A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Hofmann, Heinrich

1505562A Dictionary of Music and Musicians — Hofmann, HeinrichJ. A. Fuller-Maitland


HOFMANN, Heinrich Karl Johann, born Jan. 13, 1842, in Berlin, was a chorister in the Domchor at nine years old, and at fifteen entered Kullak's academy, studying the piano with that master, and composition under Dehn and Wuerst. For some years after leaving this institution he played in public and gave lessons. His earliest compositions were pianoforte pieces, but he first came before the public as a composer with his comic opera, 'Cartouche,' op. 7, produced 1869, and performed successfully in several places. In 1873 the production of his 'Hungarian Suite,' op. 16, for orchestra, obtained such renown that he determined to devote himself thenceforth to composition alone. In the next year his 'Frithiof' symphony, op. 22, was brought out with extraordinary success at one of Bilse's concerts in Berlin, and rapidly became known all over Germany; in 1875 his cantata, 'Die schöne Melusine' op. 30, gained a similar success, and since then he has held a position equalled, in respect of immediate popularity, by scarcely any living composer. Whether his fame will ultimately prove enduring, is not to be predicted; but it is certain that most of his productions have in them a superficiality of style which makes their duration exceedingly problematical. In 1882 he was made a member of the Berlin Academy. Beside the works we have mentioned, the following are the most important of his productions:—'Nornengesang,' for solos, female chorus, and orchestra, op. 21; two orchestral suites, op. 16 and 68; string sextet, op. 25; violoncello concerto, op. 31; trio, op. 18; quartet, for piano and strings; and lastly, the operas 'Armin' (produced at Dresden 1877), 'Aennchen von Tharau,' 'Wilhelm von Oranien,' (3 acts, op. 56), the words of the two first by Felix Dahn, and 'Donna Diana' (op. 75, Berlin, Nov. 13, 1886). Among his most recent compositions are a Liederspiel (op. 84) for solo quartet with PF. accompaniment, entitled 'Lenz und Liebe,' a set of songs for baritone and orchestra, 'Die Lieder des Troubadours Raoul' (op. 89), and 'Harald's Brautfahrt' for baritone solo, male chorus, and orchestra (op. 90). An orchestral suite, 'Im Schlosshof,' was lately given at Breslau. Many concerted vocal works songs, duets, and pianoforte pieces have also been published.
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