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Classical Composers A-Z: Louis Spohr

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to the almost-forgotten composer, Louis Spohr.

Born
5th April, 1784, in Brunswick.

Adult Life
Chamber musician at Brunswick Court, soon became a virtuoso violinist, touring round Germany. Became Konzermeister in Gotha, toured with his wife, the harpist Dorette Scheidler, conducting his own works. These included his operas Faust and Zemir und Azor.

He settled at Kassel where the premieres of his opera Jessonda, oratorio Die Letzen Dirge and fourth symphony were all successful.

He was a popular composer, conductor and violinist in his lifetime, but is almost forgotten now. He was the first to conduct with a baton.

He wrote 15 violin and 10 other concertos, ten symphonies and lots of chamber works; the 8th violin concerto was especially popular. He became Musical Director at Kassel in 1847 and stayed 25 years. He admired Wagner and encouraged performance of his works.

He died in Kassel on 22nd October, 1859, aged 75.

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