Franz Paul Lachner (2 April 1803 – 20 January 1890) was a German composer and conductor.

Lachner was born in Rain am Lech to a musical family (his brothers Ignaz, Theodor and Vinzenz also became musicians). He studied music with Simon Sechter and Maximilian, the Abbé Stadler. He conducted at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna before becoming a major figure in the musical life of Munich from the 1830s, conducting at the opera and various concerts and festivals. His career there came to a sudden end in 1864 after Richard Wagner’s disciple Hans von Bülow took over Lachner’s duties. Lachner remained officially in his post on extended leave for a few years until his contract expired.

Lachner was a well-known and prolific composer in his day, though he is not now considered a major composer. His work, influenced by Ludwig van Beethoven and his friend Franz Schubert is regarded as competent and craftsman-like, but is now generally little known. Among his greatest successes were his opera Caterina Cornaro (1841), his Requiem and his seventh orchestral suite (1881). In the present day it may be his organ sonatas (Opp. 175, 176, 177) as well as chamber music, in particular his music for wind instruments, that receives the most attention, though his string quartets and some of his eight symphonies have been performed and recorded. His songs, some of which are set to the same texts that Schubert used in his songs, contributed to the development of the German Lied.

For performances of Luigi Cherubini’s Médée in Frankfurt in 1855, Lachner composed recitatives to replace the original spoken dialogue, and it was this version, translated into Italian, which was used in many twentieth-century revivals and recordings of that opera.

Edited by aideon on 25 Mar 2010, 16:09

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