Christoph Kuffner was born into a cultured Viennese family on 28 June 1780. He studied music as a young man and came into contact with Mozart and Haydn. He studied philosophy, but spent his entire working life in the civil service, eventually rising to high rank. Like Johann Mayrhofer he worked for a period as censor. This leisurely activity gave him a great deal of time for a second life in literature. He translated the Latin plays of Plautus, and wrote many comedies, dramas (for example Cervantes in Algier
, 1820) and novels. His first collection of Gedichte
appeared in 1818 and includes the one poem by him which was set by Schubert. It is probable that Kuffner provided the text for Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy Op 80. In this case he would have used his musical experience to write words to fit an existing melody. His collected works, published at the end of his life, went into twenty volumes. Kuffner died in Vienna on 7 November 1846.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2000