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Frøhlich, Johannes Frederik

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Frøhlich, Johannes Frederik

(b Copenhagen, 21 Aug 1806; d Copenhagen, 21 May 1860). Danish composer, violinist and conductor of German descent. He studied the piano, the violin and the flute (début in 1812). From 1821 he was engaged by the Royal Theatre, first as an orchestral violinist, while studying with the Kapellmeister Claus Schall; his public début as a violinist was in 1824 and later he was well known as a quartet player. He became the theatre’s chorus master in 1827. From 1829 to 1831 he made a study tour of Germany, Paris and Italy, having already made a name as a composer of string quartets and overtures. When Schall retired in 1834, Frøhlich was one of three alternating conductors chosen to succeed him; later he conducted all the opera performances. He was a director of the Musikforening from its founding in 1836 until 1841 and chairman in 1836–7. He went on leave to Italy in 1838 to recover from a street accident and a stroke. On his return he wrote the music for some of Bournonville’s ballets, but ill-health forced him to resign his post at the theatre in 1844; afterwards he composed little.

Frøhlich’s works are chiefly instrumental and his style was strongly influenced by Mozart, Rossini, Weyse and Kuhlau. An autograph chronological list of his compositions, giving 59 opus numbers, shows that about a third of his works, mostly for flute or violin, are lost. His Symphony in E op.33, completed in 1830 in Rome, marked a revival of Danish interest in the genre, following 30 years in which the overture was so highly favoured that only two symphonies were composed by Danes (Krossing in 1811 and Gerson in 1813–17) since C.E.F. Weyse's symphonies (1795–9). His orchestration, influenced by Kuhlau, is individual in its treatment of the wind, especially the horns. Other characteristics of his music are its lively rhythms and motivic concentration. He used popular ballads and folktunes in some of his ballet scores, while other works such as Erik Menveds barndom (‘Menved’s Childhood’) were partly inspired by Danish medieval history. One of that ballet’s procession scenes was later arranged (by Frøhlich and others) as the Riberhusmarch, and became one of the most popular Danish marches.


printed works published in Copenhagen; MSS in DK-Kk


Ballets: Tyrolerne [The Tyroleans], op.43, 1835, excerpts, arr. pf (n.d.); Valdemar, op.44, 1835, excerpts, arr. pf (n.d.); Herthas offer [Hertha’s Sacrifice], 1838; Festen i Albano, op.47, 1839, arr. pf (n.d.); Faedrelandets muser, op.48, 1840; Erik Menveds barndom [Menved’s Childhood], op.51, 1843, excerpts, arr. pf (1880); Raffaello, op.52, 1845

Vaudevilles [collab. Johanne Luise Heiberg]: En søndag paa Amager, op.54, 1848, excerpts, arr. pf (n.d.); Abekatten [The Monkey], op.55, 1849, excerpts, arr. pf (n.d.); En sommeraften [A Summer Evening], op.59, 1853

Other works: Natten før brylluppet [The Wedding Night], Spl, op.25, 1829; Borgfogedens bryllup [The Castellan’s Wedding], incid music, 1835


With vn solo: 4 concs., a, op.3, 1825, E, op.7, 1825, d, op.26, 1829, inc., E, op.30, 1829–30; 2 concertinos, d, op.14, 1826, g, op.20, 1827, lost; Introduction og polonaise, B, op.6, 1825–9, as op.2 with acc. arr. pf (n.d.); Divertissement, op.9, 1825–8; Introduction et variations sur un thème de Rossini, a, op.16, c1826; Potpourri, on themes from Kuhlau’s Lulu, op.23, c1828; Introduction et rondo, op.29, 1830; Souvenir de Rome, E, op.31, 1830; Introduction et polonaise, A, op.34, 1831; Potpourri, on themes from Auber’s La muette de Portici, op.37, c1831

Other works: Sym., E, op.33, 1830; 5 ovs., Kong Salomon og Jørgen Hattemager, op.10, 1825, E, op.11, 1825, d, op.21, 1827, Frejas alter, op.22, 1828 [rev. as ov. to Borgfogedens bryllup, 1835], Majgildet, op.39, 1832, ed. (1958); Introduction og rondo, solo hn, op.24, 1829, lost; 11 other works, some with solo inst, 7 lost

other works

Chbr: 4 str qts, d, op.1, 1823 (n.d.), A, op.2, c1823, b, op.15, c1826, lost, A, op.17, 1827; 2 potpourris, hn, pf, opp.8, 12, 1825; 2 qts, 4 hn, op.19, 1827, 1830; 2 fl sonatas, C, op.27, 1829, a, n.d.; Marsch og jagtstykke, 9 hn, op.40, 1832; Introduction et variations, A, vn, str qt, op.41, c1832; Duet, C, 2 fl, op.53, 1847; 7 other works, 5 lost

Other works: 2 cants., op.49, 1840, op.50, 1841; numerous choruses, unacc./pf acc., mostly for male vv; 2 pf pieces; inst canons


DBL (E. Abrahamsen)

V.C. Ravn: Biography in J.F. Fröhlich: Udvalg af musiken til Erik Menveds barndom (Copenhagen, 1880)

S. Lunn: ‘Frøhlichs Symfoni i Es dur’, DMt, xv (1940), 156–61

S. Lunn: ‘Lumbye, Frøhlich og Grieg’, DMt, xix (1944), 145–8

K. Jeppesen: ‘Et nodefund paa konservatoriet’, DMt, xx (1945), 41–5, 67–72


Fröhlich, (Franz) Joseph

(b Würzburg, 28 May 1780; d Würzburg, 5 Jan 1862). German teacher, musical organizer, critic, theorist, conductor and composer. He studied music at the student institute of the Juliusspital in Würzburg, and studied law and philosophy at the university there. In 1801 he began his career as a violinist in the prince-bishop’s court orchestra. He also founded the Akademische Bande, a student choral and orchestral group, which in 1804 became the Akademisches Musikinstitut and was made part of the university, thus becoming the basis of the first state music school in Germany. His teaching and organizational work was of the highest importance and encompassed several disciplines and activities. He became reader in aesthetics in 1812, reader in pedagogical studies in 1819 and professor in 1821. In 1820 a singing school was established as part of the institute. He also conducted important historical concerts for King Ludwig I in 1825, 1834 and 1840. Fröhlich retired from conducting the orchestra in 1844, from teaching in 1854 and from directing the institute in 1858.

Although he composed a number of original works, including church music, symphonic music, an unperformed opera Scipio (1818), songs and much chamber and piano music, it is for his teaching manuals and theoretical and critical writings that Fröhlich is renowned. As a theorist he was thorough and above all practical in his approach; as a teacher he demanded that theory and practice should go hand in hand; as a critic, especially for the journal Caecilia, he showed an alert understanding of the music of his day, including the late works of Beethoven. His biography of the Abbé Vogler is impartial, despite Fröhlich’s personal esteem for Vogler. Fröhlich was also an important contributor to Ersch and Gruber’s encyclopedia (above all, he wrote the entry for Haydn); in his last years he had begun work on a history of early music. His Musikschule included performance instructions for all instruments available in his day.


Vollständige theoretisch-praktische Musikschule (Bonn, 1810–11)

Systematischer Unterricht zum Erlernen und Behandeln der Singkunst überhaupt (Würzburg, 1822–9)

Biographie des grossen Tonkünstlers Abt Georg Vogler (Würzburg, 1845)

Beiträge zur Geschichte der Musik (Würzburg, 1868–74)

Numerous articles in AMZ, Aurora, Caecilia and other journals


NDB (H. Beck)

K. Kliebert: ‘Festrede anlässlich des 100. Geburtstages Fröhlichs’, 5. Jahresbericht der Kgl. Musikschule Würzburg, v (1880), suppl.

O. Kaul: ‘Joseph Fröhlich’, Hundert Jahre bayerisch: ein Festbuch (Würzburg, 1914), 265–98

M. Meyer-Olbersleben: ‘Joseph Fröhlich’, Lebensläufe aus Franken, ed. A. Chroust, ii (Würzburg, 1922), 133–8

H. Unverricht: ‘Franz Joseph Fröhlich als Musikhistoriker und Musikschriftsteller’, Musik in Bayern, xxii (1981), 151–62

H. Unverricht: ‘Die Instrumentationsangaben von (Franz) Joseph Fröhlich in Würzburg. Ein Beitrag zur Instrumentationsslehre zur Zeit der Wiener Klassik’, Festschrift Heinz Becker, ed. J. Schläder and R. Quandt (Laaber, 1982), 351–7

L. Meierott: ‘Joseph Fröhlichs Konzerte mit Aufführungsversuchen griechischer Hymnen vor Ludwig I’, Liedstudien: Wolfgang Osthoff zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. M. Just and R. Wiesand (Tutzing, 1989), 31–46

M. Angerer: ‘Joseph Fröhlichs vergessene Beiträge zur Ästhetik der Instrumentalmusik’, Die Instrumentalmusik (Struktur – Funktion – Ästhetik) …: Brno XXVI 1991, 29–39


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