Cornelius, (Carl August) Peter
(Born; Mainz, 24 Dec 1824; Died; nr Copenhagen, 26 Oct 1874). German composer. Trained as actor and violinist, and friend of artists, poets and writers, he devoted himself to music from the 1840s, finding inspiration in Liszt and the New German School at Weimar in 1852. His first mature works were the lieder opp. 1 and 2 and the song cycle Trauer und Trost op.3, followed by the comic opera Der Barbier von Bagdad (1855-8); all show his literary skill, refreshing simplicity and musical independence from the Liszt circle. In Vienna (1859-65), he wrote his second opera Der Cid and enjoyed fruitful relationships with Brahms, Carl Tausig and above all Wagner, who summoned him to Munich in 1865 as his private répétiteur and teacher at the Royal School of Music. His third opera Gunlöd was never finished. He continued to write poetry and essays defending Wagner and Liszt and translated vocal works by Pergolesi, Berlioz, Liszt and others. Although he revered Wagner, he stood ethically and artistically apart, his work (especially Der Barbier) thus representing an original achievement.
© Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK
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