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A Concise Biographical Dictionary of Noted Composers Who Have Written Music in Lighter Vein. The Salon, The Dance, The Operetta.

The composer who has not written music in lighter vein is to be pitied. Greatness does not mean sombreness. Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Wagner and even Brahms have been responsible for some of the merriest music ever written. Whether it be a “hunt for a Lost Groschen” a “Gipsy Rondo,” the capers of Figaro, or a rolicking Hungarian dance the masters have all shown us very plainly that they can laugh and joke as well as cry and frown.

There are, however, composers who have given the world music which is designed to delight as well as to appeal to their musical artistic sensibilities. It has been exceedingly hard to make a list of this kind, for so many of the great masters have contributed to the merry side of music that it was difficult to know where to draw the line. Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and Tchaikowsky have written some of the happiest music ever penned. Again there are certain names in the following list that may seem incongruous beside certain others. Chaminade, for instance who has written some of the most exquisite, most delicate, most individual piano pieces in all the literature of the piano looks strange beside such an obviously commercial composer as Gobbaerts, who is admitted to this list because of his enormously popular teaching pieces. There were other composers of purely pedagogical pieces who have been omitted because their works were not designed primarily to entertain. However, the Etude reader will prize this list because much of the information is not to be found in the ordinary biographical dictionary and it is information of much more daily usefulness than three-fourths of that contained in many large, expensive and learned works.


Albeniz, Isaac. Born Camprodon, Spain, 1861; died Cambo Les Bains, France, 1909. Pupil of Liszt, Jadassohn, Marmontel and Reinecke. Composed operettas, a symphonic poem, and many piano pieces, including a well known Tango in D.

d’Albert, Charles. Born Altona, Germany, 1809; died 1860. Father of the celebrated pianist. Composed much dance music, including a popular quadrille.

Ascher, Joseph. Born Groningen, Holland, 1829; died London, 1869. Best known, perhaps by his song, Alice, Where Art Thou, but also wrote a very large number of showy pianoforte pieces.

Atherton, Frank P. Born Virden, Ill., 1868; died 1911. Fine teacher and performer on violin and piano. Served in the Spanish-American war. Among his favorite compositions may be mentioned Crown of Triumph Military March, Morris Dance, Sun Shower, etc.

Auber, Daniel François Esprit. Born Caen, France, 1782; died Paris, 1871. Composer of many brilliant light operas, the best known of which are Masaniello and Fra Diavolo. Followed Cherubini as director of the Paris Conservatory.

Audran, Edmond. Born Lyons, France. 1842; died Tierceville, 1901. Composer of light operas, including Olivette, La Mascotte and La Poupee.

Bachmann, Georges. Born about 1848; died Paris, 1894. Wrote many piano pieces, the most successful of which is Les Sylphes.

Badarczevska, Tekla. Warsaw, 1838-62. Wrote many piano pieces, of which The Maiden’s Prayer is best known.

Balfe, Michael William. Born Dublin, 1808; died Rowney Abbey. England, 1870. Wrote many operas, of which The Bohemian Girl is best known. Also wrote songs and pianoforte pieces.

Baumfelder, Friedrich. Dresden, 1836. Contemporary composer of favorite piano pieces, the best known of which and the most popular are Peasant Dance and Rondo Mignon.

Behr, Franz. Born Lubtheen, Mechlenburg, 1837; died 1898. Composer of many popular piano pieces, mostly published under various pseudonyms.

Bendel, Franz. Born Schönlinde, Bohemia, 1833; died Berlin, 1874. Pupil of Proksch and Liszt; visited America as pianist for Peace Jubilee. Composed a concerto, many etudes and numerous piano pieces, the most popular of which are probably By Moonlight, Am Genfen See and Dornroschen.

Bishop, Sir Henry Rowley. London, 1786-1855. Composer of operas and much popular music. Best known as the composer of the music to Home, Sweet Home.

Blon, Franz von. Born Berlin, 1861. Contemporary composer of opera and other music. Has written a number of excellent piano pieces, including Serenade D’Amour, When Flowers Bloom, With Courage and Strength, Emperor March.

Blumenschein, William Leonard. Born Brensbach, near Darmstadt, 1849. Active musician who has held prominent positions. Has composed many popular pieces, including Castanets, Fleurette, Ever True, Good Night, Dear Heart.

Bohm, Carl. Born Berlin, 1844. Contemporary composer of a large number of popular songs and pianoforte pieces. Among the songs the best known is Still wie die Nacht; among piano pieces, Murmuring Spring, Polacca Brillante, By the Mountain Spring.

Boieldieu, Francesco Adrien. Born Rouen 1775; died Jarcy, 1834. One of the most famous of French composers, whose light opera La Dame Blanche is typical of his melodious gifts.

Borowski, Felix. Born Burton, England, 1872. Contemporary composer, critic and teacher of Polish descent, at present located in Chicago. His compositions include the famous Adoration for violin, and his popular Mazurka No. 2 in C Minor, as well as many favorite songs, etc.

Braga, Gaetano. Born Giulianova, 1829; died Milan, 1907. Famous ‘cellist, who lived and played in many capitals. Was a friend of Rossini. Best remembered by his Angel’s Serenade.

Bucalossi, Ernest. Contemporary composer well known in England. Composed the well known La Gitana waltz. Studied at the Royal Academy of Music in 1881.

Carreño, Teresa. Born Caracas, Venezuela, 1853. While especially noted as a piano virtuoso, Mme. Carreño has composed some delightful piano pieces, including Basket of Flowers, etc.

Cellier, Alfred. London, 1844-91. Wrote several tuneful and successful popular operas, the best known of which is Dorothy.

Chabrier, Alexis Emmanuel. Born Ambert, France, 1841; died Paris, 1894. Famous composer of serious music, who also wrote operettas, piano pieces, etc. The best known of his piano pieces is probably the piano arrangement of his orchestral Rhapsody, Espana.

Chaminade, Cecile. Born Paris, 1861. Composer of distinguished ability. While she has confined herself mostly to songs and piano music of a more or less “intimate” nature, her compositions are always interesting alike for the melodiousness and for their original harmonic and rhythmic treatment. The best known of her piano pieces are The Scarf Dance, La Lisonjera and Air de Ballet.

Cramer, Johann Baptist. Born Mannheim, 1771; died London, 1858. Unlike Clementi he wrote piano pieces designed to entertain as well as to instruct. His reputation, however, rests solidly on his pedagogical works.

Czerny, Carl. Vienna. 1791-1857. While best known for his innumerable studies, he wrote also a number of operatic transcriptions, and indeed much music in all forms. Very little of his music, except the invaluable technical studies, is ever heard.

Czibuljka, Alphons. Born Szege-Várallya, 1842; died Vienna, 1894. Conductor and military bandmaster. Composed a number of works, including six operettas, much dance music and piano music. He is perhaps best remembered by Love’s Dream After the Ball and Gavotte Stephanie.

Dancla, Jean Baptiste Charles. Born Bagnères, 1817: died Tunis, 1907. Famous violinist, who composed a number of popular pieces and also transcribed much operatic music for his instrument.

Délibes, Clément Philibert Léo. Born St. Germain du Val, 1826; died Paris, 1891. Composer of ballets (Coppélia, Lakmé, Sylvia, etc.), melodious, sparkling and brilliantly orchestrated.

Denza, Luigi. Born Castellammare di Strabbia, 1846. Composer of many popular songs, including Funiculi-Funicula. Now a well known voice teacher in London.

Doehler, Theodor. Born Naples, 1814; died Florence, 1856. Distinguished pianist and composer of much showy piano music. The best known of his pieces is the Nocturne in D flat (known as Bleeding Heart).

Dorn, Eduard. See Röckel, Joseph Leopold.

Dreyshock, Alexander. Born Zak, Bohemia, 1818; died Venice, 1869. Famous virtuoso, composer of much piano music, including the well known Gavotte.

Eggeling, Georg. Born Braunschweig, Germany, 1866. Excellent teacher and composer, living in Berlin. Among his best known pieces may be mentioned Spanish Dance, To Springtime and Congratulations.

Egghard, Julius (Pseudonym of Count Hardegen). Vienna, 1834-67. Pupil of Czerny, and composer of many popular piano pieces, including Blonde, Brunette, Jet d’ Eau.

Engelmann, Hans. Born Berlin, Germany, 1872; died Philadelphia, Pa., 1914. One of the most prolific composers of popular piano pieces that ever lived. Wrote over 3,000 pieces, the most noted of which is The Melody of Love.

Field, John. Born Dublin, 1782; died Moscow, 1837. Composed music in many forms, but is chiefly noted for having been the first to write “nocturnes.” Chopin afterwards eclipsed him in this style of piece, but to Field belongs the honor of being the pioneer.

Fink, Gottfried W. Thuringia, Germany, 1783-1846. Director, composer and editor of a famous German musical magazine. His old-fashioned views prompted Schumann to found an opposition paper. Fink composed piano pieces, violin pieces, ballads and songs, some of which are still popular.

Ganne, Louis G. Born 1862. Studied at the Paris Conservatoire. Wrote comic operas and many ballets, operettas, piano pieces, etc.

Geibel, Adam. Born Neuenheim, near Frankfort, Germany. Famous blind composer and lecturer, who received his musical training in Philadelphia. Has written much sacred music and hymns, but has also written tuneful piano pieces, among which may be mentioned Up-to-Date March, Floating Song and the popular song Kentucky Babe.

Genée, Franz Friedrich Richard. Born Danzig. 1823; died Baden, near Vienna, 1895. Composer of light opera and clever writer of librettos; lived principally in Vienna.

German, Edward (James F. German-Jones). Born Whitchurch, England, 1862. Composer of much serious music, who has also written charming light operas, etc. Is best known by his Three Dances from Henry VIII.

Gillet, Ernest (Vital Louis). Born Batignolles, France, 1856. Famous ‘cellist, who wrote much dance music, including the popular Loin du Bal.

Gobbaerts, J. L. (Streabbog). Born Antwerp, 1835; died 1886. Composed about 1,200 light piano pieces, the best known of which are Tramway Galop, Marche Triomphale, Morning Prayer, Little Fairy and Romance Sans Paroles. His familiar pseudonym “Streabbog” is “Gobbaerts” spelled backwards.

Godard, Benjamin L. P. Born Paris, 1849; died Cannes, 1895. A serious composer of opera and orchestral music. Also wrote many delightful piano pieces, including the well known Second Mazurka.

Goria, Alexandre E. Paris, 1823-60. Composer of popular piano pieces, fantasias, operatic transcriptions, etc. His best known works are Etude de Concert and Belisano.

Gottschalk, Louis Moreau. Born New Orleans, 1829; died Rio de Janeiro. 1869. First great American pianist. He wrote much for his instrument, the best known pieces being The Last Hope and The Dying Poet.

Gurlitt, Cornelius. Altona, Germany, 1820-1901. Composed operas and chamber music, but is chiefly known as a writer of instructive piano piece and studies.

Heins, Carl. Born Tangermünde, Germany, 1859. Distinguished director, teacher and composer, who has written many songs and piano pieces; among the latter may be mentioned What the Swallow Sang, Dancing Girl and Rose Fay.

Heller, Stephen. Born Pesth, 1815; died Paris, 1888. Famous virtuoso, who wrote many excellent piano studies and pieces. Among the pieces may be mentioned Promenades d’un solitaire and Nuits blanches. His most familiar work, however, is the Tarantelle.

Henselt, Adolf von. Born Schwabach, Bavaria, 1814; died Warmbrunn, Silesia, 1889). Brilliant piano virtuoso and composer of excellent etudes, etc. Among his more familiar pieces may be mentioned the Love Song and If I Were a Bird.

Herbert, Victor. Born Dublin, 1850. Has been described as the “best American composer that ever was born in Ireland and educated in Germany.” Mr. Herbert is a grandson of the Irish novelist Samuel Lover, and has endeared himself to the American public by his tuneful light operas—and indeed by everything he has ever written. Among his operas may be mentioned Serenade, Babes in Toyland, The Madcap Duchess, Mlle. Modiste, Sweethearts, etc.

Herz, Henri. Born Vienna, 1800; died Paris, 1888. Wrote over 200 pieces, many of which were very successful; also was a distinguished pianist, but gave up concert work to establish a piano factory. Among his pieces may be mentioned Empress Henrietta and Parisienne.

Holländer, Gustav. Born Leobschütz, Upper Silesia, 1855. Distinguished violinist and composer of violin pieces and operettas. Canzonetta, Spinning Song.

Horvath, Geza. Born Komaron, Hungary, 1868. Well known teacher and composer of many tuneful pieces, including Badineri. His studies are also very popular, especially Op. 43 and 123.

Ivanovici. Roumanian composer of famous waltzes. Died 1902. Best known by Waves of the Danube and In the Heart of Poland.

Jaell, Alfred. Born Trieste, 1832; died Paris, 1882. Distinguished piano virtuoso; published waltzes, transcriptions, etc. Danse des Fées, Faust Transcription and the Third Meditation.

Kalkbrenner, Freidrich Wilhelm Michael. Born near Berlin, 1788; died Enghien, near Paris, 1849. In addition to compositions of more serious purpose, wrote many fantasias, variations, etc. The most familiar of his pieces is Introduction and Rondo.

Kéler, Béla (Albert von Kéler). Born Bartfeld, Hungary, 1820; died Wiesbaden, 1882. Famous Viennese composer and conductor, who wrote much showy, brilliant dance music. His Lustspiele Overture is very popular. Son of the Puszta is a familiar piece also.

Kern, Carl Wilhelm. Born at Schlitz, Germany. Came to the United States in 1803. Has composed a large number of tuneful songs, organ works, anthems, etc. Many of his piano pieces are very popular, the best known being Ariel, Pillow Dance and Tin Soldiers’ Parade.

Ketterer, (Nicolas) Eugène. Born Rouen, 1831; died Paris, 1870. Successful pianist and composer of light piano pieces, including Argentine Mazurka, Bonte en Train, Valse des Fleurs.

Kirchner, Theodor. Born Chemnitz; died Hamburg, 1903. Organist, teacher and composer of many piano pieces, including Album Leaf.

Koelling, Carl. Born Hamburg, 1831; died Chicago, 1914. Composed an opera entitled Schmetterlinge, which was successfully produced in Hamburg. Wrote many successful and tuneful piano pieces, including Chasse au Lion, Chasse Infernale, Whither?

Kontski, Antoine de. Born Cracow, Russia, 1817; died Ivanitshi, 1899. Distinguished pianist and composer of piano pieces, including Awakening of the Lion and Persian March.

de Koven, Reginald. Born Middletown, Conn., 1859. Has been exceptionally successful as a composer of comic opera of the better class, his most famous work being Robin Hood, which includes the notably popular song Oh, Promise Me. de Koven has a unique gift for piquant melody, varied rhythms and attractive harmonies.

Krug, Arnold. Hamburg, Germany, 1849-1904. A well-trained pianist and excellent teacher. Besides composing works for orchestra wrote some excellent piano music, such as Toy Horseman, Day in the Woods.

Kuhe, Wilhelm. Born Prague, Germany, 1823. Excellent teacher and composer of operatic fantasias and pieces such as Cryus Animam, Fen Follet, On the Sea.

Labitzky, Joseph. Born Schönfeld, Bohemia, 1802; died Carlsbad, 1881. Well trained musician, leader of an orchestra with which he traveled extensively. Composed much dance music in the Johann Strauss style. Among his compositions may be mentioned Herd Girl’s Dream, At the Mountain Inn.

Lack, (Marie) Théodore. Born Quimper, France, 1846. Distinguished contemporary pianist and teacher resident in Paris. Has written much very tuneful piano music that is exceedingly popular. Among his best known pieces may be mentioned Idilio, Cabaletta, Song of the Brook, Mazovia.

Lange, Gustav. Born Schwerstedt, Germany, 1830; died Wernigerode, 1889. Wrote a large number of popular piano pieces, among which may be mentioned The Flower Song, Pure as Snow and Secret Love.

Lanner, Joseph (Franz Karl). Born Oberdöbling, near Vienna, 1801; died there 1843. Largely self-taught, he organized a quartet in which Johann Strauss played viola; later he organized an orchestra for which he wrote much dance music of the kind for which Vienna is famous. Morning Star Waltz, Evening Star Waltz, Kiss Waltz are his best known pieces.

Lazarus, Gustav. Born Cologne, Germany, 1861. Well known teacher and composer of many works in all forms. Among his piano pieces may be mentioned Hunting Piece and Festal March.

Lefébure-Wély, Louis James Alfred. Paris, 1817-69. One of the most distinguished French organists, especially noted for his improvisations. His best known organ piece is Monastery Bells, which still retains much popularity. Titania and Hymn of Nuns are also much liked.

Lecocq, Alexander Charles. Born Paris, 1832. Excellent composer of light opera; he wrote over 40 comic operas, of which the best known are La fille de Mme. Angot and Giroflé-Girofla.

Leschetizky, Theodor. Born Lancut, Austria, 1830. A pupil of Czerny and the most noted piano teacher of the day. His pedagogical work has overshadowed his work as a composer, but he has written some delightful piano music, among his pieces being Two Larks, Caprice, Mazurka Emin and Jen des Ondes.

Leybach, Ignace. Born Gamgsheim, Germany, 1817; died Toulouse, France, 1891. Pupil of Chopin, and also a fine organist. Wrote much piano music, his best known pieces being the Fifth Nocturne, Theme, Allemande, Faust.

(This Dictionary will be continued in the next issue)

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