Christoph Ernst Friedrich Weyse

composer
1774
1842
Weyse is one of the pillars of Danish musical culture, He was born in the Duchy of Holstein, which was then German, came to Copenhagen at the age of 15 to become a pupil of the similarly German-born conductor J.A.P. Schulz. In Copenhagen he became the organist for the church of the German community, and himself began composing. Inspired by Danish performances of Haydn's and Mozart's symphonies, Weyse wrote the first Danish symphonies in the 1790s - seven in all. However, they never found a place of honour in the Danish concert repertoire, and a true Danish symphonic tradition only came later. Over the next few years Weyse was completely unproductive, dismayed by an unrequited love affair. After the break he picked up his career again and composed Singspiele, cantatas and songs. He received the highest official recognition, became the organist at Copenhagen Cathedral and was appointed court composer. Weyse remained conservatively true to his Mozartean Vienna Classicism, but cultivated it to perfection. With his vocal works - especially songs, hymns and Singspiele - he holds a place as the first significant composer in Denmark with a truly national attitude to his art. Weyse's virtuoso works for piano, like his symphonies, have on the other hand lingered somewhat in the shadows.