Personalities | Louis Spohr | Early Romantic | Classical

(Loo’-es Shpôr) 1784–1859
German composer, violinist and conductor

Spohr was a prolific composer of instrumental music and also wrote operas that foreshadow Wagner’s leitmotif technique. He first studied in his native Brunswick, and Mozart soon became his idol. He was a virtuoso violinist and between 1807 and 1821 went on many tours to the major European cities with his wife, the harpist Dorette Scheidler, and wrote works for them. He was briefly director at the Theater an der Wien (1813–15) and opera director at Frankfurt (1817–19). In 1822 he was appointed Kapellmeister at Kassel (a post suggested by Weber, who declined it himself), where he remained for the rest of his life. Spohr’s musical style combines an adherence to classical form with a Romantic freedom of expression. His nine symphonies and 36 string quartets form an important proportion of his output, and his most influential operas were Faust (1813), Zemire und Azor (1818–19) and the successful Jessonda (1823). While his works hold an important position historically, most are now forgotten, although he is remembered for being the first to conduct with a wooden baton.

Recommended Recording:
Violin Concerto No. 8, ‘Gesangsszene’, Pierre Amoyal, Lausanne CO (cond) Armin Jordan (Erato/Warner)

Introduction | Early Romantic | Classical
Personalities | Gaspare Spontini | Early Romantic | Classical


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