A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Kreutzer, Conradin


KREUTZER, Conradin, German composer, son of a miller, born Nov. 22, 1782 [App. p.693 "1780"], at Mosskirch in Baden; chorister first in his native town, then at the Abbey of Zwiefalten, and afterwards at Scheussenried. In 1799 he went to Freiburg in Breisgau to study medicine, which he soon abandoned for music. The next 5 years he passed chiefly in Switzerland, as pianist, singer, and composer; and in 1804 arrived in Vienna. And there he took lessons from Albrechtsberger, and worked hard at composition, especially operas. His first opera was 'Conradin von Schwaben' (Stuttgart 1812), and its success gained him the post of Capellmeister to the King of Würtemburg; thence he went to Prince von Fürstenberg at Donaueschingen; but in 1822 returned to Vienna and produced 'Libussa.' At the Kärthnerthor theatre he was Capellmeister in 1825, 1829–32, and 1837–40. From 1833 to 40 he was conductor at the Josephstadt theatre, where he produced his two best works, 'Das Nachtlager in Granada' (1834) and a fairy opera 'Der Verschwender,' which have both kept the boards. At a later date he was appointed Capellmeister at Cologne, and in 1843 conducted the 43rd Festival [App. p.693 corrects to "in 1841 conducted the 23rd Festival"] of the Lower Rhine. Thence he went to Paris, and in 1846 back to Vienna. He accompanied his daughter, whom he had trained as a singer, to Riga, and there died, Dec. 14, 1849.

Kreutzer composed numerous operas; incidental music to several plays and melodramas; an oratorio, 'Die Sendung Mosis,' and other church-works; chamber and pianoforte music; Lieder, and part-songs for men's voices. Of all these, a list is given by Fétis, who speaks of a one-act drama 'Cordelia' as the most original of his works. The two operas already mentioned, and the part-songs alone have survived. In the latter, Kreutzer displays a flow of melody and good construction; they are still standard works with all the German Liedertafeln, and have taken the place of much weak sentimental rubbish. 'Der Tag des Herrn,' 'Die Kapelle,' 'Märznacht' and others are universal favourites, and models of that style of piece. Some of them are given in 'Orpheus.' As a dramatic composer, his airs are better than his ensemble pieces, graceful but wanting in passion and force. His Lieder for a single voice, though vocal and full of melody, have disappeared before the more lyrical and expressive songs of Schubert and Schumann.

[ A. M. ]