Music database


Prinzessin Amalie von Preussen

Prinzessin Amalie von Preussen - © (wikipedia)

born on 9/11/1723 in Berlin, Germany

died on 30/3/1787 in Berlin, Germany

Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Princess Anna Amalia
Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg
Reign 1756-1787
Predecessor Maria Elisabeth
Successor Sophia Albertina
Spouse Friedrich von der Trenck
House House of Hohenzollern
Father Frederick William I of Prussia
Mother Sophia Dorothea of Hanover
Born November 9 1723
Berlin, Prussia
Died 30 March 1787 (aged 63)

Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia (9 November 1723 – 30 March 1787) was Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg and a Prussian princess, one of ten surviving children of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover.


Born in Berlin, she was eleven years younger than her brother, and would have been seven years old when he made his abortive attempt to run away from home, after being humiliated by his father.

Both children were musically inclined, but for Anna formal musical instruction was only possible after the death of her music-hating father. Music was her secret consolation against his cruelty to her (he would often drag her across a room by the hair during his rages).

Anna learned to play the harpsichord, flute, and violin, receiving her first lessons from her brother, which her more 'civilised' mother encouraged.

Suggested arranged marriage

She was contemplated as a bride for the crown prince of Sweden along with her sister Louisa Ulrika, as her brother warned that Louisa Ulrika was perhaps too ambitious to be a good queen in a monarchy without power, as Sweden then was during the Age of Liberty. Her brother king Frederick said that Louisa Ulrika was "arrogant, temperamental and an intriguer", and that they should not let themselves be fooled by her friendliness towards them, while Amalia was mild and "more suitable"; it has been considered, that Fredrick's judgment was given because he believed Amalia would be easier to control as a Prussian agent than the more dominant Louisa Ulrika. But the Swedish representatives preferred Louisa Ulrika.

Secret marriage

In 1743, Anna secretly married Baron Friedrich von der Trenck, a man whose adventures inspired works by literary greats such as Victor Hugo and Voltaire. When her brother, who had ascended to the throne in 1740, discovered she had married and was pregnant, he packed her off in a rage to Quedlinburg Abbey, a place where many aristocratic women were sent to give birth to children out of wedlock. Anna's marriage was annulled at the request of Friedrich II, and von der Trenck was imprisoned for ten years. However, Anna continued to correspond with him until her death.

Regent and artist

Anna became the Abbess of Quedlinburg in 1755, making her a wealthy woman. She chose to spend most of her time in Berlin, where she devoted herself to music, and became known as a musical patron and composer. As a composer she achieved a modest amount of fame and is most known for her smaller chamber works and her opera, Erwin und Elimire. A quaint and tasteful setting of the libretto by Goethe.

In 1758, Anna began a serious study of musical theory and composition, engaging as her tutor Johann Philipp Kirnberger, a student of Johann Sebastian Bach. She composed chamber music, such as flute sonatas, and wrote music to Ramler's Passion cantata ("The Death of Jesus"); this was also her favorite piece. Only a few of her works have survived, and it is probable that she may have destroyed many of her compositions. After all, she did describe herself as being very "timorous and self-critical."

Anna was also a collector of old music, preserving over 600 volumes of works by notables such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, George Philipp Telemann, and others. This act in itself was a significant contribution to Western culture. Her library was split between East Germany and West Germany after World War II, and still survives today in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (this collection should not be confused with the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, the former library of Anna Amalia von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel).



  • Olof Jägerskiöld: Lovisa Ulrika (Swedish)

Religious titles
Preceded by:
Maria Elisabeth
Princesse Abbess of Quedlingburg
Succeeded by:
Sophia Albertina
This page was last modified 21.11.2009 08:36:12

This article uses material from the article Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.