Schickhardt [Schickhard], Johann Christian
(b Brunswick, c1681; d Leiden, before 26 March 1762). German composer and instrumentalist. He received his musical training at the ducal court in Brunswick. The early part of his career was spent in the Netherlands in the service of Friedrich of Hessen-Kassel, Henriette Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau, and Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange. By 1711 he was in Hamburg, the city with which he was associated by Walther (1732) and Hawkins (1776), and lived there until at least 1718. But by 1717 he had connections with Johann Friedrich, Count of Kastel-Rudenhausen, and around 1719 with Ernst August of Saxe-Weimar and Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. In the early 1720s he was probably in Scandinavia. In 1732, having ‘lately arrived from Germany’, he gave a concert in London consisting of his own concertos and chamber music for ‘the small flute’ (i.e. recorder). He stayed in London long enough to issue by subscription his collection of 24 sonatas, op.30, in all keys; most of the subscribers were Dutch, although the local contingent included such notables as Handel, P.A. Locatelli, Pepusch and De Fesch. 12 guitar suites of his appear in a manuscript compiled by Nathanael Diesel, a lutenist at the Danish Court, 1736–44, suggesting a connection with Copenhagen. He was attached to the University of Leiden in 1745; the Album studiosorum for that year gives his age as 63. After his death Schickhardt's daughter applied to the university authorities for assistance with burial expenses and from the subsequent act of Senate (26 March 1762) it is seen that he had been ‘a master of musical arts and a member of the Academy’. Dart's suggestion that Schickhardt was related to the London instrument maker J.-J. Schuchart has proved unfounded.
Schickhardt had close associations with Estienne Roger, the Amsterdam publisher, and his successors, Jeanne Roger and Michel-Charles Le Cène. He not only provided the firm with a constant stream of original compositions, but also acted as its Hamburg agent around 1712 and undertook occasional editorial projects such as the arrangement of Corelli's op.6 for two recorders and continuo. A woodwind player himself, Schickhardt produced instruction manuals for both the recorder and oboe. But he was known primarily through his chamber music. His sonatas, although written in a conventional, post-Corellian idiom, reveal fine melodic gifts, striking harmonic touches, and a Handelian directness of expression. The widespread popularity of these works in the early 18th century is attested by both the flood of publications from Amsterdam and the speed with which they were pirated in London.
P.C. Molhuysen, ed.: Bronnen tot de geschiedenis der Leidsche Universiteit, v (The Hague, 1921), 462–3
T. Dart: ‘Bressan and Schickhardt’, GSJ, x (1957), 85–6
D. Lasocki: ‘Johann Christian Schickhardt (ca. 1681–1762): a Contribution to his Biography and a Catalogue of his Works’, TVNM, xxvii (1977), 28–55
D. Lasocki: ‘Johann Christian Schickhardt’, Tibia, ii (1977), 337–43
D. Lasocki: ‘Schickhardt in London’, Recorder & Music, vi/7 (1979), 203–5
R. Hübner-Hinderling: ‘Johann Christian Schickhardt in Hamburg’, Tibia, xvii (1992), 197–8