Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Person details

Louis Spohr


Spohr, Louis (1784-1859). German composer, violinist, conductor and violin teacher. Widely regarded during the first third of the nineteenth century throughout Europe as one of the leading violinist and composers of the day. Immensely gifted as a virtuoso, his lyrical and expressive playing stood as a foil to many of his more flamboyant contemporaries. As a composer, for a portion of his career, his works were deemed by critics to be modernist and highly individual yet immediately accessible and appealing. His style was characterised by a fluid and slick (some might say oily) manipulation of melody, a penchant for melodic chromaticism and gently perfumed turns of harmony and tonality set amidst conventional tonal progressions, an imaginative handling of form, and a use of quasi-programmatic extra-musical references in some of his instrumental music. His output touched upon most major genres of his day. In Prague he was revered for the early part of the nineteenth century; he visited there several times. By the middle of the century performances of his works were increasingly received with indifference by Prague critics.