Ernest Tomlinson

Composer: Ernest Tomlinson
Date of Birth:  19 September 1924
Date of Death: 12 June 2015
Nationality: English
Period/Era/Style: 21st Century
Contribution(s):  Tomlinson was an English composer, particularly noted for his light music compositions. He was sometimes credited as ‘Alan Perry’.

Life and career: Tomlinson was born in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, England, into a musical family, one of four children to Fred Tomlinson Sr and May Tomlinson (née Culpan). His younger brother, Fred Tomlinson, also a musician, founded The Fred Tomlinson Singers and performed the music for Monty Python’s Flying Circus. At the age of nine he became a chorister at Manchester Cathedral, where he was eventually appointed as Head Boy in 1939. He later attended Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School and at sixteen won a scholarship to Manchester University and the Royal Manchester College of Music. He spent the next two years studying composition until in 1943 he left to join the Royal Air Force, where, although colour-blind, he became a Wireless Mechanic and saw service in France during 1944 and 1945. He returned to England in 1945 to resume his studies and graduated in 1947, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Music for composition as well as being made a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and an Associate of the Royal Manchester College of Music.

Tomlinson left northern England for London, where he worked as a staff arranger for Arcadia and Mills Music Publishers, providing scores for radio and television broadcasts as well as for the stage and recording studios. He continued his interest in the organ by taking up a post at a Mayfair church.

Tomlinson had his first piece broadcast by the BBC in 1949 and by 1955 he had formed his own orchestra, the “Ernest Tomlinson Light Orchestra”. From 1951 to 1953 he was musical director of the Chingford Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society. In 1976, he took over the directorship of the Rossendale Male Voice Choir from his father, a post he held for five years, during which the choir won their class for three years in the BBC’s “Grand Sing” competition. He was also the founder of the Northern Concert Orchestra, with whom he gave numerous broadcasts and concerts. He was a chief consultant for the Marco Polo Records label, and was featured a number of times on Brian Kay’s Light Programme.

In 1984, after discovering that the BBC were disposing of their light music archive, Tomlinson founded The Library of Light Orchestral Music, which is housed in a barn at his family’s farmhouse near Longridge in Lancashire. The library currently contains around 50,000 pieces, including many items that would otherwise have been lost.

Tomlinson and his wife Jean (née Lancaster) were married from 1949 until her death in September 2006. The couple had four children, Ann, Geoffrey, Hilary and Linda. Tomlinson’s four children, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren survive him.

Awards: Tomlinson won several prestigious awards; the Composers’ Guild Award in 1965 and two Ivor Novello Awards – one for services to light music in 1970, the other for his full-length ballet Aladdin in 1975. For several years he was on the Executive Committee of the Composers’ Guild of Great Britain, including being its Chairman in 1964. In addition, he was from 1965 a composer-director of the Performing Rights Society.

Tomlinson was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), in the 2012 Birthday Honours, for services to music.

Works: Tomlinson was primarily known as a composer of light orchestral pieces and produced a considerable body of works ranging from overtures, suites and rhapsodies and miniatures, of which Little Serenade and Cantilena are probably the most popular. Also notable are a number of English folk-dance arrangements. In the 1960s, he wrote a number of Test Card pieces such as Stately Occasion and the tongue-in-cheek Capability Brown.

Tomlinson also worked on larger-scale forms, including several works in symphonic jazz style, such as Sinfonia ’62, which won an Italian competition for “Rhythmic-Symphonic” works. Also notable are two symphonies, three concertos – including his Cornet Concerto performed by Maurice Murphy, his Rhapsody and Rondo for horn and orchestra (premiered by Dennis Brain, a one-act opera Head of the Family, a Festival of Song for chorus and orchestra and numerous works for choirs, brass bands and concert bands.

In 1966, Tomlinson conducted his Symphony ’65, in the Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow, played by the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, which was the first time a symphonic jazz work had been heard in Russia.

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Ignaz Holzbauer

holzbauer250Composer: Ignaz Jakob Holzbauer
Date of Birth: 18 September 1711
Date of Death: 7 April 1783
Nationality: German
Period/Era/Style: Early Galante era – transition from Baroque to Classical 
Contribution(s): Holzbauer was a composer of symphonies, concertos, operas, and chamber music, and a member of the Mannheim school. His aesthetic style is in line with that of the Sturm und Drang “movement” of German art and literature.

Biography: Holzbauer was born in Vienna. Despite the opposition of his parents, who intended him for the law, he studied music, and in 1745 became kapellmeister to Count Rottal and at the Court Theatre of Vienna. Later he was kapellmeister at Stuttgart, Germany. His operas include Il figlio delle selve, which was the opening performance of the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen in 1753. Its success led to a job offer from the court at Mannheim, Germany, where he stayed for the rest of his life, continuing to compose and to teach, his students including Johann Anton Friedrich Fleischmann (1766-1798), the pianist, and Carl Stamitz. Holzbauer died in Mannheim, having been entirely deaf for some years.

His opera Günther von Schwarzburg, based on the life of the eponymous king, was an early German national opera, a performance of which Mozart and his sister attended, through which they met Anton Raaff, who was later to premiere a role in Idomeneo. Holzbauer wrote 196 symphonies.

Mozart also composed nine numbers for insertion in a Miserere by Holzbauer on commission by the Parisian Concert Spirituel in 1778, but they have been lost. They have been given the catalog number KV297a in the list of Mozart’s works.

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Claude-Paul Taffanel

Composer: Claude-Paul Taffanel
Date of Birth: 16 September 1844
Date of Death: 22 November 1908
Nationality: French
Period/Era/Style: Late Romantic-era
Contribution(s): Taffanel was a French flautist, conductor and instructor regarded as the founder of the French Flute School that dominated much of flute composition and performance during the mid-20th century.

Biography: Early years: Born in Bordeaux, France, Taffanel received his first lessons on the flute from his father at the age of nine. After giving his first concert at the age of ten, he studied with Vincent Dorus at the Paris Conservatoire. Once he graduated in 1860, he won his first of several awards for flute performance at age sixteen. Taffanel built a substantial career as both soloist and orchestral player over 30 years, becoming known as the foremost flautist of his time and reestablishing the instrument in the mainstream of music.

Professorship: In 1893, Taffanel became Professor of Flute at the Conservatoire. It happened that news of Taffanel’s appointment was printed in the same issue of Le Ménestrel that carried Tchaikovsky’s obituary notice. As Professor, he revised the institute’s repertoire and teaching methods, restructuring the traditional masterclass format to give students individual attention while building a reputation as an inspiring teacher. He instructed his students to play in a new, smoother style that included a light and carefully modulated vibrato.

Reviving early music: Taffanel also revamped the required repertoire for his Conservatory students. Beginning in 1894, he replaced much of the 19th-century music his student Louis Fleury called “idle twittering” with works by Johann Sebastian Bach and other composers of the 18th century. Until then, French musicians (save for a handful of organists) had ignored the Bach revival that had swept England, Germany and Austria. Alfredo Casella, who had studied Bach in Italy before coming to Paris, noted that none of his classmates at the Conservatoire knew that composer’s music.

Taffanel toured widely in Europe. This placed him ahead of his contemporaries in awareness of baroque repertoire. (His tours had included playing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart concertos at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, a singular honor for a French performer.) Thanks to this awareness, Taffanel’s impact on the early music revival in France cannot be overestimated. Louis Fleury writes,

Bach’s sonatas, those wonders, long buried in the dust of libraries, awakened to find a real interpreter [in Taffanel]. He was the first, at any rate in France, to find out the meaning of these works, which his colleagues thought dull and badly written for the instrument … It is a fact, though hardly credible, that down to 1895 Bach sonatas were not taught in the flute class (under Altes) at the conservatoire.

His work sparked and helped fuel a growing interest in France in early music, with editions such as Saint-Saëns’ of music by Jean-Philippe Rameau. In 1897, Taffanel also became head of the orchestra class at the Conservatoire.

Conductor: In addition to his teaching duties, Taffanel became an important opera and orchestra conductor, serving from 1890 to 1906 as chief conductor at both the Paris Opéra and the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire. Previously these positions had been awarded to string players; Taffanel was the first flautist to hold them. Taffanel’s duties at the Opera included directing all new productions, among which during his tenure were French premieres of various Wagner operas and Verdi’s Otello. At the Societe des Concerts Taffanel championed Camille Saint-Saëns and other contemporary French composers. He also gave the world premiere of Verdi’s Quattro pezzi sacri. He revised the conservatory’s repertoire and teaching methods, putting the music of other, foreign composers, including Bach, back into the institute’s repertoire.

Chamber musician: Chamber music did not escape Taffanel’s attention. Founding the Société de musique de chambre pour instruments à vent (Society of Chamber Music for Wind Instruments) in 1879, he revived the wind ensemble music of Mozart and Beethoven while also encouraging the composition of many new works, including Charles Gounod’s Petite symphonie. In addition, during the 1880s, Taffanel participated in “historic” concerts, playing his Boehm flute alongside viola da gamba and harpsichord in performances of baroque music.

Composer and writer: Taffanel was also a fluent composer for the flute and wind quintet, writing several pieces considered part of standard flute repertoire today. These include:

  • Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino
  • Grande Fantasie (Mignon)
  • Fantasie, Themes/ Der Freischutz
  • Quintette in G minor (for woodwind quintet) (1876)

He also began writing a method book for flute, 17 Grands Exercices Journaliers De Mecanisme, which was finished after his death by two of his students, Louis Fleury and Philippe Gaubert. Today, this is considered a standard method book for flute players to study from. Gaubert became the second (after Taffanel) most recognized French flautist and composer.

Death: He suffered from a physical breakdown in 1901, and died in Paris on November 22, 1908.

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Luigi Cherubini

Composer: Luigi Cherubini
Date of Birth: 8 or 14 September 1760
Date of Death: 15 March 1842
Nationality: Italian
Period/Era/Style: Late Classical era
Contribution(s): Cherubini was an Italian composer who spent most of his working life in France. His most significant compositions are operas and sacred music. Beethoven regarded Cherubini as the greatest of his contemporaries.

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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Michael Haydn

Composer: Johann Michael Haydn
Date of Birth: 14 September 1737
Date of Death: 10 August 1806
Nationality: Austrian
Period/Era/Style: Middle classical era
Contribution(s): Haydn was an Austrian composer of the Classical period, the younger brother of Joseph Haydn.

Biography: Haydn was born in 1737 in the Austrian village of Rohrau, near the Hungarian border. His father was Mathias Haydn, a wheelwright who also served as “Marktrichter”, an office akin to village mayor. Haydn’s mother Maria, née Koller, had previously worked as a cook in the palace of Count Harrach, the presiding aristocrat of Rohrau. Mathias was an enthusiastic folk musician, who during the journeyman period of his career had taught himself to play the harp, and he also made sure that his children learned to sing.

Michael went to Vienna at the age of eight, his early professional career path was paved by his older brother Joseph, whose skillful singing had landed him a position as a boy soprano in the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna choir under the direction of Georg Reutter, as were Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Franz Joseph Aumann,[1] both composers with whom Haydn later traded manuscripts. By Michael’s 12th birthday he was earning extra money as a substitute organist at the cathedral and had, reportedly, performed preludes and fantasies of his own composition. The early 19th-century author Albert Christoph Dies, based on Joseph’s late-life reminiscences, wrote:

Reutter was so captivated by [Joseph]’s talents that he declared to his father that even if he had twelve sons he would take care of them all. The father saw himself freed of a great burden by this offer, consented to it, and some five years after dedicated Joseph’s brothers Michael, and still later Johann to the musical muse. Both were taken on as choirboys, and, to Joseph’s unending joy, both brothers were turned over to him to be trained.

The same source indicates that Michael was a brighter student than Joseph, and that (particularly when Joseph had grown enough to have trouble keeping his soprano voice) it was Michael’s singing that was the more admired.

About 1753, he left the choir school because of the break of his voice. In 1760 Michael was appointed Kapellmeister at Großwardein (today Oradea) and later, in 1762, at Salzburg, where he remained for 43 years, during which he wrote over 360 compositions comprising both church and instrumental music. From their mutual sojourn in Salzburg, Haydn was acquainted with Mozart, who held his work in high esteem.

On 17 August 1768 he married singer Maria Magdalena Lipp (1745–1827); their only child, a daughter (Aloisia Josepha, born 31 January 1770) died just short of her first birthday, on 27 January 1771. Although Lipp was disliked by the women in Mozart’s family for some reason, she still created the role of Barmherzigkeit ([Divine] Mercy) in Mozart’s first musical play, Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots (“The Obligation of the First Commandment”), 1767, and later the role of Tamiri in his short pastoral opera Il re pastore of 1775.

Leopold Mozart criticized Haydn’s heavy drinking.

In Salzburg Haydn taught young Carl Maria von Weber and Anton Diabelli.

Michael remained close to Joseph all of his life. Joseph regarded his brother’s music highly, to the point of feeling Michael’s religious works were superior to his own (possibly for their devotional intimacy, as opposed to Joseph’s monumental and majestic more secularized symphonic style). In 1802, when Michael was “offered lucrative and honourable positions” by “both Esterházy and the Grand Duke of Tuscany,” he wrote to Joseph in Vienna asking for advice on whether or not to accept any of them, but in the end chose to stay in Salzburg. Michael and Maria Magdalena Haydn named their daughter Aloisia Josepha (who was always called Aloisia) not in honor of Michael’s brother, but after Josepha Daubrawa von Daubrawaick, who substituted as godmother at the baptism for Countess de Firmian.

He died in Salzburg at the age of 68.

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Clara Schumann

Composer: Clara Schumann (née Clara Josephine Wieck)
Date of Birth: 13 September 1819
Date of Death: 20 May 1896
Nationality: German
Period/Era/Style: Early Romantic-era
Contribution(s): Clara Schumann was a German musician and composer, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era. She exerted her influence over a 61-year concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital and the tastes of the listening public. Her husband was the composer Robert Schumann. Together they encouraged Johannes Brahms. She was the first to perform publicly any work by Brahms. She later premiered some other pieces by Brahms, notably the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel.

Legacy: Although for many years after her death Clara Schumann was not widely recognized as a composer, as a pianist she made an impression which lasts until today. She was one of the first pianists to perform from memory, making that the standard for concertizing. Trained by her father to play by ear and to memorize, she gave public performances from memory as early as age thirteen, a fact noted as something exceptional by her reviewers.

She was also instrumental in changing the kind of programs expected of concert pianists. In her early career, before her marriage to Robert, she played what was then customary, mainly bravura pieces designed to showcase the artist’s technique, often in the form of arrangements or variations on popular themes from operas, written by virtuosos such as Thalberg, Herz, or Henselt. And, as it was also customary to play one’s own compositions, she included at least one of her own works in every program, works such as her Variations on a Theme by Bellini (Op. 8) and her popular Scherzo (Op. 10). However, as she became a more independent artist, her repertoire contained mainly music by leading composers.

 Clara Schumann’s influence also spread through her teaching, which emphasized a singing tone and expression, with technique entirely subordinated to the intentions of the composer. One of her students, Mathilde Verne, carried her teaching to England where she taught, among others, Solomon; while another of her students, Carl Friedberg, carried the tradition to the Juilliard School in America, where his students included Malcolm Frager and Bruce Hungerford.

Clara was also instrumental in getting the works of Robert Schumann recognized, appreciated and added to the repertoire. She promoted him tirelessly, beginning when his music was unknown or disliked, when the only other important figure in music to play Schumann occasionally was Liszt, and continuing until the end of her long career.

Early life   |   Child prodigy   |   Marriage to Robert   |   Meeting Joseph Joachim   |   Brahms coming on the scene   |   Robert’s confinement and death   |   Tours, often to Britain, often with Joachim

Later career; views of some other composers   |   Family life

Concerti for piano and orchestra   |   Trios (for violin, cello, and piano)   |   Piano quartets (violin, viola, cello, piano)   |   Piano quintets (string quartet and piano)   |   Lieder (voice, piano)

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Arnold Schoenberg

Composer: Arnold Franz Walter  Schoenberg (or Schönberg)
Date of Birth: 13 September 1874
Date of Death: 13 July 1951
Nationality: Jewish Austrian
Period/Era/Style: Romantic-era/20th-century
Contribution(s): Schoenberg was an Austrian composer, music theorist, and painter. He was associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School. By 1938, with the rise of the Nazi Party, Schoenberg’s works were labelled degenerate music, because he was Jewish. He moved to the United States in 1934.

Schoenberg’s approach, both in terms of harmony and development, has been one of the most influential of 20th-century musical thought. Many European and American composers from at least three generations have consciously extended his thinking, whereas others have passionately reacted against it.

Schoenberg was known early in his career for simultaneously extending the traditionally opposed German Romantic styles of Brahms and Wagner. Later, his name would come to personify innovations in atonality (although Schoenberg himself detested that term) that would become the most polemical feature of 20th-century art music. In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique, an influential compositional method of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve notes in the chromatic scale. He also coined the term developing variation and was the first modern composer to embrace ways of developing motifs without resorting to the dominance of a centralized melodic idea.

Schoenberg was also an influential teacher of composition; his students included Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Hanns Eisler, Egon Wellesz, Nikos Skalkottas, and later John Cage, Lou Harrison, Earl Kim, Roberto Gerhard, Leon Kirchner, and other prominent musicians. Many of Schoenberg’s practices, including the formalization of compositional method and his habit of openly inviting audiences to think analytically, are echoed in avant-garde musical thought throughout the 20th century. His often polemical views of music history and aesthetics were crucial to many significant 20th-century musicologists and critics, including Theodor W. Adorno, Charles Rosen, and Carl Dahlhaus, as well as the pianists Artur Schnabel, Rudolf Serkin, Eduard Steuermann, and Glenn Gould.

Schoenberg’s archival legacy is collected at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna.

Biography: Early life   |  1901–1914: experimenting in atonality   |   World War I   |   Development of the twelve-tone method   |   Third Reich and move to America   |   Later years and death

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Arvo Pärt

Composer: Arvo Pärt
Date of Birth: 11 September 1935
Date of Death: n/a
Nationality: Estonian
Period/Era/Style: 20th Century-21st Century/holy minimalism, polystylism
Contribution(s): Pärt is an Estonian composer of classical and sacred music. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs his self-invented compositional technique, tintinnabuli. His music is in part inspired by Gregorian chant. His major works include the violin concerto Tabula Rasa (1977), Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten (1977), Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen (1988) and The Beatitudes (1991). Pärt has been the most performed living composer in the world for 5 consecutive years.

Pärt was born in Paide, Järva County, Estonia. A prolonged struggle with Soviet officials led him to emigrate with his wife and their two sons in 1980. He lived first in Vienna, where he took Austrian citizenship and then relocated to Berlin, Germany, in 1981. He returned to Estonia around the turn of the 21st century and now lives alternately in Berlin and Tallinn. He speaks fluent German and has German citizenship as a result of living in Germany since 1981.

Life: Pärt was born in Paide, Järva County, Estonia and was raised by his mother and stepfather in Rakvere in northern Estonia. He began to experiment with the top and bottom notes of the family’s piano as the middle register was damaged. Pärt’s musical education began at age seven. He began attending music school in Rakvere, where his family lived. By the time he reached his early teenage years, Pärt was writing his own compositions. His first serious study came in 1954 at the Tallinn Music Middle School, but less than a year later he temporarily abandoned it to fulfill military service, playing oboe and percussion in the army band. After his service he attended the Tallinn Conservatory, where he studied composition with Heino Eller and it was said of him, “he just seemed to shake his sleeves and the notes would fall out”. As a student, he produced music for film and the stage. During the 1950s, he also completed his first vocal composition, the cantata Meie aed (‘Our Garden’) for children’s choir and orchestra. He graduated in 1963. From 1957 to 1967, he worked as a sound producer for Estonian radio.

Pärt was criticized by Tikhon Khrennikov in 1962, for employing serialism in Nekrolog (1960), the first 12-tone music written in Estonia, which exhibited his “susceptibility to foreign influences”. But nine months later he won First Prize in a competition of 1,200 works, awarded by the all-Union Society of Composers, indicating the inability of the Soviet regime to agree consistently on what was permissible. In the 1970s, Pärt studied medieval and Renaissance music instead of focusing on his own composition. About this same time, he converted from Lutheranism to the Russian Orthodox faith.

In 1980, after a prolonged struggle with Soviet officials, he was allowed to emigrate with his wife and their two sons. He lived first in Vienna, where he took Austrian citizenship and then relocated to Berlin, Germany, in 1981. He returned to Estonia around the turn of the 21st century and now lives alternately in Berlin and Tallinn. He speaks fluent German and has German citizenship as a result of living in Germany since 1981.

In 2014 The Daily Telegraph described Pärt as possibly “the world’s greatest living composer” and “by a long way, Estonia’s most celebrated export”. But when asked how Estonian he felt his music to be, Pärt replied: “I don’t know what is Estonian… I don’t think about these things.” Unlike many of his fellow Estonian composers, Pärt never found inspiration in the country’s epic poem, Kalevipoeg, even in his early works. Pärt said “My Kalevipoeg is Jesus Christ.”

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Friedrich Kuhlau

Composer: Friedrich Daniel Rudolf Kuhlau
Date of Birth:  11 September 1786
Date of Death: 12 March 1832
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
Nationality: English
Period/Era/Style: Early Classical era/Later Galante era
Contribution(s): Boyce was an English composer and organist and is widely regarded as one of the most important English-born composers of the 18th century. 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 Tempest, Cymbeline, Romeo 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 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.

On the 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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