Carl Friedrich Abel (December 22, 1723 – June 20, 1787) was a German composer of the Classical era. He was a fine player on the viola da gamba, and composed important music for that instrument.
Abel was born in Cöthen, the son of Christian Ferdinand Abel, the principal viola da gamba and cello player in the court orchestra of Johann Sebastian Bach. There is no proof that he studied at Thomasschule Leipzig, but it was on Bach's recommendation that in 1748 he was able to join Johann Adolph Hasse's court orchestra at Dresden where he remained for 10 years. In 1759 he went to England, and became chamber-musician to Queen Charlotte. He gave a concert of his own compositions in London, performing on various instruments, one of which, the pentachord, was newly invented.
In 1762, Johann Christian Bach, the eleventh son of Johann Sebastian Bach, joined him in London, and the friendship between him and Abel led, in 1764 or 1765, to the establishment of the famous Bach-Abel concerts, England's first subscription concerts ever. In those concerts, many famous guest artists appeared, and the works of Haydn received their first English performance.
For ten years the concerts were organized by Mrs. Teresa Cornelys, a retired Venetian opera singer who owned a concert hall at Carlisle house Soho Square, then the height of fashionable events. In 1775 the concerts became independent of her, to be continued by Abel unsuccessfully until a year after Bach's death in 1782. After the failure of his concert undertakings Abel still remained in great request as a player on various instruments new and old, but he took to drink and thereby hastened his death, which occurred in London.
One of the most widely known works of Abel became famous due to a misattribution: in the 19th century, a manuscript symphony in the hand of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was catalogued as his Symphony no. 3 in E flat, K. 18, and was published as such in the first complete edition of Mozart's works by Breitkopf & Härtel. Later, it was discovered that this symphony was actually the work of Abel, copied by the boy Mozart--evidently for study purposes--while he was visiting London in 1764. That symphony was originally published as the concluding work in Abel's Six Symphonies, Op. 7.
Symphony Op. 10 No.1 in E major, WK 19
Symphony Op. 1 No.1 in B flat major, WK 1
Symphony Op. 14 No.1 in C major, WK 25
Symphony Op. 17 No.1 in E flat major, WK 31
Symphony in C major, WK 37
Sinfonia concertante for oboe quartet in B flat major, WK 42
Periodical Overture in D major, WK 44
Overture to 'Love in a village' in D major, WK 45a
Overture to 'The summer's tale' in B flat major, WK 45b
Flute Concerto No.1 in C major, WK 46
Cello Concerto in B flat major, WK 52
Keyboard Concerto Op. 11 No.1 in F major, WK 53
Flute Concerto No.7 in D major, WK 59
Cello Concerto in C major, WK 60
String Quartet Op. 8 No.1 in F major, WK 61
Flute Quartet Op. 12 No.1 in C major, WK 67
String Quartet Op. 15 No.1 in E major, WK 73
Raccolta for keyboard in C major, WK 79a
Trio Sonata Op. 3 No.1 in G major, WK 80
Trio Sonata Op. 16a No.1 in G major, WK 92
Trio Sonata for 2 violins & cello in A major, WK 102
Trio Sonata for 2 flutes & cello in G major, WK 104
Keyboard Trio Op. 2 No.1 in C major, WK 111
Flute Sonata Op. 6 No.1 in C major, WK 123
Violin Sonata Op. 13 No.1 in G major, WK 129
Violin Sonata in C major, WK 140a
Keyboard Sonata in B flat major, WK 140b
Arpeggio for viola da gamba in D major, WK 185
Allegro for viola da gamba in D major, WK 186
Piece for viola da gamba in D major, WK 187
Vivace for viola da gamba in D major, WK 190
Andante for viola da gamba in D major, WK 191
Piece for viola da gamba in D major, WK 192
Fuga for viola da gamba in D major, WK 196
Piece for viola da gamba in D major, WK 197
Allegro for viola da gamba in D major, WK 198