Nicolai, (Christoph) Friedrich
(b Berlin, 18 March 1733; d Berlin, 8 Jan 1811). German editor, author and bookseller. In the 1750s he was one of the leaders of the movement opposing the dominance of French literary taste in Germany. He was an advocate of Klopstock's and Wieland's works and was an important figure in the group that included Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn. Though prominent in the German Enlightenment during the 1750s and 1760s, particularly through his Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek, he was sharply critical of the work of Goethe, Herder, Hamann and other representatives of the growing Romantic movement in Germany in the following decades. His displeasure with the early Romantic interest in folksong (in which he saw amateurish and anti-intellectual tendencies) is reflected in the mock-archaic orthography of the title of his satirical collection Eyn feyner kleyner Almanach (1777–8). The two volumes of this work contain 61 unaccompanied songs (27 anonymous or folktunes, 22 by J.F. Reichardt and 12 composed or arranged by Nicolai); 50 of the songs were later included in Kretzschmer and Zuccamaglio's Original-Weisen (1840) and thereby became a favourite source of ‘folk’ material for Brahms in his choral folksongs and other works (e.g. the Piano Sonata op.1).
Thanks for that. Somehow I missed the part about his songs. The only candidate so far! Although the August Cranz music publishing company wasn't founded until 1814, three years after Friedrich Nicolai died. Also this set of duets seems to be quite well known, but the only music mentioned in Grove is of his unaccompanied folk songs. Perhaps someone might comment on the style of the duets? whether they are more typical of mid C19th compositions?