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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 224 pages of information about Great Violinists And Pianists.

Spohr had been two years a widower when he became enamored of one of the daughters of Court Councilor Pfeiffer.  He tells us he had long been acquainted “with the high and varied intellectual culture of the two sisters, and so I became fully resolved to sue for the hand of the elder, Marianne, whose knowledge of music and skill in pianoforte playing I had already observed when she sometimes gave her assistance at the concerts of the St. Cecilia Society.  As I had not the courage to propose to her by word of mouth, there being more than twenty years difference in our ages, I put the question to her in writing, and added, in excuse for my courtship, the assurance that I was as yet perfectly free from the infirmities of age.”  The proposition was accepted, and they were married without delay on January 3, 1836.  The bridal couple made a long journey through the principal German cities, and were universally received with great rejoicings.  Musical parties and banquets were everywhere arranged for them, at which Spohr and his young wife delighted every one by their splendid playing.  The “Historical” symphony, descriptive of the music and characteristics of different periods, was finished in 1839, and made a very favorable impression both in Germany and England.  Spohr had now become quite at home in England, where his music was much liked, and during different years went to the country, where oratorio music is more appreciated than anywhere else in the musical world, to conduct the Norwich festival.  One of his most successful compositions of this description, “The Fall of Babylon,” was written expressly for the festival of 1842.  When it was given the next year in London under Spohr’s own direction, the president of the Sacred Harmonic Society presented the composer at the close of the performance with a superb silver testimonial in the name of the society.

V.

Louis Spohr had now become one of the patriarchs of music, for his life spanned a longer arch in the history of the art than any contemporary except Cherubini.  He was seven years old when Mozart died, and before Haydn had departed from this life Spohr had already begun to acquire a name as a violinist and composer.  He lived to be the friend of Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Liszt, and Wagner.  Everywhere he was held in veneration, even by those who did not fully sympathize with his musical works, for his career had been one of great fecundity in art.  In addition to his rank as one of the few very great violin virtuosos, he had been indefatigable in the production of compositions in nearly all styles, and every country of Europe recognized his place as a musician of supereminent talent, if not of genius, one who had profoundly influenced contemporary music, even if he should not mold the art of succeeding ages.  Testimonials of admiration and respect poured in on him from every quarter.

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