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Friedrich Kuhlau


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Friedrich Daniel Rudolf Kuhlau (September 11, 1786 – March 12, 1832) was a German-Danish composer during the Classical and Romantic periods.

Born in Germany, after losing his right eye in a street accident at the age of seven, he studied piano in Hamburg. His father, grandfather, and uncle were military oboists. Even though Kuhlau was born to a poor family, his parents managed to pay for pianoforte lessons. 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. Outside of several lengthy trips which he took, he resided there until his death. During his lifetime, he 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. Considering that his house burned down destroying all of his unpublished manuscripts, he was a prolific composer leaving more than 200 published works in most genres.

Beethoven, whom Kuhlau knew personally, exerted the greatest influence upon his music. Interestingly, few of Beethoven’s contemporaries showed greater understanding or ability to assimilate what he was doing than Kuhlau. Certainly with regard to form, Kuhlau was clearly able to make sense and use what Beethoven was doing in his Middle Period.

He wrote a piano concerto, a string quartet, several works for piano which included all the current genres of the day:sonatas, sonatinas, waltzes, rondos and variation. He also created several works for the strings (three quartets and two quintets, and several violin sonatas), works of incidental music and several operas.

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  • Eyoki

    Enjoying the music. Never seen a painting of him before. He looks a bit like Paul McGann, the actor.

    13 Jun 2014 Reply
  • DionysianSpirit

    Awesome composer in veins of Beethoven; indeed, are great masterpieces (compositions) that I've listened on his Overtures.

    1 Aug 2013 Reply
  • FallingUpwards7


    13 Nov 2011 Reply

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