Franz Danzi (1763 - 1826)

Franz Danzi served as a cellist in the famous Mannheim orchestra, remaining in Mannheim when the Electoral court moved to Munich in 1778. In 1783 he took his father’s place in the Munich orchestra and there continued his career as a composer with his third German opera. Having married a singer, he enjoyed an active career in opera that led to his appointment as deputy Kapellmeister in Munich in 1798. After his wife’s death he returned to Mannheim and in 1807 was appointed Kapellmeister in Stuttgart, where he met Weber. In 1812 he moved to Karlsruhe, where again he was able to stage operas by Weber. He was, at the same time, a prolific composer in many genres.

Stage Works

Danzi wrote some 18 stage works, generally in the form of German Singspiel, with its mixture of music and spoken dialogue. Other forms used include melodrama, with its simultaneous music and speech, and grand opera in a setting of a version of the early-18th-century libretto by Apostolo Zeno, Iphigenie in Aulis.

Vocal and Choral Music

Danzi wrote sacred and secular choral music, Masses, oratorios and cantatas. His songs and canzonettas are in contemporary style but are no longer regarded as an important part of German song tradition.

Orchestral Music

In orchestral music Danzi was similarly prolific, contributing principally to the sinfonia concertante and concerto repertoire.

Chamber Music

Danzi’s chamber music includes sextets, quintets, quartets and trios, some for strings, some for wind instruments and some for a combination of the two. His duo sonatas show a similar variety in their instrumentation. These works are generally in a style that reflects his own early experience in Mannheim and the influence of his teacher Abt Vogler, with whom Weber also studied.

Piano Music

There is a smaller amount of piano music by Danzi, including a number of works for four hands.