which passed, unaltered, through the vicissitudes of many changing Schools. The construction of the words led, almost of necessity, to their separation into three distinct movements. Some of the earlier contrapuntists delighted in moulding these into Canons, of maddening complexity. The great Masters of the Sixteenth Century preferred rather to treat them as short, but well-developed Real Fugues, on three distinct subjects, the last of which was usually of a somewhat more animated character than the other two. Whether from a pious appreciation of the spirit of the words, or a desire to render the opening movement of the Mass as impressive as possible, these earnest writers never failed to treat the Kyrie with peculiar solemnity. In the hands of Palestrina, it frequently expresses itself in a wailing cry for mercy, the tender pathos of which transcends all power of description.
- Wasielewsky gives it, p. 10.
- Wasiellwsky, p. 97.