(b Mühlberg, Saxony, 5 April 1698; d Plauen, 23 March 1756). German violinist and composer. After receiving early training from his father, Wagner matriculated at the Thomasschule, Leipzig, on 18 May 1712, and continued there until 1718 as a pupil of Johann Kuhnau. From 1718 to 1726 he studied at the University of Leipzig. He may have become one of J.S. Bach’s first pupils in Leipzig in 1723, for the earliest known letter of recommendation in Bach’s hand concerns Wagner and was written in that year. During the next three years Wagner certainly served as his assistant and he presumably performed in Bach’s weekly church cantatas both as principal violinist and bass soloist. In 1726 Bach wrote four letters in support of Wagner’s application for the post of Kantor in Plauen, describing him thus: ‘he is thoroughly at home in composition …. He plays a good organ and clavier, is accomplished on the violin, violoncello, and other instruments, sings a bass that is, though not too strong, quite mannerly’. Wagner was approved unanimously and remained in Plauen until his death.
Wagner was most celebrated as a violinist and frequently appeared as a guest artist, particularly at the court in Weissenfels. He is said to have composed ‘many church pieces, oratorios, concertos and trios, also 12 violin solos’. Of the two surviving works, one, Lob und Ehre, was published in 1819 as J.S. Bach’s work (bwv Anh.162).
H.T.David and A.Mendel, eds.: The Bach Reader (New York, 1945, 2/1966)
H.Löffler: ‘Die Schüler Johann Sebastian Bachs’, BJb 1953, 5–28
W.Neumann and H.-J.Schulze, eds.: Bach-Dokumente (Kassel, 1963–79)
H.-J.Schulze: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach und Georg Gottfried Wagner: neue Dokumente’, Bach-Studien, v (1975), 147–54
ROBERT L. MARSHALL
Wagner, Gotthard [Joseph]
(b Erding, 29 Dec 1678; d Tegernsee, 13 Dec 1738). German composer. The son of a blacksmith, he first worked in his father's smithy. He attended grammar schools in the Augustine monastery of Weyarn and in Munich, then studied philosophy at the Benedictine abbey in Rott am Inn and theology at the Benedictine abbey in Tegernsee. In 1699 he entered that abbey and took his vows on 17 October 1700; he was ordained priest on 18 October 1705. From 1705 to 1707 and from 1716 to 1721 Wagner taught at the Benedictine grammar school in Freising. Between 1724 and 1727 he was preacher and minister at Maria Plain near Salzburg and from 1728 at Tegernsee. His obituary mentions that he was an excellent organist.
Wagner is a notable representative in south Germany of composers of the German and Latin sacred solo song with accompaniment for instruments and continuo. Only the second of his five printed collections of sacred arias survives complete. He also produced homiletic writings and books of exercises for Latin teaching. The manuscripts of his polyphonic sacred music (masses, litanies, antiphons etc.) have disappeared.
(b Vienna, 20 March 1856; d Vienna, 5 June 1908). Austrian bandmaster and composer. He composed several hundred dances and marches, including Gigerl op.150 and Unter dem Doppeladler op.159, both composed during the 1880s while he was bandmaster of the 47th Austrian Regiment. The latter, has remained the best known of Austrian military marches. Wagner was also bandmaster of the 49th Regiment (1891–9).