Anton Bruckner

Composer: Josef Anton Bruckner
Date of Birth:  4 September 1824
Date of Death: 11 October 1896
Nationality: Austrian
Period/Era/Style: Romantic
List of Compositions: Here
Contribution(s): Bruckner was an Austrian composer best known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. The first are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner’s compositions helped to define contemporary musical radicalism, owing to their dissonances, unprepared modulations, and roving harmonies.

Unlike other musical radicals such as Richard Wagner and Hugo Wolf who fit the enfant terrible mould, Bruckner showed extreme humility before other musicians, Wagner in particular. This apparent dichotomy between Bruckner the man and Bruckner the composer hampers efforts to describe his life in a way that gives a straightforward context for his music. Hans von Bülow described him as “half genius, half simpleton”.

His works, the symphonies in particular, had detractors, most notably the influential Austrian critic Eduard Hanslick, and other supporters of Johannes Brahms who pointed to their large size and use of repetition, as well as to Bruckner’s propensity for revising many of his works, often with the assistance of colleagues, and his apparent indecision about which versions he preferred. On the other hand, Bruckner was greatly admired by subsequent composers including his friend Gustav Mahler.

Biography: Early life   |   Teacher’s education   |   Organist in Sankt Florian   |   Study period   |   The Vienna period  

Compositions: Sometimes Bruckner’s works are referred to by WAB numbers, from the Werkverzeichnis Anton Bruckner, a catalogue of Bruckner’s works edited by Renate Grasberger.

The revision issue has generated controversy. A common explanation for the multiple versions is that Bruckner was willing to revise his work on the basis of harsh, uninformed criticism from his colleagues. “The result of such advice was to awaken immediately all the insecurity in the non-musical part of Bruckner’s personality,” musicologist Deryck Cooke writes. “Lacking all self-assurance in such matters, he felt obliged to bow to the opinions of his friends, ‘the experts,’ to permit … revisions and even to help make them in some cases.” This explanation was widely accepted when it was championed by Bruckner scholar Robert Haas, who was the chief editor of the first critical editions of Bruckner’s works published by the International Bruckner Society; it continues to be found in the majority of program notes and biographical sketches concerning Bruckner. Haas’s work was endorsed by the Nazis and so fell out of favor after the war as the Allies enforced denazification. Haas’s rival Leopold Nowak was appointed to produce a whole new critical edition of Bruckner’s works. He and others such as Benjamin Korstvedt and conductor Leon Botstein argued that Haas’s explanation is at best idle speculation, at worst a shady justification of Haas’s own editorial decisions. Also, it has been pointed out that Bruckner often started work on a symphony just days after finishing the one before. As Cooke writes, “In spite of continued opposition and criticism, and many well-meaning exhortations to caution from his friends, he looked neither to right nor left, but simply got down to work on the next symphony.” The matter of Bruckner’s authentic texts and the reasons for his changes to them remains politicized and uncomfortable.

Symphonies   |   Style   |   Structure   |   The Bruckner Problem   |   Sacred choral works   |   Secular vocal works   |   Other works   |   Bruckner Gesamtausgabe 

Reception in the 20th century: Because of the long duration and vast orchestral canvas of much of his music, Bruckner’s popularity has greatly benefited from the introduction of long-playing media and from improvements in recording technology.

Decades after his death, the Nazis strongly approved of Bruckner’s music because they saw it as expressing the zeitgeist of the German volk, and Hitler even consecrated a bust of Bruckner in a widely photographed ceremony in 1937 at Regensburg’s Walhalla temple. Bruckner’s music was among the most popular in Nazi Germany and the Adagio from his Seventh Symphony was broadcast by German radio (Deutscher Reichsrundfunk) when it broadcast the news of Hitler’s death on 1 May 1945. However, this did not hurt Bruckner’s standing in the postwar media, and several movies and TV productions in Europe and the United States have used excerpts from his music ever since the 1950s, as they already did in the 1930s. Nor did the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra ever ban Bruckner’s music as they have Wagner’s, even recording the Eighth Symphony with Zubin Mehta.

Bruckner’s symphonic works, much maligned in Vienna in his lifetime, now have an important place in the tradition and musical repertoire of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

The life of Bruckner was portrayed in Jan Schmidt-Garre’s 1995 film Bruckner’s Decision, which focuses on his recovery in the Austrian spa. Ken Russell’s TV movie The Strange Affliction of Anton Bruckner, starring Peter Mackriel, also fictionalizes Bruckner’s real-life stay at a sanatorium because of obsessive-compulsive disorder (or ‘numeromania’ as it was then described).

In addition, “Visconti used the music of Bruckner for his Senso (1953), its plot concerned with the Austrian invasion of Italy in the 1860s.” The score by Carl Davis for the restoration of the 1925 film Ben-Hur takes “inspiration from Bruckner to achieve reverence in biblical scenes.”


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Anton Bruckner (04 September 1824- 11 October 1896)
🇦🇹 Austrian, Romantic
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Friedrich Kuhlau

Composer: Friedrich Daniel Rudolf Kuhlau
Date of Birth:  11 September 1786
Date of Death: 12 March 1832
Occupation: Composer; Concert Pianist
Nationality: German-born Danish
Period/Era/Style: Classical era/Romantic transition
Contribution(s): Kuhlau was a German-born Danish composer during the Classical and Romantic periods. He was a central figure of the Danish Golden Age and is immortalized in Danish cultural history through his music for Elves’ Hill, the first true work of Danish National Romanticism and a concealed tribute to the absolute monarchy. To this day it is his version of this melody which is the definitive arrangement.

During his lifetime, Kuhlau was known primarily as a concert pianist and composer of Danish opera, but was responsible for introducing many of Beethoven’s works, which he greatly admired, to Copenhagen audiences. Kuhlau was a prolific composer, as evidenced by the fact that although his house burned down, destroying all of his unpublished manuscripts, he still left a legacy of more than 200 published works in most genres.

Early life and education: Kuhlau was born on 11 September 1786 just south of Lüneburg in Uelzen district of Lower Saxony (Germany). At the age of seven, he lost his right eye when he slipped on ice and fell. His father, grandfather, and uncle were military oboists. Even though Kuhlau was born to a poor family, his parents managed to pay for piano lessons. Later he studied the piano in Hamburg where he also had his debut as a pianist in 1804.

In 1810, he fled to Copenhagen to avoid conscription in the Napoleonic Army, which overwhelmed the many small principalities and duchies of northern Germany, and in 1813 he became a Danish citizen.

Music: Operatic works: Kuhlau had his breakthrough in 1814 at the Royal Danish Theatre with Røverborgen (“The Robbers’ Castle”), a singspiel with a libretto by Adam Oehlenschläger.

His next few dramatic works, including Trylleharpen (1817), Elisa (1820) and Hugo og Adelheid (1827), lacking drama, failed miserably. With Lulu from 1824 he finally once again experienced success with one of his singspiels. He also wrote music for performances of William Shakespeare’s plays.

In 1828 he achieved his greatest success when he wrote the music for Elverhøj. It won immediate popularity, especially for its overture and the final royal anthem, Kong Christian stod ved høien Mast (King Christian Stood by the Towering Mast). In the music, Kuhlau made very effective use of Danish and Swedish folk tunes. In 1976 the overture was rearranged by Danish composer Bent Fabricius-Bjerre and used as the soundtrack in a scene in the film The Olsen Gang Sees Red. The scene depicts the Olsen Gang breaking into The Royal Theater of Copenhagen, making their way through bricked up walls using explosives and other means. The whole break-in is choreographed so it corresponds directly to the music. The scene is one of the most – if not the most – recognized in the history of Danish film.

Other works: Alongside his dramatic works, Kuhlau wrote several compositions for flute and a large number of works for piano. Particularly his short pieces, sonatinas, for piano, enjoyed great popularity both in Denmark and abroad.

Beethoven, whom Kuhlau knew personally, exerted the greatest influence upon his music. Kuhlau’s C major Piano Concerto, Op. 7 from 1810 displays a strong influence from Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, written 14 years earlier. All three movements of the work are strongly reminiscent of the corresponding movements in Beethoven’s work, making it a musical pastiche.

In addition to the above-mentioned piano concerto were a string quartet and several works for piano that included all the current genres of the day: sonatas, sonatinas, waltzes, rondos and variations. He also created several works for the strings with piano (three quartets and two quintets, and several violin sonatas), works of incidental music and several operas. However, his most-often recorded and played works are several piano sonatinas and numerous works for flute. It is because of these flute works that he was nicknamed “the Beethoven of the flute” during his lifetime.


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William Boyce

boyceComposer: William Boyce
Date of Birth: baptised on 11 September 1711
Date of Death: 7 February 1779
Occupation: Composer; Organist
Nationality: English
Period/Era/Style: Early Classical era/Later Galante era
Biography: Born in London in Joiners Hall, then in Lower Thames Street, to John Boyce, at the time a joiner and cabinet-maker, and beadle of the Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers, and his wife Elizabeth Cordwell, Boyce was baptised on 11 September 1711 and was admitted by his father as a choirboy at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1719, before studying music with Maurice Greene after his voice broke in 1727. A house in the present choir school is named after him. His first professional appointment came in 1734 when he was employed as an organist at the Oxford Chapel in central London. He went on to take a number of similar posts before being appointed Master of the King’s Musick in 1755 and becoming one of the organists at the Chapel Royal in 1758. One of his students was the prodigy Thomas Linley.

By the year 1758 his deafness had increased to such an extent that he was unable to continue in his organist posts. He resolved to give up teaching and to retire to Kensington, and devote himself to editing the collection of church music which bears his name. He retired and worked on completing the compilation Cathedral Musicthat his teacher Greene had left incomplete at his death. This led to Boyce editing works by the likes of William Byrd and Henry Purcell. Many of the pieces in the collection are still used in Anglican services today.

Boyce is known for his set of eight symphonies, his anthems and his odes. He also wrote the masque Peleus and Thetis and songs for John Dryden’s Secular Masque, incidental music for William Shakespeare’s The TempestCymbelineRomeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale, and a quantity of chamber music including a set of twelve trio sonatas. He also composed the British and Canadian Naval March “Heart of Oak”. The lyrics were later written by David Garrick for his 1759 play Harlequin’s Invasion.

Boyce also wrote music for masonic rituals.

Boyce was largely forgotten after his death and he remains a little-performed composer today, although a number of his pieces were rediscovered in the 1930s and Constant Lambert edited and sometimes conducted his works. Lambert had already launched the early stages of the modern Boyce revival in 1928, when he published the first modern edition of the Eight Symphonies (Bartlett and Bruce 2001). The great exception to this neglect was his church music, which was edited after his death by Philip Hayes and published in two large volumes, Fifteen Anthems by Dr Boyce in 1780 and A Collection of Anthems and a Short Service in 1790 (Bartlett 2003, 54). The first movement (Allegro) of Boyce’s Symphony No. 1 in B-flat was the first piece of music played during the procession of the bride and bridegroom at the conclusion of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018.

Boyce’s portraits were painted by Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Hudson. He was drawn and engraved by John Keyse Sherwin, and a vignette made by Drayton after Robert Smirke.

His only son, also William Boyce (25 March 1764 – 1824), was a professional double bass player.

On 7 February 1779 Boyce died from an attack of gout. He was buried under the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.


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Antonín Dvořák

Composer: Antonín Leopold Dvořák
Date of Birth:  September 8, 1841
Date of Death: May 1, 1904
Occupation: Conposer
Nationality: Czech
Period/Era/Style: Late Romantic-era
Contribution(s): best known for ‘New World Symphony’.

Biography: Early years   |   Composer and organist   |   International reputation   |   Reception in Britain    |    1888–1891   |    United States    |    Return to Europe and last years   |    Style

Works: Numbering   |   Symphonies    |   Symphonic poems  |    Choral works   |    Concerti    |    Chamber music   |    Operas    |    Songs   |    Other works   |    Notable students   |   Literature based on his works   |    In popular culture


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Luigi Cherubini

Cherubini was an Italian Classical and pre-Romantic composer. His most significant compositions are operas and sacred music. Beethoven regarded Cherubini as the greatest of his contemporaries.
Common Name: Luigi Cherubini
Birth Name(s): Maria Luigi Carlo Zenobio Salvatore Cherubini
Date of Birth: 8 or 14 September 1760
Date of Death: 15 March 1842
Occupation: Composer
Nationality: Italian
Period/Era/Style: Classical/Romantic

Biography: Early years: Cherubini was born Maria Luigi Carlo Zenobio Salvatore Cherubini in Florence in 1760. There is uncertainty about his exact date of birth. Although 14 September is sometimes stated, evidence from baptismal records and Cherubini himself suggests the 8th is correct. Perhaps the strongest evidence is his first name, Maria, which is traditional for a child born on 8 September, feast-day of the Nativity of the Virgin. His instruction in music began at the age of six with his father, Bartolomeo, maestro al cembalo (“Master of the harpsichord”, in other words, ensemble leader from the harpsichord). Considered a child prodigy, Cherubini studied counterpoint and dramatic style at an early age. By the time he was thirteen, he had composed several religious works.

Adulthood and first operas   |   French assimilation   |   From opera to church music   |   Old age and legacy   |   Works:   Orchestral music   |   Chamber music   |   Masses and sections of the mass   |   Motets and other choral works   |   Operas   |   Teaching manuals


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Amy Beach

Composer: Amy Marcy Cheney Beach
Date of Birth: September 5, 1867
Date of Death:  December 27, 1944
Occupation: Pianist; Composer
Nationality: American
Period/Era/Style: 20th century

Beach wasan American composer and pianist. She was the first successful American female composer of large-scale art music. Her “Gaelic” Symphony, premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1896, was the first symphony composed and published by an American woman. She was one of the first American composers to succeed without the benefit of European training, and one of the most respected and acclaimed American composers of her era. As a pianist, she was acclaimed for concerts she gave featuring her own music in the United States and in Germany.

Her sacred choral works include a settings of the Te Deum first performed by the choir of men and boys at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston, St. Francis’s Canticle of the Sun first performed at St. Bartholomew’s in New York, and a dozen other pieces, which were extensively researched in the 1990s by Betty Buchanan, Musical Director of the Capitol Hill Choral Society in Washington, D.C.

She was most popular, however, for her songs. “The Year’s At the Spring” from Three Browning Songs, Op. 44 is perhaps Beach’s most well-known work. Despite the volume and popularity of the songs during her lifetime, no single-composer song collection of Beach’s works exists.

Biography:  Early years and musical education   |   Early career   |   Marriage   |   Rise to prominence   |   Chamber music   |   Widowhood, years in Europe   |   Return to America and later life   |   Compositions   |   Symphonic works   |   Choral works   |   Chamber music   |    Solo piano music   |   Songs   |   Writings   |   Late 20th century and early 21st century revival and reception   |   Gaelic Symphony   |   Piano Concerto   |   Tributes and memorials


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Amy Beach (Sept. 05, 1867 – Dec. 27, 1944)
🇺🇸 American, 20th Century
First successful American female composer of large-scale art music.
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Anton Diabelli

diabelli250Diabelli was an Austrian music publisher, editor and composer. Best known in his time as a publisher, he is most familiar today as the composer of the waltz on which Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his set of thirty-three Diabelli Variations.

Composer: Anton Diabelli
Date of Birth: 05 September 1781
Date of Death: 07 April 1858
Occupation: Music Publisher; Editor; Composer
Nationality: Austrian
Period/Era/Style: Classical/Romantic transition

Early life: Diabelli was born in Mattsee near Salzburg, then in the Archbishopric of Salzburg. A musical child, he sang in the boys’ choir at Salzburg Cathedral where he is believed to have taken music lessons with Michael Haydn. By the age of 19 Diabelli had already composed several important compositions including six masses.

Diabelli was trained to enter the priesthood and in 1800 joined the monastery at Raitenhaslach, Bavaria. He remained there until 1803, when Bavaria closed all its monasteries.

Career: In 1803 Diabelli moved to Vienna and began teaching piano and guitar and found work as a proofreader for a music publisher. During this period he learned the music publishing business while continuing to compose. In 1809 he composed his comic opera, Adam in der Klemme. In 1817 he started a music publishing business and in 1818 he formed a partnership with Pietro Cappi to create the music publishing firm of Cappi & Diabelli.

Cappi & Diabelli became well known by arranging popular pieces so they could be played by amateurs at home. A master of promotion, Diabelli selected widely-accessible music such as famous opera tune arrangements, dance music and popular new comic theatre songs.

The firm soon established a reputation in more serious music circles by championing the works of Franz Schubert. Diabelli recognized the composer’s potential and became the first to publish Schubert’s work with “Der Erlkönig” in 1821. Diabelli’s firm continued to publish Schubert’s work until 1823 when an argument between Cappi and Schubert terminated their business. The following year Diabelli and Cappi parted ways, Diabelli launching a new publishing house, Diabelli & Co., in 1824. Following Schubert’s early death in 1828 Diabelli purchased a large portion of the composer’s massive musical estate from Schubert’s brother Ferdinand. As Schubert had hundreds of unpublished works, Diabelli’s firm was able to publish “new” Schubert works for more than 30 years after the composer’s death.

Diabelli’s publishing house expanded throughout his life, before he retired in 1851, leaving it under the control of Carl Anton Spina. When Diabelli died in 1858 Spina continued to run the firm and published much music by Johann Strauss II and Josef Strauss. In 1872 the firm was taken over by Friedrich Schreiber and in 1876 it merged with the firm of August Cranz who bought the company in 1879 and ran it under his name.

Diabelli Variations: The composition for which Diabelli is now best known was actually written as part of an adventuring story. In 1819, as a promotional idea, he decided to try to publish a volume of variations on a “patriotic” waltz he had penned expressly for this purpose, with one variation by every important Austrian composer living at the time, as well as several significant non-Austrians. The combined contributions would be published in an anthology called Vaterländischer Künstlerverein. Fifty-one composers responded with pieces, including Beethoven, Schubert, Archduke Rudolph of Austria, F.X. Wolfgang Mozart (jun.), Moritz Count von Dietrichstein, Heinrich Eduard Josef Baron von Lannoy, Ignaz Franz Baron von Mosel, Carl Czerny, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles, and the eight-year-old Franz Liszt (although it seems Liszt was not invited personally, but his teacher Czerny arranged for him to be involved). Czerny was also enlisted to write a coda. Beethoven, however, instead of providing just one variation, provided 33, and his formed Part I of Vaterländischer Künstlerverein. They constitute what is generally regarded as one of the greatest of Beethoven’s piano pieces and as the greatest set of variations of their time, and are generally known simply as the Diabelli Variations, Op. 120. The other 50 variations were published as Part II of Vaterländischer Künstlerverein.

Part I of Vaterländischer Künstlerverein: Variations on a Diabelli Theme by Fifty-one composers

Part II of Vaterländischer Künstlerverein: Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

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diabelli250Anton Diabelli (05 September 1781 – 07 April 1858)
🇦🇹 Austrian, Classical/Romantic transition
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Johann Christian Bach

Composer: Johann Christian Bach
Date of Birth: September 5, 1735
Date of Death: January 1, 1782
Nationality: German
Occupation: Composer; Performer
Period/Era/Style: Middle Classical era
List of Compositions: HERE
Contribution(s): J. C. Bach was a composer of the Classical era, the eleventh surviving child and youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is sometimes referred to as “the London Bach” or “the English Bach”, due to his time spent living in the British capital, where he came to be known as John Bach. He is noted for influencing the concerto style of Mozart.

Biography: Johann Christian Bach was born to Johann Sebastian and Anna Magdalena Bach in Leipzig, Germany. His distinguished father was already 50 at the time of his birth- an age gap exemplified by the sharp differences in the musical styles of father and son. Even so, father Bach instructed Johann Christian in music until his death in 1750. After his father’s death, he worked (and lived) with his second-oldest half brother Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who was twenty-one years his senior and considered at the time to be the most musically gifted of Bach’s sons.

He enjoyed a promising career, first as a composer then as a performer playing alongside Carl Friedrich Abel, the notable player of the viola da gamba. He composed cantatas, chamber music, keyboard and orchestral works, operas and symphonies.

Bach lived in Italy for many years starting in 1756, studying with Padre Martini in Bologna. He became organist at the Milan cathedral in 1760. During his time in Italy, he converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism and devoted much time to the composition of church music, including two Masses, a Requiem and a Te Deum. His first major work was a Mass, which received an excellent performance and acclaim in 1757. In 1762, Bach travelled to London to première three operas at the King’s Theatre, including Orione on 19 February 1763. That established his reputation in England, and he became music master to Queen Charlotte. In 1766, Bach met soprano Cecilia Grassi, who was eleven years his junior, and married her shortly thereafter. They had no children.

By the late 1770s, both his popularity and finances were in decline. By the time of Bach’s death on New Year’s day 1782, he had become so indebted (in part due to his steward embezzling his money), that Queen Charlotte stepped in to cover the expenses of the estate and provided a life pension for Bach’s widow. He was buried in the graveyard of St. Pancras Old Church, London.

Legacy: There are two others named Johann Christian Bach in the Bach family tree, but neither was a composer. A full account of J. C. Bach’s career is given in the fourth volume of Charles Burney’s History of Music.

Mozart, when aged 8, met Johann Christian Bach in London and became an admirer of his music. Mozart arranged three sonatas from the latter’s Op. 5 into keyboard concertos. In later life Mozart “often acknowledged the artistic debt he owed” to Johann Christian.

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📜 Johann Christian Bach (Sept. 05, 1735 – Jan. 1, 1782)
ℹ️ 11th surviving child and youngest son of J.S. Bach.
🇩🇪 German, Classical
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Engelbert Humperdinck

Though Humperdinck wrote a great deal of music in a variety of genres, he is best remembered for a single opera, Hänsel und Gretel (1893), based on the familiar fairy tale. Humperdinck’s musical style is infused with elements of the German folk tradition, but the composer’s primary influence was clearly the music of Wagner; indeed, Humperdinck worked as an assistant to the older master for a time, even providing extra music for a scene change in the premiere staging of Wagner’s Parsifal in 1882. It is possible that Humperdinck’s music remains, uncredited, as part of the score that has come down to posterity.

Name: Engelbert Humperdinck
Date of Birth: 1 September 1854
Date of Death: 27 September 1921
Occupation: Composer of Stage Works and Opera; Teacher
Nationality: German
Period/Era/Style: Romantic

Biography: Humperdinck was born at Siegburg in the Rhine Province in 1854. After receiving piano lessons, he produced his first composition at the age of seven. His first attempts at works for the stage were two singspiele written when he was 13. His parents disapproved of his plans for a career in music and encouraged him to study architecture. Nevertheless, he began taking music classes under Ferdinand Hiller and Isidor Seiss at the Cologne Conservatory in 1872. In 1876, he won a scholarship that enabled him to go to Munich, where he studied with Franz Lachner and later with Josef Rheinberger. In 1879, he won the first Mendelssohn Award given by the Mendelssohn Stiftung (foundation) in Berlin. He went to Italy and became acquainted with Richard Wagner in Naples. Wagner invited him to join him in Bayreuth, and during 1880 and 1881 Humperdinck assisted in the production of Parsifal. He also served as music tutor to Wagner’s son, Siegfried.

After winning another prize, Humperdinck traveled through Italy, France, and Spain and spent two years teaching at the Gran Teatre del Liceu Conservatory in Barcelona. In 1887, he returned to Cologne. He was appointed professor at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt in 1890 and also teacher of harmony at Julius Stockhausen’s Vocal School. By this time he had composed several works for chorus and a Humoreske for small orchestra, which enjoyed a vogue in Germany.

Hänsel und Gretel

Humperdinck’s reputation rests chiefly on his opera Hänsel und Gretel, which he began work on in Frankfurt in 1890. He first composed four songs to accompany a puppet show his nieces were giving at home. Then, using a libretto by his sister Adelheid Wette rather loosely based on the version of the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, he composed a Singspiel of 16 songs with piano accompaniment and connecting dialogue. By January 1891 he had begun working on a complete orchestration.

The opera premiered in Weimar on 23 December 1893, under the baton of Richard Strauss, who called it: “a masterpiece of the highest quality… all of it original, new, and so authentically German.”[this quote needs a citation] With its highly original synthesis of Wagnerian techniques and traditional German folk songs, Hansel and Gretel was an instant and overwhelming success.

Hansel and Gretel has always been Humperdinck’s most popular work. In 1923 the Royal Opera House (London) chose it for their first complete radio opera broadcast. Eight years later, it was the first opera transmitted live from the Metropolitan Opera (New York).

Later career

 In 1896, Kaiser Wilhelm II made Humperdinck a Professor and he went to live at Boppard. Four years later, however, he went to Berlin where he was appointed head of a Meisterschule of composition. His students included the Basque composer Andrés Isasi. Among his other stage works are:
  • Die sieben Geißlein (The Seven Little Kids), 1895
  • Königskinder (King’s Children), 1897, 1910
  • Dornröschen (Sleeping Beauty), 1902
  • Die Heirat wider Willen (The Reluctant Marriage), 1905
  • Bübchens Weihnachtstraum (The Christmas Dream), 1906
  • Die Marketenderin (The Provisioner), 1914
  • Gaudeamus: Szenen aus dem deutschen Studentenleben (Gaudeamus igitur: Scenes from German Student Life), 1919

While composing those works, Humperdinck held various teaching positions of distinction and collaborated in the theater, providing incidental music for a number of Max Reinhardt’s productions in Berlin, for example, for Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in 1905.

Although recognized as a disciple of Wagner rather than an innovator, Humperdinck was nevertheless the first composer to use Sprechgesang—a vocal technique halfway between singing and speaking—in his melodrama Königskinder (1897).

In 1914, Humperdinck seems to have applied for the post of director of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia, but with the outbreak of World War I it became unthinkable for a German to hold that position, and the job went instead to Belgium’s Henri Verbrugghen. Also in 1914, Humperdinck signed the Manifesto of the Ninety-Three, declaring support for German military actions during early World War I.

On 5 January 1912 Humperdinck suffered a severe stroke. Although he recovered, his left hand remained permanently paralyzed. He continued to compose, completing Gaudeamus with the help of his son, Wolfram, in 1918. On 26 September 1921 Humperdinck attended a performance of Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz in Neustrelitz, Wolfram’s first effort as a stage director. He suffered a heart attack during the performance and died the next day from a second heart attack. The Berlin State Opera performed Hansel and Gretel in his memory a few weeks later. He was buried at the Südwestkirchhof (de) in Stahnsdorf near Berlin.

For a list of Humperdinck’s pupils, see this list. In 1965, British singer Arnold Dorsey named himself after the composer. The main belt asteroid 9913 Humperdinck, discovered in 1977, was named after the composer as well.

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Engelbert Humperdinck (1 September 1854 – 27 September 1921)
🇩🇪  German, Romantic
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Pietro Locatelli

Pietro Antonio Locatelli (03 September 1695 in Bergamo – 30 March 1764 in Amsterdam) was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist.

Full Name: Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Date of Birth: 03 September 1695
Date of Death:3 0 March 1764
Occupation: Violinist; Composer
Nationality: Italian
Period, Era or Style: Baroque
Contribution(s): Pietro Antonio Locatelli was one of the leading Italian violinists and composers in the first half of the eighteenth century. At one time, he was known as the “Paganini of the eighteenth century” due to his 12 concertos and 24 caprices for violin. Although he was known primarily as a virtuoso violinist in the early part of his life, his abilities as a composer were far more important. Stylistically, Locatelli worked within the conservative forms of the composers of the Roman school (Corelli, for example), but incorporated many of the more progressive elements of the Venetian school (Vivaldi, above all). He wrote mostly sonatas and concertos for string instruments, although there is a set of flute sonatas, and a lost concerto for wind instruments with strings. With the exception of those flute sonatas, Opus 2, which occasionally have three movements, his other works were almost exclusively in the older four-movement format. Locatelli also made the written-out cadenza a standard part of his violin concertos, an innovation from the earlier practice of exclusively improvised cadenzas. In general, though, his style was a consolidation of existing trends, yet still original in the beauty and resourcefulness of its harmonies.

Biography: Bergamo   |   Rome   |   Travels through Italy and Germany   |   Amsterdam   |   Nachlass

Music: When Locatelli went to Amsterdam in 1729, he discovered the centre of European music publishing. He published his Opp. 2–6, 8 and 9 and a new edition of Op. 1 in Amsterdam, and Op. 7 in the neighbouring city of Leiden. He took great care to achieve flawless editions. Locatelli gave the well-arranged works to different publishers, and he edited and sold the less-arranged works.

Not only Op. 1 was composed in his early years, but also Op. 3 and parts of Op. 2 and 4 to 8. Locatelli obtained a privilege which protected Opp. 1–8 (which were also issued in Leiden, in Holland) from unauthorised reprints and prevented the import of reprints. In his application for the privilege he referred to himself as an “Italian music master living in Amsterdam”. As a consequence of the privilege, Locatelli had to give free copies to the Leiden university library; thus, first prints have been preserved up to the present. An exception was Op. 9, which was published after the expiry of the legal protection.

Locatelli’s works can be divided into three categories:

  • works for his own performances as a virtuoso;
  • representative works for larger ensembles;
  • chamber music and small works arranged for small ensembles.

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Complete Edition, Vol. 1 & 2
Complete Edition, Vol. 3
Complete Edition, Vol. 4

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Summery:

Pietro Antonio Locatelli (03 September 1695 in Bergamo – 30 March 1764 in Amsterdam) was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist.
🇮🇹 Italian; Baroque; Violinist and Composer
Link: https://wp.me/p9cLhb-xB
#pietroantoniolocatelli #baroquecomposer #italiancomposer #violinworks #maestro68dotcom


 

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