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F.L.Ae. Kunzen

composer
1761
1817
Kunzen was born in Germany, but after several visits settled down permanently in Copenhagen in 1795. Before then he had experienced the greatest tumult of his life with the opera Holger Danske (Ogier the Dane) of 1789, which as the first major Danish opera led to vehement cultural debate. The resistance of the conservative leading critics of the day was so great that Kunzen moved to Prague, where he heard Mozart's music for the first time. On his return to Denmark he became the conductor of the Royal Danish Orchestra and made a pioneering contribution to the performance of Mozart's grand operas. Kunzen himself composed no more operas, but did write several Singspiele which consolidated the popularity of the genre in Denmark. Holger Danske is Kunzen's most important work - in its diversity and independence very modern for its age, pre-Romantic like Mozart's last works, and a watershed in Danish music. Worth singling out among Kunzen's other works are the oratorio Skabningens Halleluja (The Hallelujah of Creation), one piano sonata and two symphonies.