By Author

  • Adam, Adolphe

    Adam, Adolphe (1)

    Adolphe Adam (1803 - 1856). Son of a music teacher who did not want his son to go into the trade, Adolphe Adam nevertheless learned to play the piano and became a bright light among the young composers of his era. After gaining a foothold in the popular music world, Adam moved over to ballet (Giselle) before conquering the opera scene with his works Le chalet and Le postillon de Lenjoumeau. The increasing seriousness of his once lighthearted work led to a tiff with the director of Paris's Opйra-Comique, who swore never to mount any more of Adam's operas. Defiant in the face of disaster, Adam raised money and built the Opйra-National, which operated for a few seasons only to collapse with the coming of the 1848 Revolution. Adam spent the rest of his life trying to dig his way out of debt.
  • Ambroise, Thomas

    Ambroise, Thomas (1)

    Ambroise Thomas (1811 - 1896). The son of skilled music teachers, Ambroise Thomas was already a superb pianist and violinist by the age of ten. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, toured Europe, and had established himself as a composer by the age of 23. Returning to Paris, Thomas began work on his first operas. At first, he created only light comic works; among them was a bizarre piece (ostensibly based on A Midsummer Night's Dream) in which a drunken Shakespeare sought his muse. Shortly thereafter, Thomas became a professor at the Conservatoire and began concentrating on heavier fare; he was eventually appointed director of the institution after the success of his operas Mignon and Hamlet.
  • Arensky, Anton

    Arensky, Anton (4)

    Anton Stepanovich Arensky (1861-1906).  An alcoholic and compulsive gambler, Anton Stepanovich Arensky started out as one of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's star pupils at the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. Later, after becoming known for his distinctive musical style (which combined Tchaikovskian elegance with unusual meters), Arensky succeeded Mily Balakirev as the music director of the imperial chapel. After leaving the chapel, Arensky went on a series of concert tours; however, his debauched lifestyle quickly caught up with him, and he died of tuberculosis at the age of forty-four.
  • Bazzini, Antonio

    Bazzini, Antonio (1)

    Antonio Joseph Bazzini (11 March 1818 – 10 February 1897) was an Italian violinist, composer and teacher. As a composer his most enduring work is his chamber music which has earned him a central place in the Italian instrumental renaissance of the 19th century. However his success as a composer was overshadowed by his reputation as one of the finest concert violinists of the nineteenth century. He also contributed to a portion of Messa per Rossini, specifically the first section of II. Sequentia, Dies Irae.
  • Berlioz, Hector

    Berlioz, Hector (1)

    Hector Berlioz (1803-1869). For several years, Hector Berlioz was vilified by his contemporaries because of the often bizarre orchestral techniques he pioneered. (No composer had ever written timpani chords before, and one can only wonder what violinists must have thought when he asked them to thump the strings with the wood part of the bow.) Today, Berlioz is considered the father of modern orchestration, and hisSymphonie Fantastique and La Damnation de Faust are famous the world over.
  • Borodin, Aleksandr

    Borodin, Aleksandr (2)

    Aleksandr Porfiryevich Borodin (1833-1887). The illegitimate son of Prince Gedeanov of Georgia, Aleksandr Borodin trained as a medical doctor before encountering composer Mily Balakirev, who brought him into the so-called "Mighty Five" and encouraged him to write more music. Borodin, who remained in practice as a medical researcher throughout his life, composed only a few works - most of which are considered masterpieces of Russian nationalist music.
  • Bruckner, Anton

    Bruckner, Anton (1)

    Anton Bruckner (1824-1896). A timid elementary school teacher at a cloistered monastery, Anton Bruckner was the last person anyone would suspect of composing an endless series of dynamic, bold, and brilliant pieces of music. Bruckner was erroneously branded a Wagner acolyte for many years, and he did not experience an unmitigated popular and critical success until after his sixtieth birthday.
  • Busoni, Ferruccio

    Busoni, Ferruccio (1)

    Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924). A child prodigy eventually forced to make his living as a teacher, Ferruccio Busoni was continually frustrated in his efforts to find success as a composer. Noted for his ability to teach composition, Busoni counted among his students such future luminaries as Kurt Weill and Edgard Varиse. In his book The New Esthetic of Music, Busoni made a series of astonishingly accurate predictions about the paths avant-garde composers would take in the coming century.  
  • Cui, César

    Cui, César (1)

    César Cui (1835-1918). What Asiatic part-writing have we here?" scribbled Mily Balakirev into a manuscript by his student César Cui. Indeed, despite Cui's obvious musical genius, his contemporaries felt free to criticize his deficiencies - most notably his lack of skill at orchestration. (Upon hearing Cui's opera William Ratcliff, Rimsky-Korsakov groaned, "You can't orchestrate an opera like that!") Cui got his own back, though; during his many years as a music critic, he became known for the caustic wit with which he would skewer other composers and their works. Today, Cui is remembered for his delightful short pieces, as well as for the operas Ratcliff and The Stone Guest.
  • Dargomizhsky, Alexander

    Dargomizhsky, Alexander (2)

    lexander Sergeyevich Dargomizhsky (1813-1869). Son of a princess with literary pretensions, Aleksandr Dargomizhsky began his working life as a civil servant to whom music was little more than a hobby. However, after a fateful meeting with Mikhail Glinka, Dargomizhsky began work on his first opera, Esmeralda (based on Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris). From there, the composer went to work as a vocal coach (he taught only women, and reportedly accepted no monetary compensation for his labors) before completing the two operas upon which his reputation rests: the deliciously melodic Rusalka and the groundbreaking Stone Guest.
  • Debussy, Claude

    Debussy, Claude (1)

    Claude Debussy (1862-1918). Creator of an "impressionist" musical idiom that combined pentatonic structures with Western tonality, Claude Debussy credited his success as a composer to his encounter with a Javanese gamelan ensemble at the Paris World Exposition in 1889. He went on to compose such classics as "Clair de Lune" (from the Suite Bergamesque), the Joplin-influenced Children's Corner Suite, and the orchestral work La Mer.
  • Dukas, Paul

    Dukas, Paul (1)

    Paul Dukas (1865 - 1935). The son of a banker, Paul Dukas began composing almost by accident during a long illness when he was 14. After studying with Dubois and Guiraud, he submitted several pieces for the Prix de Rome competition; though he won second prize one year, he was dissatisfied with his progress and decided that he would be happier as a music critic. As it turned out, he was successful in that profession for most of his life, yet he did not forego composing. Indeed, though Dukas composed relatively few pieces and actually destroyed several of them himself, his works had a profound influence on the next generation of French composers.
  • Dvorák, Antonin

    Dvorák, Antonin (1)

    Antonin Dvorák (1841-1904). For many years a violist in Prague (playing under the direction of Bedrich Smetana), Antonin Dvorák was aided in his rise to fame by the German composer Johannes Brahms, who convinced his own publishers to print some of the young Czech's choral music. Dvorák was later named director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, where he would eventually write the famousNew World Symphony.
  • Franchetti, Alberto

    Franchetti, Alberto (1)

    Alberto Franchetti (1860 - 1942). Born in Italy, the composer Alberto Franchetti spent much of his life trying to compose works that wove together the completely separate magics of Meyerbeer and Wagner. That he succeeded to any extent at all is only known because Franchetti was independently wealthy; he was thus able to finance performances of his own operas - among them Asrael and Cristoforo Colombo. Unfortunately, Franchetti's talent seemed to wane in his later years, and his last works were not well received.
  • Garcia, Manuel

    Garcia, Manuel (1)

    Manuel Garcia (1805 - 1906).
  • Glazunov, Aleksandr

    Glazunov, Aleksandr (1)

    Aleksandr Konstantinovich Glazunov (1865-1936). Rimsky-Korsakov's most exceptional student (his musical memory was such that he wrote down the missing overture to Borodin's Prince Igor having heard the composer play it only once), Aleksandr Glazunov was among the most celebrated members of the "Belyayev circle." Director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory for twenty-five years, Glazunov maintained an active composing schedule despite his many other activities. He and his family were stricken by poverty after the communist revolution; eventually moving to Paris, Glazunov met with success as a conductor of his own works - usually with his adopted daughter Elena as piano soloist.
  • Glinka, Mikhail

    Glinka, Mikhail (3)

    Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857). Cloistered in the stifling home of his paternal grandmother for the first six years of his life, Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka developed both a weak constitution (he was a notorious hypochondriac) and a passion for the clangorous sound of the bells at a nearby church. Later, after his introduction to Western music, Glinka forged a strikingly original compositional style that combined Western traditions with distinctively Russian melodies and harmonies.
  • Halévy, Fromental

    Halévy, Fromental (1)

    Fromental Halévy (1799 - 1862). Son of a German Jew who changed the family name in order to conceal his roots, young Fromental Halévy entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of nine and quickly became a favorite of the institution's director, Luigi Cherubini. An instinctive and brilliant composer, Halévy won the Prix de Rome and travelled a bit before returning to Paris with ambitions as an opera composer. Though unsuccessful at first, he was granted a teaching position at the Conservatoire in 1827; at that point, his fortunes began to change: he wrote the opera Clari for Maria Malibran, and achieved genuine popular success with the comic work Le dilettante d'Avignon. Several other comedies followed, but it was his first grand opera, La juive, that brought the crowds flocking to the box office. This success was followed immediately by another - the comic opera L'éclair - and Halévy's continued popularity was assured.
  • Kalinnikov, Vasily

    Kalinnikov, Vasily (2)

    Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov (1866-1901). A singularly tragic example of towering talent razed to the ground by illness, Vasily Kalinnikov spent barely a year as associate conductor of Moscow's Italian Opera before learning that the racking cough he had tried to suppress during performances was in fact an early symptom of tuberculosis. In order to avoid infecting others, Kalinnikov resigned his post and devoted what time he had left to composition. We can only surmise what glories Kalinnikov's future might have held, but his marvellous first symphony will have to suffice as a memorial to a genius in the making but never fully made.
  • Liszt, Franz

    Liszt, Franz (1)

    Franz Liszt (1811-1886). Famous across Europe for the astounding virtuosity of his piano playing, Franz Liszt was also one of the greatest composers and arrangers of his day. A student of Carl Czerny and Antonio Salieri, Liszt tailored his music to his own pianistic skill - making his works some of the most difficult written to that time. His illegitimate daughter Cosima eventually became the devoted wife of Richard Wagner.
  • Lyadov, Anatoly

    Lyadov, Anatoly (1)

    Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov (1855 - 1914).  A student and eventual colleague of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov at St. Petersburg Conservatory, Anatoly Lyadov was quickly recognized by his elders as a brilliant new composer whose music bore a distinct nationalist character. Lyadov was handicapped, however, by an inborn indolence that ruined several of his best opportunities for advancement in his chosen field. Perhaps ironically, one of the last mistakes he made paved the way for another composer: when, in 1910, Lyadov failed to deliver a ballet score for Diaghilev, the impresario turned to a young composer who had been aching to try his hand at a ballet: Igor Stravinsky.
  • Lyapunov, Sergei

    Lyapunov, Sergei (1)

    Sergei Mikhailovich Lyapunov  (Сергей Михайлович Ляпунов) (1859 – 1924). The son of an important Russian astronomer, Sergei Lyapunov received his earliest piano lessons from his mother before turning to professionals. He studied under Tchaikovsky and Taneyev, but it was Balakirev who was to have the greatest influence on the burgeoning young composer. Already close friends, the two set out (alongside Lyadov) to collect Russian folksongs – a very early effort at ethnomusicological study. Though Balakirev knew that the timid Lyapunov was not suited to succeed him as music director at the Russian imperial chapel, he saw to it that the younger man was well looked after. Lyapunov, meanwhile, emerged as one of the greatest Russian composers of his generation; though his orchestral works betray the influence of Balakirev, his piano works manage to be strikingly original despite their deliberate echoes of Liszt.
  • Massenet, Jules

    Massenet, Jules (6)

    Jules Massenet (1842-1912). Son of a blue-collar foundry worker, Jules Massenet rose from humble beginnings to become one of France's most popular opera composers. Early in his career, he hit upon a technique which would ensure his works' appeal; after the success of Marie-Magdaleine, Massenet penned a string of operas featuring reformed courtesans—a trend the composer's female fans adored. Privately, he confessed, "I don't believe in all that creeping-Jesus stuff, but the public likes it and we must always agree with the public." The courtesan trend ended with Thaпs; Massenet's later operas include Manon and Sapho.
  • Meyerbeer, Giacomo

    Meyerbeer, Giacomo (1)

    Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864). In his youth a renowned pianist and failed opera composer, Giacomo Meyerbeer gave up concertizing during a tour of Italy and renewed his commitment to opera. His operas - startlingly innovative works which foreshadowed the music-drama of Wagner - found great acclaim in Italy and France; attracted by the resources of the Paris Opéra, Meyerbeer moved to that city and turned out a long succession of hit operas (including Les Huguenots and L'Africaine).
  • Minkus, Ludwig

    Minkus, Ludwig (1)

    Ludwig Minkus (1826-1917). Of Czech descent, Ludwig Minkus was born in Austria but spent most of his life working as a ballet composer in Russia. Following the spectacular success of his ballet Don Quixote (which premiered at the Bolshoi in 1869), Minkus was appointed official ballet composer to the Imperial Theaters in St. Petersburg; he served in this capacity for over a decade. The success of his ballets infuriated Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, whose more experimental music frequently met with public disdain. (Rimsky-Korsakov was particularly miffed at the success of Minkus's ballet Mlada; only a year earlier, his own more adventurous work on the same subject had flopped.) Time has a way of turning the tables, though: today, Minkus is hardly remembered at all outside Russia.
  • Moniuszko, Stanislaw

    Moniuszko, Stanislaw (2)

    Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819 - 1872). The most important opera composer in nineteenth-century Poland, and a pioneer in the creation of a Polish nationalist style, Stanislaw Moniuszko began composing while studying music in Berlin. Exposure to the operas of Weber and Marschner had a profound influence on the young Moniuszko, and after composing a few comparatively slight operettas, he felt secure enough to tackle his first grand opera, Halka. The result of Moniuszko's labors was a hit of phenomenal proportions, but only after the composer had revised it repeatedly for a decade. His later operas, particularly The Haunted Manor, ran into difficulties because of their patriotic libretti; following the insurrection of 1863, Moniuszko's ideology was no longer fashionable—dooming his later work to popular and critical failure.
  • Monteverdi, Claudio

    Monteverdi, Claudio (1)

    Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Infuriating the music critics of his day by his willingness to forego Palestrinian polyphony, Claudio Monteverdi was among the first composers to embrace what became known as the seconda prattica - the emerging practices of the early Baroque period. Monteverdi's style, which incorporated a new type of recitative into certain preexisting forms, gained wide acclaim after the early performances of his opera La favola d'Orfeo.
  • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

    Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1)

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791), An astonishingly prolific composer whose life story has become fodder for countless mythmakers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the son of a court violinist who marketed him as a child prodigy. Often out of work as a result of his own brashness and other composers' jealousy, Mozart made money by accepting commissions - the last of them being the Requiem that he was attempting to complete during his final illness. (Legend and Hollywood to the contrary, Mozart died of kidney disease.)
  • Mussorgsky, Modest

    Mussorgsky, Modest (2)

    Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839-1881). A cosmopolitan dandy, confirmed alcoholic, and member of the renowned "Mighty Five," Modest Mussorgsky left behind a large number of unfinished works (including the instrumental piece Night on Bald Mountain) that were later completed by his associates. His popular reputation rests mainly on the opera Boris Godunov and the piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition (which was arranged for orchestra by Maurice Ravel in 1922).
  • Offenbach, Jacques

    Offenbach, Jacques (1)

    Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880). The son of a German cantor, Jacques Offenbach went on to become the king of French operetta, penning such works as Orphée aux Enfers and La Belle Hélène for a delighted audience of Parisians. In all, Offenbach composed over 100 operettas, many of which were staged in his own theater, the Bouffe-Parisiens. Offenbach never lived to complete Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann) - his magnum opus and the only grand opera he ever wrote.
  • Puccini, Giacomo

    Puccini, Giacomo (1)

    Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924). Descended from a family of forgotten composers, Giacomo Puccini wrote his first successful opera while still a student at the Milan Conservatory. Within fifteen years, he had composed a long string of masterworks, including Manon Lescaut, La Bohиme, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly. Puccini died of cancer before completing his final opera, Turandot.
  • Rachmaninov, Sergey

    Rachmaninov, Sergey (2)

    Sergey Vassilievich Rachmaninov (1873 - 1943). Derided by critics of his own era for adhering to a staunchly Romantic musical aesthetic, Sergei Rachmaninoff nevertheless became one of the most popular and respected composers of all time. Known primarily for his piano works (particularly the second and third concertos), Rachmaninoff was also a world-class pianist whose recordings are still widely available.
  • Rameau, Jean-Philippe

    Rameau, Jean-Philippe (1)

    Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). The only major composer in history to gain fame as a musical theorist before establishing himself as a composer, Jean-Philippe Rameau is credited with establishing the theoretical concepts behind tonal harmony in his Treatise on Harmony Reduced to Its Natural Principles. A composer of operas (Castor et Pollux) and chamber pieces alike, Rameau was seen as something of a rival to Jean-Baptiste Lully.
  • Ravel, Maurice

    Ravel, Maurice (1)

    Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). Composer of operas (L'Heure espagnole), orchestral pieces (Boléro), and chamber music, Maurice Ravel's career was cut short by an automobile accident in 1932 that left him permanently brain-damaged and unable to concentrate. When he died five years later, Ravel was famous not only for his own works but also for his superb orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky's piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai

    Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai (14)

    Nikolai Andreievich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908). It was only after becoming a professor of music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory that Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov realized it would behoove him to learn some music theory. Once his studies were finished, he pushed his newfound learning on the rest of the "Mighty Five" - even posthumously "editing" his friends' works to bring them into accord with "the rules." Rimsky-Korsakov is best-remembered for his own works, which include Scheherezade and Capriccio espaсol.
  • Rossini, Gioacchino

    Rossini, Gioacchino (1)

    Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868).  A lazy student who charmed his elders with a beautiful soprano voice, young Gioacchino Rossini was temporarily out of luck when he reached puberty. Undaunted, he switched to conducting and composing; he would eventually write more than forty operas - including Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), La cenerentola (Cinderella), and Guillaume Tell (William Tell). Rossini wrote many of these operas for his wife, the contralto Isabella Colbran; together, the pair revolutionized the art of singing.
  • Rubinstein, Anton

    Rubinstein, Anton (2)

    Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein (1829 - 1894). One of the greatest Russian pianists of the nineteenth century, Anton Rubinstein was also a phenomenally prolific composer capable of dashing off whole volumes of music in a breathtakingly short period of time. Unfortunately, Rubinstein's works were not popular in his own day, owing to his inability to assimilate the quirks of Russian nationalism into his own musical style. Oddly enough, Rubinstein's greatest contributions to musical life in Russia had nothing to do with performing or composing: he was a co-founder of the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music, and served two terms as its director.
  • Saint-Saëns, Camille

    Saint-Saëns, Camille (1)

    Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921). Despite having been branded with the title "the greatest second-rate composer who ever lived," Camille Saint-Saëns is today ranked among the greats, and his works are performed frequently. An outspoken opponent of the impressionist techniques employed by Debussy, Saint-Saëns composed in a much more Romantic idiom; his works include the symphonic tone poem Danse macabre and the opera Samson et Dalila.
  • Sauret, Emile

    Sauret, Emile (1)

    Emile Sauret (1852 - 1920). No one seems to sure just where Emile Sauret learned to play the violin - differing accounts list Beriot, Vieuxtemps, and Wieniawski as possible teachers - but everyone agrees that his instructors did a fine job. Sauret was already a renowned performer at the age of seven, and the time he spent in advanced study only made him more so. His concert tours brought him worldwide acclaim (especially in the United States), and in between trips he taught at conservatories in Berlin, London, and Stockholm. His compositions - mainly violin works - grew out of his fondness for post-Romantic and Modernist music.
  • Schreker, Franz

    Schreker, Franz (1)

    Franz Schreker (1878 - 1934). Son of an itinerant Jewish photographer, Franz Schreker graduated from the Vienna Conservatory in 1900 and promptly began seeking employment in an opera house. When he was hired, he wondered why he'd bothered - he found the work boring and singularly unsuited to his temperament. Quitting his job, Schreker founded the Vienna Philharmonic Chorus and hired himself as its conductor. The ensemble had remarkable success with modern works, and it premiered several important compositions (including Schoenberg's Gurrelieder). Schreker also concentrated on composing, and his opera Der ferne Klang was a smash hit when it premiered in 1912. Several other remarkable triumphs followed, and he was eventually named director of the Berlin Hochschule für Musik - an institution he remade in his own image. Sadly, the combined pressures of the German depression and the National Socialist movement brought Schreker's career crashing down in the early 1930s, and he succumbed to a stroke soon thereafter.
  • Scriabin, Aleksandr

    Scriabin, Aleksandr (1)

    Aleksandr Nikolayevich Scriabin (1872 - 1915). Known for his brilliantly unorthodox piano writing, Aleksandr Scriabin was interested for many years in using music to convey theosophical and mystical ideas. His love life was intimately connected with his composition; many of his piano pieces were written during his courtship of and marriage to the pianist Vera Isakovich. He later abandoned her and began a relationship with Tatiana Schloezer, who wrote program notes for many of his orchestral pieces.
  • Taneyev, Sergei

    Taneyev, Sergei (5)

    Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev (1856-1915). A close friend of both Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy (and the object of unrequited infatuation from Mrs. Tolstoy), Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev is notable among Russian composers for his refusal to follow the nationalist traditions of the "Mighty Five." Initially known only as a performer - he premiered most of Tchaikovsky's piano concerti - Taneyev kept his composing a secret from even his closest friends for many years. His works, which include the massive opera Oresteya, are notable for their structural complexities and extended contrapuntal passages.
  • Tausig, Carl

    Tausig, Carl (1)

    Carl Tausig (1841-1871). One of Franz Liszt's first and best piano students, Carl Tausig made his performing debut in 1858 to a great lack of acclaim. Critics were impressed by the young man's playing, but his grotesque swooping and posturing at the keyboard led them to suggest that Tausig would be a wonderful musician once he got through his Sturm und Drang period. The critics, for once, were right; Tausig's later performing style—which won him great acclaim—was characterized by flawless technique coupled with assiduous attempts to avoid showing physical strain. The physical strain Tausig was hiding must have been considerable: a heavy performing and composing schedule took a startling toll, and he died of typhoid fever before his thirtieth birthday.
  • Tchaikovsky, Petr

    Tchaikovsky, Petr (11)

    Piotr Il'ych Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), A morbid and frequently depressed man who contemplated suicide a number of times, Piotr Il'ych Tchaikovsky was one of the most beloved composers of his or any other day. In addition to the frequently-performed ballets Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky composed several concertos and operas, six symphonies, and numerous short pieces.
  • Thalberg, Sigismond

    Thalberg, Sigismond (4)

    Sigismond Thalberg (1812-1871). A towering figure among the virtuoso pianists of the nineteenth century, Sigismond Thalberg was (and is) rumored to be the illegitimate son of a nobleborn but unmarried couple. According to legend, the nobles foisted the child off on a friend rather than open themselves up to scandal. At any rate, Thalberg left his roots behind him, becoming a pianist of such great skill that his musical duel with Liszt resulted in a draw. Thalberg was also famous for the many flashy fantasias he wrote on themes from other composers' operas. These were more successful than his attempts at original composition; for one thing, they showed off his ability to create beautiful phrasing on the piano even during passages of wild and virtuosic fancy.
  • Wurm, Wilhelm

    Wurm, Wilhelm (1)

    Wilhelm Wurm (1826 - 1904).
  • Zeller, Carl

    Zeller, Carl (1)

    Carl Zeller (1842 - 1898). As a boy, Carl Zeller was an almost ludicrously promising musician: he had a superb singing voice, and could play several instruments brilliantly. However, realizing that finding work as a musician would be difficult at best, he obtained a doctorate in law and joined the German Ministry of Education and Culture. Zeller made a point of finding time to compose, and his operetta Der Vogelhandler was one of the most popular Viennese stage works of the 1890s. Unfortunately, legal troubles derailed Zeller's career at the ministry, and he sank slowly into insanity.