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Classical Composers A-Z: Franz Berwald

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to Franz Berwald, a Swedish composer whose works were not internationally recognised until long after his death.

Born
23rd July, 1796 in Stockholm

Family
Father, uncle, cousin and brother all violinists.

Adult Life
Joined the Royal Orchestra as a self-taught violinist. Edited a musical journal. Went to Berlin, where he wrote an opera Der Verather, which attracted no attention.

He lived in Vienna for a short time then left music to design orthopaedic appliances, left it again later to manage a glass factory.

He was not recognised in his own country till after his death and not abroad for some time after that. He wrote four symphonies, the fourth, Singuliere, in 1845 becoming quite popular after his death.

He also wrote a lot of chamber music, especially string quartets and piano quintets. He is now thought to be the greatest Swedish composer of the century, possibly the best ever.

He died 3rd April, 1868, aged 71 in Stockholm.


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