(b Ried, Swabia, bap. 13 Jan 1778; d Vienna, 1 Dec 1808). German composer and tenor, brother of Matthäus Fischer. After initial study with his brother he went to Vienna, joined the chorus of the Josefstadt Theatre and in 1800 went over to Schikaneder’s Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden. Apart from singing small roles he also composed Singspiels for the company and became assistant Kapellmeister under Ignaz von Seyfried in 1806, by when the company was established in its new home, the Theater an der Wien. By the time of his early and sudden death he had written a series of once-popular stage works that show a clear ability to meet the current demand for light, melodically pleasing songs and simple ensembles.
Of the Singspiels attributed to him in secondary literature, the following may be accepted as authentic (all produced at the Theater an der Wien unless otherwise stated): Lunara, Königin des Palmenhains (text by Waldon), Freihaus-Theater, 20 September 1800; Die Entlarvten (Schikaneder), 19 March 1803; Die Scheidewand (Castelli), 2 June 1804; Die Verwandlungen, 9 May 1805; Swetards Zaubertal (Zaubergürtel), (Schikaneder), 3 July 1805 (41 performances in little over a year); Die Festung an der Elbe (Castelli), 3 May 1806; Das Singspiel auf dem Dache (Treitschke), 5 February 1807; Das Hausgesinde, 18 January 1808 (his greatest triumph, given 115 times in the Theater an der Wien, staged in many other places, and followed by two sequels); Theseus und Ariadne (Stegmayer), 11 March 1809. Among Fischer’s arrangements Raoul der Blaubart, 1804, and Die zwei Geizigen, 1805, both of Grétry originals, deserve mention. Das Milchmädchen von Bercy, a Singspiel with libretto by Treitschke, was given in the two court theatres in May 1808, and Die Ruinen von Portici is stated to have been given at Stuttgart in 1807. Fischer also composed two cantatas, two masses, some songs, marches and piano pieces. His comic trio Die Advokaten, published by Eder in 1804, was arranged by Schubert in December 1812 (d37) and published by Diabelli as op.74 in May 1827.
GroveO (P. Branscombe) [incl. list of stage works]
O.E.Deutsch: ‘Das Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden’, Mitteilungen des Vereines für Geschichte der Stadt Wien, xvi (1937), 30–73
A.Bauer: 150 Jahre Theater an der Wien (Zürich, 1952)
American firm of music publishers. Carl Fischer was born in Buttstädt, Thuringia, in 1849. Trained in music, he went to New York in 1872 and opened a musical instrument shop at 79 East 4th Street. He recognized the need for musical arrangements for the diversely constituted orchestras that prevailed at the time, and began to reproduce music (with permission) in longhand, eventually adopting lithography. As demand increased, he employed an engraver and an arranger, and by 1880 he had to move to larger quarters at 6 Fourth Avenue, facing Cooper Union and its art school, and close to the principal concert halls of the city.
Fischer pursued a dual objective, both publishing music and selling instruments, music and methods (most of which were imported from Europe). Endeavouring to provide music suited to the tastes and styles of the period, he responded to the growing interest in band music and became the principal publisher of such figures as Arthur Pryor, John Philip Sousa and Henry Fillmore. Publication of The Metronome, a journal for bandleaders, was begun in 1885 and the firm still prides itself on its extensive band catalogue.
The field of school music received particular impetus under the leadership of Walter S. Fischer, who succeeded his father as president in 1923 (at which time the firm moved to its present 12-storey structure at 56–62 Cooper Square). The firm had always published the standard repertory of choral and orchestral music, and in 1907 began an invaluable monthly journal for professional musicians and music teachers, the Musical Observer (incorporated into the Musical Courier in 1931); it was to make important contributions with its accessible arrangements and easy methods (to replace the standard manuals). Leading instrumental performers provided arrangements of classical and contemporary works that have become standard material for concerts, recitals and masterclasses; Gustave Reeve was director of publications 1945–55.
In 1946 Frank H. Connor succeeded his father-in-law as president. He continued the founder’s policies by publishing an increasing number of new works, and giving encouragement to young composers. In the 1960s the firm participated in the Contemporary Music Project, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, and other similar undertakings, as well as the Ford Foundation’s subsequent Recording-Publication Project which encouraged collaboration between publishers and recording companies in the cause of contemporary music.
Composers represented by Carl Fischer, Inc. include Norman Dello Joio, Lukas Foss, Karl Kohn, John La Montaine, Peter Mennin, Douglas Moore, Randall Thompson and Virgil Thomson. Among the most important items in the Fischer catalogue are the Coopersmith edition of Messiah and the more recent addition of several early works by Webern.
Frank Hayden Connor died in 1977 and was succeeded by his son, Walter Fischer Connor, who became President and Chairman of the Board. During his tenure, Fischer expanded its retail sales in New York and through branch offices in Chicago and Boston. Connor was also Chairman of Boosey & Hawkes which Fischer acquired in 1986. After Connor’s death in 1996 Charles Abry, the great-grandson of the firm’s founder, was chosen as the new President. Under his leadership the firm continues to maintain its large diversified catalogue that includes educational literature as well as concert music, while expanding its horizons with new acquisitions such as Band Music Press.
S.F.Herz: ‘The Carl Fischer Centennial’, Music Educators Journal, lix/1 (1972–3), 80, 113–17