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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


LITOLFF, Henry Charles
b London, 7 August 1818
d Bois-Colombes, 5 August 1891, aged seventy-two

He was the son of an Alsatian dance violinist who had settled in London. He studied music under his father until the age of twelve, and from 1830 to 1835 under Moscheles. At the age of seventeen he eloped to Gretna Green, and moved to France, where he became a concert pianist. In 1844 he went to Germany, where he taught Hans von Bulow and befriended his family. He returned to England hoping for a divorce, but he failed in this and spent a short time in prison, from which he escaped with the help of the gaoler's daughter. He then went to Holland, where he became very popular. In 1846 he made a friend of Gottfried Meyer, the music publisher. After Meyer's death in 1849 Litolff became a citizen of Brunswick; he succeeded in divorcing his wife, married Meyer's widow and took control of Meyer's publishing firm, changing its name to his own. He divorced his second wife in 1858 and went to Paris, where he settled for the rest of his life. He married twice more, but still found time to perform and conduct throughout Europe.

He wrote vocal scores for stage works:

c1847 (c29)

Die Braut von Kynast, vocal score

1871 (53)

La Boite de Pandora, vocal score

1872 (54)

Heloise et Abelard, vocal score

1874 (56)

La Fiancée du Roi de Garbe, vocal score

1886 (68)

Les Templiers, vocal score

1888 (70)

L'Escadron volant de la reine, vocal score

c1890 (c72)

Konig Lear, vocal score Five other stage works

Litolff also composed:

Four overtures and three other orchestral works

Five concertos symphoniques for piano and orchestra (No 1 lost), of which the popular Scherzo comes from No 4

Four works for violin and orchestra

A string quartet

Three piano trios

Over a hundred pieces for piano

Nineteen songs with piano

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