Porcelain, Music and Frederick the Great: a survey of the Klipfel Collection in the Sing-Akademie, Berlin

Nigel Springthorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article provides the first survey of the music collection amassed by the amateur musician and latterly Inspector of the Berlin Royal Porcelain Factory (KPM), Carl Jacob Christian Klipfel (1727–1802). This is possibly the largest collection of a private individual to survive from the eighteenth century and one that provides a unique insight into the repertoire of a provincial collegium musicum in Meissen, an organization that hitherto has not been recognised in scholarship. The importance of Klipfel’s association with Frederick the Great is also outlined. The second section outlines the repertoire, including the many unica copies of works by a large number of Dresden and other Saxon composers, and in particular music of Johann Christian Roellig (b.1716), who was de facto resident composer of the Meissen Collegium Musicum. The analysis also demonstrates the importance of city to city distribution of musical works, including those by Hasse, in contrast to the more familiar court to court transmission in the eighteenth century. The third section then discusses the contribution by the various copyists based in Meissen, Dresden and Berlin, including a study of the handwriting of the principal copyist, Klipfel himself, which makes it possible to date works within the collection more accurately.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-45
Number of pages45
JournalRMA Research Chronicle
Issue number1
Early online date2 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2015


  • Klipfel
  • Roellig
  • Frederick the Great
  • Meissen
  • Sing-Akademie zu Berlin
  • Berlin Porcelain Factory
  • Dresden partita

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