LAST MODIFIED Tuesday 28 November 2017 10:49

Carl Linger

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Carl Linger", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 23 February 2018

LINGER, Carl Ferdinand August (Charles LINGER; Herr LINGER; Herr Carl LINGER)

Professor of music, pianist, conductor, composer

Born Berlin, Germany, 15 March 1810
Arrived Adelaide, SA, 7 August 1849 (per Princess Luise, from Hamburg)
Died Adelaide, SA, 16 February 1862 (TROVE public tag) (NLA persistent identifier)



The main purpose of this page is merely to collate basic information about Linger's documented compositions, and what sadly appear to be several manuscripts unaccountably missing. In note with interest that Dr. Jula Szuster has (November 2012) addressed "Carl Linger's Missing Legacy" and "the possible fate of his missing compositions". In particular, the apparent loss, since 1935-36, of the original score (? and parts) of Linger's Concert Overture is mysterious and vexing. See also important data on Linger's late relationship with Mathilde Cranz.

It is sad, but fitting, that I find myself updating this entry on the days after 15 January 2017, the date of the death of Richard Divall, AO OBE, who was assiduous in his efforts to bring us all to a fuller knowledge of colonial music, but also of the historical Linger in particular.

For Richard's Linger editions, see his important legacy at the Monash Digital Archive of Early Australian Music: 


"ARRIVED", South Australian Register (8 August 1849), 4

"MADAME CRANZ'S CONCERT", Adelaide Observer (16 April 1853), 8 

The evening's amusements were concluded with a new version of the National Anthem, written expressly for this concert. We were not surprised to perceive that few Englishmen attempted to join in the parody. Those who have long learned to venerate the beautifully simple strains of God Save the Queen, could only regard as a sort of profanation any attempt to embellish so bright a gem of our national genius with adornments foreign to the melody and the harmony of that spirit-stirring anthem ....

"IMPORTS", South Australian Register (10 April 1860), 2

"DEATHS", South Australian Register (17 February 1862), 2

 "THE LATE HERR LINGER", South Australian Register (18 February 1862), 2

The funeral obsequies of the late Herr Linger took place on Monday afternoon. It was not generally known till the Monday morning that this talented musician had died; yet the high esteem in which he was held induced a very large number of persons to avail themselves of the opportunity of testifying their respect to his memory by following his remains to the grave. The funeral procession formed at the residence of the departed in Rundle street, at 3 o'clock, and consisted of the Brunswick Brass Band, the Liedertafel, the hearse, and about 30 coaches and other vehicles, in which were seated the friends of the deceased and other gentlemen anxious to pay the last tribute of respect to a man whose talents as a musician and whose worth as a man have never been disputed. The general arrangements were conducted by Messrs. Eitzen & Co., undertakers, of Rundle-street. Previous to the departure of the mournful procession the Liedertafel sang a solemn dirge, the refrain of which may be expressed in English by the Divine words, "Thy will be done". The Brunswick Brass Band, which preceded the hearse, performed the "Dead March", from Handel's Oratorio of "Saul", and a similar composition by Here Heydecke, as the procession passed along the principal thoroughfares of the city. This attracted several hundreds of spectators, a great many of whom followed the remains of the departed to their last resting-place. A considerable number of the tradesmen, also, whose business premises were situated in the line of the procession, indicated their appreciation of the loss which society has sustained by partially closing their shops. In fact, the appearance of the city during the funeral was that of a general fast. The solemn burial service of the Church of England was read at the grave in in impressive manner by the Rev. D. J. H. Ibbetson, where, also, the Liedertafel again raised their united voices in the choral hymns, "Integer vita"; and "Nacht und Nacht". The "kindred earth" was then deposited over the mortal remains of the departed, and the hundreds of sorrowing spectators slowly dispersed. Herr Linger was a man who stood so high in his profession, and was so very generally respected in private life, that we make no apology for the following brief biographical sketch:

"He was a native of Berlin, and was born on March 15, 1810. His father was an engraver of some eminence; his mother, a lady of respectability and sterling worth, is still living. At a very early age Herr Linger manifested such a decided taste for music that his father determined to give him every facility for the development of his talents in that direction. He accordingly procured an instructor for the child, who made such rapid progress as a performer on the pianoforte as to be able himself to give lessons on that instrument at the early age of twelve years. After this he was placed under Reissiger and Klein, from whom he obtained a thorough insight into the theory of counterpoint and the general principles of composition. He then commenced his career as a composer, and amongst the first fruits of his genius as such were "six sacred songs", which were dedicated to the Princess Royal of Prussia. Their publication in Berlin established the reputation of the young composer in his native land, and induced him to aim at still higher attainments. He accordingly visited Milan, Venice, and other cities of Italy for the purpose of obtaining a practical acquaintance with the Italian school of music, and then returned to Berlin, where he composed a great many musical pieces, some of which are regarded by competent judges as possessing great merit. Amongst these were two entire operas, entitled respectively "The Fight with the Dragon" and "Alfred the Great", three or four masses, several symphonies, cantatas, and other concerted pieces.

There was, however, one marked peculiarity in the disposition of Herr Linger, which, however commendable as a virtue in private life, has almost entirely deprived the musical world of the fruits of his genius. We refer to his extreme modesty - a constant tendency to depreciate his own musical attainments - a virtual disclaimer of talents which were conspicuous in his compositions, which were estimated at their true value by those of his friends who best knew how to discriminate between the productions of true genius and the abortions of the charlatan. When asked why he did not publish his compositions his almost invariable reply was in effect, "Germany has plenty of better music than mine in manuscript". And when his friends expressed a doubt of this, he would shrug his shoulders and reply, "I know better than you". Herr Linger came to South Australia in 1849.

On his arrival he was induced by the representation of his friends to commence farming near Smithfield, where he sank a considerable sum of money. He then sold his country property, and soon established himself in Adelaide as a teacher or music. By his active exertions he succeeded in creating a taste for music in many instances where it did not previously exist, and in cultivating it to a high standard where it did. For several years he was the leader of the Adelaide Choral Society. He was the originator of the present Liedertafel, and was always ready to assist in my undertaking having for its object the cultivation of an art in which he so pre-eminently excelled. He was the successful competitor for the prize offered by the Gawler Institute for the music to the "Song of Australia". South Australia has been occasionally visited by more brilliant executionists, but we believe that none has ever appeared amongst us possessed of such a thorough knowledge of the fundamental principles of music as the man whose loss, not only his more immediate friends, but every true lover of genuine harmony will long deplore. For many months past Herr Linger has been suffering from a complication of diseases, which have at last terminated in death. For some weeks before his demise he appeared so far convalescent as to induce him to write to his aged mother, informing her that he contemplated revisiting his native home, and that he would sail from South Australia about April next. A relapse, however, took place a few days before his death, which occurred on Sunday afternoon last, at about a quarter to 1 o'clock. He had been walking under the verandah of his dwelling house a few minutes before, but appeared conscious that his end was near at hand.

[Obituary], Süd Australische Zeitung (19 February 1862), 2

[News], The South Australian Advertiser (24 February 1862), 7

Probate on Linger's will (transcript kindly supplied by Cranz descendent, Jan McInerney, May 2013)

Carl August Ferdinand Linger deceased. I the Honourable Benjamin Boothby one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of South Australia Do by these [---] make known unto all Men that on the twenty eighth day of February in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and Sixty two William Ottoman Gerke of Adelaide in the said Province Grocer[?] the executor named in and by the last will and testament of Carl August Ferdinand Linger late of Adelaide aforesaid Professor of Music and deceased a true copy of which said last will and testament is hereunto appear in the Supreme Court aforesaid and claim probate of the said will Whereupon the same was proved approved and registered. And the administration of all and singular the foods and chattels rights and credits and effects of the said Carl August Ferdinand Linger deceased was granted unto the said William Ottoman Gerke. He the said William Ottoman Gerke having first sworn that he believed the paper writing exhibited on this the swearing of the affidavit of the said William Ottoman Gerke marked 'A' and filed in this Honourable Court to be the true last Will and Testament of the said Carl August Ferdinand Linger  deceased. [above is a line of writing] And that the said Wilhelm Ottoman Gerke is the executor named in the said Will And that he the said Wilhelm Ottoman Gerke would well and truly execute the said last Will and Testament of the said Carl August Ferdinand Linger deceased and pay his lawful debts so far as his estates would thereunto extend And that he the said Wilhelm Ottoman Gerke would make and exhibit to this Hon. Court a true  and perfect Inventory of all the goods and chattels rights credits and effects of the said deceased on or before the twenty eighth day of August One thousand eight hundred and sixty two and render a just and true account of his executorship when he should be lawfully called upon so to do And lastly that he the said Wilhelm Ottoman Gerke believes that the goods and chattels rights credits and effects of the said deceased at the time of his death within the said Provence and its dependencies did not exceed in nature the sum on Twelve hundred pounds Given at Adelaide the twenty sixth day of March One thousand and eight hundred and sixty two under my hand and the seal of the Supreme Court of the Province of South Australia. Benjamin Boothby This is the last Will and Testament of me Carl August Ferdinand Linger of Adelaide born Berlin. Firstly I desire That all my just Debts, Funeral and Testamentary Expenses be paid and satisfied by my Executor herein after named as soon as conveniently may be after my decease, and secondly I give divide and bequeath all and every my Household Furniture, Linen and Wearing Apparel, Books, Plate, Pictures, China, Horses, Carts, and Carriages, and also all and every sum and amount of Money which may be in my house or about my person or due to me at the time of my decease and also all other my Stocks, Funds and Securities for money Book Debts, Money on Bonds, Bills, Notes or other Securities and all and every other my Estate and Effects whatever and whichever both real and personal whether in possession reversion remainder or expectancy unto Christiane Matilde Cranz born Hoggrefe to and for her own use and benefit absolutely. And nominate constitute and appoint Mr Wilhelm Ottoman Gerke Grocer of Adelaide to be Executor of this my last Will and hereby revoking all former or other Wills and Testaments by me at any time hereto before made. I declare this to be my last Will and Testament. In Witness whereof I the said Carl August Ferdinand Linger have to this my last Will and Testament set my hand the Thirteenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Sixty. Carl August Ferdinand Linger Signed by the Testator Carl August Ferdinand Linger and acknowledged by him to be his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time and subscribed by us as Witnesses in the presence of the said Testator and of each other. J. W. Schierenbeck [President of the Adelaide Liedertafel]. C. Rischkirch[?].

"PROBATES AND ADMINISTRATION", South Australian Register (23 April 1862), 3

"OVERTURE BY CARL LINGER. Work To Be Produced By Mr. Thomas Grigg", The Advertiser (22 November 1935), 24

[Hooper Brewster-Jones] The veteran Adelaide conductor. Mr. Thomas Grigg, who is in his 77th year, hopes to produce an orchestral overture of Carl Linger, the MSS. score and parts of which are in his possession, at a Centenary concert next year. The "Concert Overture for Full Orchestra", as it is described on its title page, in a happy combination of German and English (it is signed "Charles" Linger, not "Carl"), is dated November, 1856, and was apparently composed in Adelaide. The scoring is that of the earlier symphony orchestra with cornopions in G (the obsolete appelation for comets), and saxhorns replacing trumpets and French horns. The overture, which has an "andante" introduction in C minor, leading to an "allegro ma non troppo" in the tonic major, employs a number of classical devices, and is written with a definite knowledge of the orchestra and orchestral color. Its performance in Adelaide will be of considerable musical interest, and will throw a new light upon the popular composer of "The Sons of Australia". Carl Linger was the first conductor of the Adelaide Liedertafel, from 1858 to 1864, so that this concert overture was written two years before the foundation of this society. Herr Carl Linger was then one of the most renowned musicians in this State.

"EIGHTY-YEAR-OLD MUSICAL FIND. Carl Linger's Concert Overture. By H. BREWSTER JONES", The Advertiser (11 December 1935), 6

[Hooper Brewster-Jones] Considerable interest has been aroused by the discovery, in the library of Mr. Thomas Grigg, of the "Concert Overture" for orchestra, by Carl Linger, which is to be performed for the Centenary. Upon Mr. Grigg bringing it under the writer's notice a few days ago, a cursory examination was made and an estimate, published in "The Advertiser" of November 22, of its musical value; the present owner being advised to bring it forward at a special concert next year. The opinion then expressed that "the overture ... employs a number of classical devices, and is written with a definite knowledge of the orchestra and orchestra color", has been fully endorsed by the joint views of Professor E. Harold Davies and Mr. Harold Parsons, who have been given an opportunity to inspect the score. "Surprising and Interesting" Dr. Davies expresses himself as follows: "The Concert Overture of Carl Linger, dating back to 1856, is as surprising as it is interesting. It is undoubtedly written in the good old "Kapellmeister style", but that is only to say that Carl Linger was a very thorough musician, skilled in form and the art of orchestration - and obviously saturated with classical idioms. I wonder whether my old friend, Mr. Grigg, has any more treasures like this overture; for in these sophisticated days, when we musicians are prone to exaggerate our own importance, it is refreshing to find that our South Australian predecessors of nearly a century ago were such competent fellows. He might perhaps "rub it in" a bit more with other similar works of the old days. And the proper humility that we all may feel is further increased when I look back to the splendid records of the Adelaide String Quartet Club which did so much for chamber music as long ago as 1880. In that connection it is particularly interesting to know that Percy Grainger's father - J. H. Grainger - was a moving spirit as well as the indefatigable secretary and organiser of the club." Mr. Parsons, who examined the work with the writer, evinced enthusiasm at its general lay-out and skilled workmanship - furnishing the following encomium of this eighty-year-old find: "I have just spent a very interesting morning perusing the orchestral score of a concert overture by Carl Linger. The title page informs me that the work was composed in the year 1856. The composer has adhered to the traditional style of that period and earlier, and has demonstrated by means of the overture that he was a musician of more than ordinary ability. The thematic material is of considerable interest, and evinces a very happy melodic sense. Moreover, he knew how to write suitably for the various instruments of the orchestra. It is rather interesting to note that sax horns are used in the place of French horns, the latter instrument being invariably utilised by composers in this type of composition. I am inclined to think that the substitution is due to the fact that French horn players were not to be obtained in these early days of music in Adelaide. I am glad to know that Mr. Thomas Grigg has a performance of the overture in view, and I look forward with considerable interest to hearing the work." The recent history of the score and parts was supplied by Mr. Gus Cawthorne, who remembers his late father, Mr. Charles Cawthorne, presenting them to Mr. Grigg upon his own abandonment of orchestral activities about 10 years ago. Mr. Cawthorne had often intended producing the work, but somehow the suggestion had remained shelved. "Other Manuscripts" Mr. Miller, the associate of Mr. Cawthorne, remembers other manuscripts of Carl Linger being in the latter's possession, and efforts will be made to see that they are traced and brought to light for the Centennial music festival ...

"VOCAL MUSIC BY CARL LINGER. Important Discoveries at Tanunda. BROADCAST FROM 5 AD ON MARCH 29. By H. BREWSTER JONES", The Advertiser (27 February 1936), 19

The discovery of six vocal compositions by the late Carl Linger, in the library of Mr. Theo. Geyer, Tanunda, is of considerable musical importance to this State. Although two of these works have been performed in the Langmeil Lutheran Church, Tanunda, they are all unknown to the general public, and arrangements have been made to broadcast a special programme of Carl Linger music from station 5 AD on Sunday, March 29. Several motets for unaccompanied voices, and a scholarly setting of "Vater Unser", "The Lord's Prayer", for five voices and organ, which belong to the Tanunda collection, will be presented. The appreciative review, the Carl Linger concert overture for full orchestra, which appeared in these columns several weeks ago, has been fully endorsed by leading Adelaide musicians. The motets and other vocal compositions, the manuscripts of which have been given careful perusal, are apparently of even greater musical significance, and it is no exaggeration to say that they stamp Carl Linger as a composer of unusual quality and musical erudition. "Scholarly Musician" This opinion is whole-heartedly supported by the Director of the Elder Conservatorium (Professor E. Harold Davies), who says: "After perusing the overture for orchestra, it is an even greater delight to discover, in the manuscripts of vocal works of Carl Linger, now made available for inspection, that he was not only a scholarly musician but that he possessed creative gifts of an exceptional order. The motets, the anthem, for voices and orchestra, and the setting of the Lord's Prayer for voices and organ, which I have looked at, are quite impressive. It is evident that Linger was a devoted follower of both Schubert and Beethoven, but particularly the former. His glowing melody and many of his harmonic idioms are reminiscent of that great master. I sincerely hope for an adequate performance of these works during the Centenary year." The newly discovered compositions are "Vier Motetten" (four motets) for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, dated 1845-46. They are: 1) "Almighty, I lift up my eyes on high"; (2) "Thy holy birth"; (3) "Come to Him all ye who labor"; (4) "When to our prejudiced errors no ray breaks through". "Dignity And Majesty" There is dignity and almost majesty about the musical quality of these works. There is no lack of contrapuntal invention, and still no paucity of harmonic coloring. Fugal entries and canonic imitation are happily introduced, and other devices such as the "pedal point" effectively employed. The arrangement of "Vater Unser", a setting of "The Lord's Prayer", for soprano, alto, tenor, and two bass voices in organ accompaniment, also dates from 1846. The anthem, "O Lord, who is as Thee", for four voices and full orchestra, is dated 1851, and is signed "Carles Linger", no doubt as a partial concession to the English language, which is employed also in the setting. There is evidence of a thorough musical training in all these compositions, and we may be proud to claim this pioneer composer, who set such an excellent standard in his day. Linger was an exceptionally modest artist, and we are indebted to his friends and their descendants who have carefully preserved his music for future use. The further discovery of interesting manuscripts leads the writer to appeal to readers who may have either Linger or other MSS. hidden away in their musical libraries to bring them forward for the purposes of research or public performance.

Extant musical works (online)

Vier Gedichte (in Musik gesetzt fur eine Sopran oder Tenorstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte; von Geibel, Kletke, Platen, Trutz von Carl Linger [photocopy of composer's MS; also includes a fifth song] (1 Wenn still mit seinen letzten Flammen (Geibel), 2 In der Ferne (Kletke), 3 Mein Herz u. deine Stimme (Platen), 4 In der Ferne (Trutz), and 5 Ich kannte nur des Lebensschmerzen) (DIGITISED)

Sechs deutsche Lieder (mit Begleitung des Pianforte in Musik gesetzt und den Fraeulein Eliza und Julie Praetorius zugeeignet von Carl Linger) (Berlin: Groebenschutz u. Seiler, [184-?]) (1 Muttertänderlei (von Bürger), 2 Schweizerlied (von Gö the), 3 Amen (von Karoline), 4 Herbstlied (von Ludw. Tieck), 5 Endliche Fahrt (von Karoline), 6 Mailied (von Göthe)) (DIGITISED)

Vier Motetten (für Sopran, Alt, Tenor, und Bass, componiert von Carl Linger, 1845-46) (1 Hymne, 2 Motette (Klopstock), 3 Motette (Herder), 4 Motette (Spieker)) [photocopy of MS] (DIGITISED)

Vater unser [Lord's prayer] (composiert von Carl Linger) [photocopy of MS; for SATBB choir, and organ] (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

Sechs Zwischenspiele (six interludes) 

Hymne, "Oh Lord who is as thee" (for Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Basso and Orchester composed by Carles Linger, 1851) [photocopy of MS] (DIGITISED)

The song of Australia ("to which the Prize of Twenty Guineas was awarded by the Gawler Institute on the Occasion of its Second Anniversary 1859"); (words: Mrs. C.J. Carleton) ([Gawler: Gawler Institute, 1859]) (DIGITISED)

Also original MS (? Gawler Library), and many later editions 

"THE PRIZE SONG", The South Australian Advertiser (5 November 1859), 2

[Advertisement]: "THE PRIZE SONG OF AUSTRALIA", South Australian Register (16 December 1859), 1

"GRAND CONCERT AT THE GAWLER INSTITUTE", The South Australian Advertiser (20 December 1859), 4

Other documented works (? lost)

Instrumental quartette [played by] "Messrs. [S.W.] Wallace, Osborne, Heinerbein [sic], and Mater"

[Advertisement], South Australian Register  (20 January 1851), 2

God Save the Queen [arrangement] "Solo, Quartette, and Chorus, written expressly for this Concert"

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (31 March 1853), 2

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (12 April 1853), 2

"MADAME CRANZ'S CONCERT", South Australian Register (15 April 1853), 2

Vocal Quartette Die Nelken und die Rosen; Scena and Aria Through long dull years

:[Advertisement], South Australian Register (11 July 1854), 1

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (3 August 1854), 1

"LINGER MEMORIAL CONCERT", South Australian Register (11 September 1863), 2

Overture to the opera The combat with the dragon

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (11 July 1854), 1

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (30 September 1857), 1

Duet, vocal, "Madame Cranz and Mr. Daniels"

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (11 July 1854), 1

Scena and aria, vocal; "Madame Cranz"

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (11 July 1854), 1

Der 93rd Psalm: Der Herr ist Koenig: The lord is king

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (20 September 1855), 1

Lobgesang in der Hoehe. "Gloria" from the Mass in B [flat]

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (20 September 1855), 1

Prelude No. 1 "To the memory of the fallen heroes - Prelude for the Orchestra in G minor; Prelude No. 2 "Praise and thanks to the lord for victory and peace - Prelude for Orchestra in D major ("the two Preludes and Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 11 were expressly composed and arranged for this Concert by Herr Linger"); 1 Funeral march on the death of a hero (Beethoven); 2 Chorus Sweetly rest in God's own peace [Linger]; 4 Funeral anthem I am the Resurrection [Linger]; 11 Chorus Praise the Lord, O my Soul [Linger]

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (11 August 1856), 1

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (18 August 1856), 1

"The musical event of the season ...", South Australian Register (23 August 1856), 4

Overture "for opening the season"

"THE CHORAL SOCIETY'S CONCERT", South Australian Register (2 April 1857), 3

From King Alfred (opera): 1 Triumphal procession; 2 Air de Ballet

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (30 September 1857), 1

"ADELAIDE CHORAL SOCIETY", South Australian Register (1 October 1857), 2

[Advertisement], The South Australian Advertiser (17 February 1859), 1

Overture Cymbeline

[Advertisement], The South Australian Advertiser (13 July 1858), 1

"ADELAIDE CHORAL SOCIETY", The South Australian Advertiser (15 July 1858), 2

"THE CHORAL SOCIETY'S CONCERT", South Australian Register (15 July 1858), 3

Fantasia on the Song of Australia ("Fantaisie brilliante on the Gawler prize Song of Australia for pianoforte): advertised as published ([Adelaide: Samuel Marshall's Musical Repository, 1860]), NO COPY IDENTIFIED

"GRAND CONCERT AT THE GAWLER INSTITUTE", The South Australian Advertiser (14 December 1859), 3

[Advertisement], The South Australian Advertiser (31 December 1859), 1

Will be published on Tuesday, January 3, A FANTASIA BRILLIANTE for the Pianoforte, on the Gawler Prize Song of Australia, by HERR CARL LINGER.

[Advertisement], The South Australian Advertiser (11 January 1860), 1

MARSHALL'S MUSICAL REPOSITORY ... Where may be had Herr Linger's Fantasia, on the Song of Australia.

Tagerchor [sic] [? Jägerchor] "quartetto for brass instruments"

"TANUNDA", South Australian Advertiser (29 December 1865), 3

Sanctus & Benedictus

"LINGER MEMORIAL CONCERT", South Australian Register (11 September 1863), 2

When to our prejudiced errors (Motett)

"LINGER MEMORIAL CONCERT", South Australian Register (11 September 1863), 2

Liebchen Schätse and Drinking Song

"LINGER MEMORIAL CONCERT", South Australian Register (11 September 1863), 2

Bibliography and resources

John Horner, Linger, Carl Ferdinand August (1810-1862), Australian dictionary of biography 5 (1974)

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2018