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June 15 composer birthday: Franz Danzi (sounds like a fashion designer…)

June 15 composer birthday: Franz Danzi (sounds like a fashion designer…) featured image

I wonder what Danzi is thinking about …

Franz Danzi was a German cellist, composer, mentor, and conductor. While he didn’t achieve long-lasting fame as a composer, he was born at an important time in music history, and associated with some of the greats that did stand the test of time. His career happened during great developments in European concert music, spanning the transition from the late Classical era to the early Romantic time, a time that inspired many of the great works that are most popular in concerts halls today, notably those of Beethoven.

When Finzi was young, he knew and was a huge fan of Mozart’s, and was working at the same time as Beethoven. Like most people, he had strong but mixed feelings about Beethoven. (It’s hard to image today, but back in the day, when classical music was all about structure, and was emotionally “in check”, and not rocking the boat too much, Beethoven came along and capsized everything). Finzi also mentored Carl Maria von Weber, and promoted his music when he could. He held several positions as Kapellmeister (the title for someone in charge of the music performed at churches – the main gig most classical composers went after, for a semblance of stability) in various cities in Germany, and worked at raising the musical establishment (then considered a menial job in the service industry) to respectability.

Despite cello being his main instrument, Danzi is mainly known for his works for wind instruments, and took pride in composing idiomatically for them. Here’s the Sinonia Concertante in B-flat major for Flute, Clarinet, and Orchestra, Op. 41.

Franz Ignaz Danzi was born June 15, 1763 in Schwetzingen, Germany, and died April 13, 1826 in Karlsruhe.

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