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  • Stephen Daltry

'A Celebration of Fritz van Brumholtz' by Sir Stephen Poultry

Today we celebrate 200 years since the death of Fritz van Brumholtz,(1752-1821) probably one of the most underrated of German composers. He wrote for a multitude of forces, except the air force. His ‘Second Piano’ Concerto was written after the first piano he ordered was never delivered, his Third was dropped by the removal men so he composed his Fourth, which was described by Beethoven no less as ‘a masterpiece from beginning to bar 2’.

His opera ‘The Crashing Boar’ , a blistering critique of a wealthy Black Forest hunting party, caused a riot at its first performance in Berlin, and Brumholtz heavily revised the work, but his retitled ‘The Royal Hunt of the Hun’ caused another riot. He withdrew the opera and himself from circulation, though the Royal Mail tried to redeliver them on several occasions.

Controversy continued; his Sextet (1810) was so rude many virtuousi refused to play it; the furious tempo of his military marches caused three bandsmen to expire during one tragic premiere.

Musicologists have long toiled over the mysterious ‘meine schone Brunhilde’, the elusive dedicatee of his vast opuses, finally revealed to be his well fed puss, German Rex, his highly intelligent and curly coated cat, who outlived him by only a few days.

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