Johann Martin Friedrich Nisle (1780-after 1861)

Our series RISM A-Z is moving right along, and here is the second entry for letter N.

Anyone who looks for Johann Martin Friedrich Nisle in music encyclopedias will first come across the alternative first names Jean (Frédéric) and Giovanni. This is in fact an indication that the horn player and composer (and also violist) was on the move throughout Europe. Nisle, who was born in Neuwied (near Koblenz), studied in Rostock and went to Vienna before going on to Hungary, where he received his first permanent position in the court of Ignác Végh. Between 1809 and 1821, he was in Italy before joining the court orchestra in Stuttgart as a violist. After Switzerland, Berlin, and Paris, Nisle finally landed in London, where the trail grows cold.

Like his father Johannes Nisle (1735-1788), Nisle's two brothers Johann Wilhelm Friedrich (1768-1839) and Christian David (1772-after 1839) were famous horn players. He performed with his brother Christian David in Hungary. His other brother Johann Wilhelm Friedrich was employed in the orchestra in Stuttgart as a cellist at the same time as him. This overlap in the two biographies might be a reason why the two brothers have sometimes been confused with each other. In the printed volumes of RISM series A/I (supplement), the printed editions by Johann Martin Friedrich were mistakenly attributed to his brother Johann Wilhelm Friedrich.

The 54 sources documented in RISM (36 imprints and 18 manuscripts) for Nisle show that the focus of his output was clearly on chamber music. That said, there is also a single opera called Der Eremit auf Formentera, which was performed at the court of Ignác Végh. An incomplete set of parts for the opera is preserved today at the István Király Museum in Székesfehérvár, Hungary (H-SFm, RISM ID no.  530004434).

Image: Johann Martin Friedrich Nisle, Zwölf freundliche Gesänge (Bunzlau: Appun, circa 1844), Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (D-Mbs) 8887. Available online.


Category: RISM A-Z

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