August Freyer

August Freyer (15 December 1801 - 28 May 1883) was a Polish musician and composer, specializing in both performance and composition on the organ.


Freyer's tomb, with an incorrect birth date of 1803

August was born in Saxony in 1801.[1][2] He moved to Warsaw and began his musical career there as a double bass player.[3] He became organist at the Warsaw Evangelical Church, had the organ rebuilt, and turned his church into a prominent musical location[3] while becoming the prominent organist and organ teacher in Warsaw.[2] He made a tour of northern Germany as an organist, from which he received wide acclaim.[2]

August was a musical pupil of Józef Elsner.[4] He became a close associate of Adolf Friedrich Hesse. He promoted Hesse's music to Mikhail Glinka, successful in his performance to the point of reducing his listener to tears.[5] At an early age Stanisław Moniuszko became his pupil, his parents relocated to Warsaw in order to have Stanisław study with Freyer.[4] He died in 1883.[6]


Freyer was largely responsible for the revival of organ music in Poland.[6] He was a master at music balance, both homophonic and polyphonic.[3] His playing was appreciated by Felix Mendelssohn and Louis Spohr.[3] In addition to the aforementioned German concerts, he toured Paris to enthusiastic reception.[6] His most famous composition was a set of Concert Variations of which the final-movement fugue is the most recognized.[6]


  1. Michael F. Runowski : Ein deutscher Pole oder ein polnischer Deutscher? Leben und Werk von August Freyer. In: „organ“ 4/2003, S. 16ff
  2. 1 2 3 Samuel, Thomas (July 1, 1918). "A Psychological Problem Made in Germany". The Musical Times. 59 (905): 320.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Johnson, Keith. "August Freyer Biography". AllMusic. RhythmOne group. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  4. 1 2 Greene, David Mason (1985). Greene's Biographical Encyclopedia of Composers. Reproducing Piano Roll Fnd. p. 641. ISBN 9780385142786.
  5. Stinson, Russell (2012). J. S. Bach at His Royal Instrument: Essays on His Organ Works. p. 116. ISBN 9780199917242.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Golos, Jerzy (1969). Program Notes: Polish Organ Music of the Romantic Era (12-inch vinyl LP) (phonograph record). Orpheus. LCCN 77-750952. OCLC 3265273. OR 362.
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