at the theatres of Munich (1778), Vienna (79), Paris (83), Italy (84), Berlin (88), etc. He died at Berlin, July 10, 1825. He was the original Osmin in the 'Entführung,' and had a compass of two octaves and a half 'all round, even, and in tune' (Reichardt).
Fischer was a great ally of Mozart's, who wrote for him 'Non so, d'onde viene,' and often mentions him with affection—'A truly splendid voice, though the Archbishop told me he sang too low for a bass, and I assured him he should sing higher next time' (Sept. 26, 81); 'A man whose loss is irretrievable' (Feb. 5, 83); 'I went to see the Fischers; I cannot describe their joy, the whole family desire to be remembered to you' (March 17, 81). The others of the family were his wife Barbara, a more than respectable singer and actress; his son Joseph (1780–1862), also a bass of renown, but more known as an Impresario than a singer; his daughters Fischer-Vernier—who in 1835 founded a singing school of great repute for girls in Vienna—and Wilhelmine, and Joseph's adopted daughter, Fischer-Maraffa, all good efficient intelligent artists.
[ M. C. C. ]
FISCHER, Gottfried, son of a master baker of Bonn, born there July 21, 1780—ten years after Beethoven; the author of a narrative or collection of anecdotes on Bonn and the Beethoven family, their circumstances and connections, from the grandfather of Ludwig to Ludwig's own youth. The Fischers lived at 934 in the Rheingasse, in which the Beethovens also lived from 1775, and which was for long believed to be the birthplace of the composer. Fischer's narrative was not committed to writing till 1838, and though highly curious and interesting, and written with apparent bona fides, cannot be closely relied on as to dates. It has been sifted and employed by Thayer in his Life of Beethoven (see vol. i. Anhang vii.).
[ G. ]
FISCHER, Johann Christian, distinguished oboist, born 1733 at Freiburg (Breisgau), was for some years in the court band at Dresden, then in the service of Frederic the Great, and after a successful concert tour by Mannheim, Holland, and Paris, came to London, and made his first appearance at the Thatched House, June 2, 1768; J. C. Bach playing the 'pianoforte' for the first time at the same concert. Fischer was for many years a great attraction at the Bach-Abel and Vauxhall concerts, and as a member of the Queen's band played frequently before the court. His playing of Handel's fourth oboe concerto at the Handel Commemoration in 1784 so delighted the King that he expressed his satisfaction in a note on his book of the words. (Memoir of Dr. Burney by Mme. D'Arblay, ii. 385.) His tone must have been very powerful since Giardini the violinist characterised it as 'such an impudence of tone as no other instrument could contend with'; and according to the ABCDario 'it was very fine and inexpressibly well-managed.' On the death of Stanley, Master of the King's band (1786), Fischer competed with Burney and others for the vacant post, but Parsons was appointed, and Fischer soon after went abroad, probably in disgust at his failure. Mozart in 1766 as a boy had been enchanted with his playing in Holland, but on hearing him again in Vienna, severely criticises him (letter to his father, April 4, 1787), and condemns alike his tone, his execution, and his compositions. From 1790 he remained in London. While playing at court he was struck with paralysis, and died April 29, 1800 (see 'Times' of May 1). Kelly, in his 'Reminiscences' (vol. i. 9), gives an anecdote of Fischer's pride as an artist. A certain nobleman having invited him to supper much against his will, said when he arrived, 'I hope, Mr. Fischer, you have brought your oboe in your pocket'; to which he replied, 'No, my lord; my oboe never sups,' and instantly left the house. He was very intimate with Gainsborough, who was a great lover of music, and whose pretty daughter Mary he married, though the father gave a very unwilling consent, foreseeing the short duration of the marriage. (Fulcher's Life of Gainsborough.) There is a fine portrait of Fischer by Gainsborough at Hampton Court (private dining-room, No. 747). Thicknesse mentions a second in full uniform—'scarlet and gold like a colonel of the Foot Guards.'
Zuck and Kellner were his best-known pupils in London. J. C. Bach wrote a quartet for two oboes, viola, and cello, for him, which he often played. His own compositions (of which Fétis and Gerber give a partial list) consist of solos, duets, concertos, quartets, etc. On this point the ABCDario says, 'as a composer his desire to be original often makes him introduce whimsical and outré passages, which nothing but his playing could cover.' Mozart, in spite of his unfavourable opinion of him, immortalised his minuet by writing variations for it (1773), which he often played to display his bravura (Köchel, No. 179). 'This minuet was then all the rage,' as Kelly writes, after hearing Fischer play it in Dublin (Rem. i. 9), and it continued to be the rage for many years.
[ C. F. P. ]
FISCHHOFF. The Fischhoff MS. is the name of a collection of many and valuable particulars of Beethoven's life existing in the Royal Library at Berlin. A short biography of the composer was published soon after his death by Schlosser, which was even more imperfect and incorrect than such hasty compilations are wont to be. It was quickly followed (Oct. 6, 1827) by a public notice from Hotschevar, the legal representative of the Beethoven family, to the effect that an adequate biography was in preparation which would correct the many and important errors to be found in Schlosser. This appears to have been the origin of the collection. On Carl van Beethoven's majority it came into his hands, and at length, after some vicissitudes, into those of Fischhoff, from whom it was acquired by the Berlin Library, where it remains
- See Otto Jahn's 'Mozart,' iii. 303.