1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ernst, Heinrich Wilhelm

ERNST, HEINRICH WILHELM (1814–1865), German violinist and composer, was born at Brünn, in Moravia, in 1814. He was educated at the Conservatorium of Vienna, studying the violin under Joseph Böhm and Joseph Mayseder, and composition under Ignaz von Seyfried. At the age of sixteen he made a concert tour in south Germany, which established his reputation as a violinist of the highest promise. In 1832 he went to Paris, where he lived for several years. During this period he formed an intimacy with Stephen Heller, which resulted in their charming joint compositions—the Pensées fugitives for piano and violin. In 1843 he paid his first visit to London. The impression which he then made as a violinist was more than confirmed in the following year, when his rare powers were recognized by the musical public. Thenceforward he visited England nearly every year, until his health broke down owing to long-continued neuralgia of a most severe kind. The last seven years of his life were spent in retirement, chiefly at Nice, where he died on the 8th of October 1865. As a violinist Ernst was distinguished by his almost unrivalled executive power, loftiness of conception, and intensely passionate expression. As a composer he wrote chiefly for his own instrument, and his Elegie and Otello Fantasia rank among the most treasured works for the violin.