Harps and Harpists
by Roslyn Rensch
Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 1989
p. 206f - The "Berlin School"
Carl Constantine (Ludwig/Louis) Grimm (1820-1882), a pupil of Elias Parish Alvars, is known as the founder of the "Berlin School" of harp playing. Appointed Royal Chapel harpist in Berlin in 1844, extolled for his orchestral work by Franz Liszt and the Conductor Hans von Bülow, Grimm was also a fine teacher. In addition to Rosalie Spohr (to whom Franz Liszt, in his youth, was greatly attracted), Grimm's famous pupils included Albert Heinrich Zabel (1834-1910), Franz Poenitz (1850-1912), and Wilhelm Posse (1862-1926). Zabel, a scholarship student at the Berlin Institut für Kirchenmusik, toured in Europe and America for three years with an orchestra conducted by Joseph Gungl. In 1848 Zabel was appointed solo harpist with the Berlin Opera, then in 1854 he moved to St. Petersburg where he became harpist for the Imperial Russian Ballet. In 1862 he joined the faculty of the newly founded St Petersburg Conservatory of Music, rising to the rank of honorary distinguished professor by 1904. Credited with bringing to Russia the grat harp playing tradition of Berlin, Zabel also wrote a booklet on harp composition (Leipzig 1900), a Methode für Harfe, in three sections, published with French, German and English texts (Zimmermann, Leipzig, c. 1900), a very interesting Harp Concerto in C Minor, op. 35, and many solos. Now his best-known work is undoubtedly the harp solo, Der Springbrunnen/La source, op. 23, where the animated note pattern faithfuuly suggests the rise and fall of the sparkling waters of an artificial fountain. The Concerto, La Source, and several other Zabel pieces have been recorded.
Grimm's pupil, Franz Poenitz (who was born Franz Von Burkowitz, but took the name of the relative who adopted him), was another musical prodigy. Taken to Sweden, he played harp concerts to ovations when only six. He played in Berlin the following year and later toured; by the