From Schütz to Orff: Germany is the land of composers

Between 1943 and 1947 the author Thomas Mann wrote a novel about the German psyche. The profession of his main character? A composer. Germany has been a focal point of music composition since the baroque period. The three Bs – Bach, Beethoven, Brahms – are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Saxony composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is one of the most influential high Romantic composers. He is still remembered around the world as a genius who created monumental music dramas.

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During the 1920s Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) symbolised everything that was progressive in German music. He explored the potential of radio, electronic music and jazz, and he was feted at the Donaueschingen Festival.

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George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) composed 42 operas and 25 oratorios including Messiah with its famous Hallelujah chorus. But he is equally well known for his Water Music and Fireworks Music, which he wrote for the British kings George I and George II.

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You just have to love him! Wolfgang Amadé Mozart (1756-1791), the composer of The Magic Flute and Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Mozart took Viennese Classicism to its height and wrote some of the most delightful melodies in the history of music.

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Even during his lifetime Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was subjected to anti-Semitic smear campaigns. The Nazis even banned his works – but they searched in vain for substitutes for his Violin Concerto and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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For many people, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was the greatest composer of all time. The St. Matthew Passion, the Brandenburg Concertos and The Well-Tempered Clavier: these and many other Bach works still provide musicians and composers with inspiration, even today.

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Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was seen as a perfectionist and excessively self-critical. A bachelor all his life, he was intent on composing music of lasting value and despised the trends of the day. He never wrote anything as popular as an opera.

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