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The German Composer, Friedrich Burgmüller's Works and Life

Friedrich Burgmüller: Overview

  • Born: 1806 - Regensburg, Germany
  • Died: 1884 - BeaulieuFrance
  • Historical Period: Romantic 
  • Musical Media: Ballet, Keyboards, Songs 

Composer, Friedrich Burgmuller

Friedrich Burgmüller a composer is best known for the 25 Easy & Progressive Études, Op.100 (1852). Born in Germany in the year 1806, Friedrich Burgmüller had a significant body of work to his name before he passed away in Paris in the year 1874. Some of his other contributions to the Romantic era are as follows: 

  • Corbeille de roses, Op.68 (circa. 1841)
  • Murmures du Rhone, Op.66 (1853)
  • La Cachucha, Op.36 (1838)
  • Ay Chiquita (circa. 1865)
  • Three Nocturnes for guitar and cello
  • Six Mélodies gracieuses de Bellini, Op.26
  • Souvenir de Schönbrunn, Op.32 (circa. 1840)
  • L’ange consolateur
  • Le Pardon de Ploërmel
  • Souvenir de Bellini, Op.27

Friedrich Burgmüller: The Lesser Known Tune-Master

Friedrich Burgmüller’s father and brother were both musicians, with the former being a musical director at Weimer. In 1829, the young man shifted to Cassel under Moritz Hauptmann and Ludwig Spohr. His first public concert happened in 1830. Following this, in 1832, Burgmüller traveled to Paris and stayed there for the rest of his life. It was here where he adapted the Parisian styles for his music, creating a trademark compositional technique. 

Most of Burgmüller’s pieces were piano salon music with the 25 Études directed mainly at children. This was and still is crucial to the elementary education in piano, adequately combining sound quality and musical purpose. The études are known for inspiring an imaginative picture in the player’s mind, and this works wonders for young children who are newly introduced to the piano. Ballade, La Candeur, L'Arabesque, and La Chevalresque are some of the 25 Études.

Burgmüller’s compositions went beyond the piano, as he also wrote pieces which didn’t have opus numbers. These include stage works and the ballets, Lady Harriet and La Péri. Also, among the composer’s achievements lie the 18 Characteristic Studies, opus 109 and 12 pieces of opus 105, which are quite intricate and demanding. Among Opus 109’s components, lie Les Perles and l'Orage

From waltzes to nocturnes to his famous piano pieces and even a couple of ballets, Burgmuller was quite prolific in his creations. The Peasant Pas de Deux is his most performed creation and was a part of Giselle’s premiere in 1841. ‘Giselle’ was a ballet by Adolphe Adam.

Burgmüller published a number of albums in his lifetime. He attained great popularity due to the composer’s affection for Parisian tunes. L'Arabesque in A minor is one of the musician’s fastest songs in his 25 Easy & Progressive Études, Op.100, featuring an agile tempo and fast pacing. The title of the piece is derived from the Western understanding of Arabic sound. Burgmüller’s pieces are widely considered as ornate with an emphasis on decoration. His music shows tremendous passion and emotional flow. Burgmüller’s German ethnicity never hampered his Parisian influences as he was at home with the light-hearted and playful style. 

Friedrich Burgmüller never achieved the type of fame or prestige like Beethoven or Mozart. His prolific career and 25 Études, which have contributed to the education of generations of pianists, complete with the distinctly happy tone in music, have nonetheless ensured a place in history for the composer. 


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