Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich (1803-1836)

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Shortly after he took his own life at the young age of 33, Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich and his work began to be understood and appreciated at the depth that the frustrated musician had once hoped for; his tune “Wem Gott will rechte Gunst erweisen” became a well-known folk song, and he was eventually praised as one of the finest Swiss Romantics. Although he did compose several orchestral, chamber, and piano works, his most numerous were pieces for voice, of which his choral tunes were outnumbered by those for solo voice.

Trained as a lawyer, Fröhlich studied music seriously in Berlin with the composer and conductor Bernhard Klein and C.F. Zelter (one of Mendelssohn’s teachers) in 1826, with the monetary support of the government of Aarau. Despite having a few of his compositions published shortly thereafter and having gained appointments at Singakademie and the Aarau cantonal school and teachers’ college, lack of connection with and acceptance by close musical circles pushed him toward suicide, leaving his wife of four years, Ida von Klitzing, a widow in 1836. ~Meredith Gailey

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Selected Works

Chamber music

  • Quintet for Piano, 2 Violoncelli and 2 Horns (1833)
  • Quartet for piano, violin, viola and cello
  • String Quartet in F minor (1826)label-logo-cpo
  • String Quartet in G minor (1826)label-logo-suisseslabel-logo-cpo
  • String Quartet in E major (1826/27)label-logo-suisseslabel-logo-cpo
  • String Quartet in C minor (1832)label-logo-suisseslabel-logo-cpo
  • Fugue for string quartet
  • Pastoral and Rondo for Oboe and Piano (1824)
  • Sonata for Violoncello and Piano F Minor (1830)
  • Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano (1826)
  • Fantasy for violin and piano

Piano music

  • Piano Sonata in A major, op. 11 (1831)
  • Six Elegies, op. 15 (1833)
  • Waltz and ländler
  • 4-handed piano pieces

Recordings

Friedrich Theodor Froehlich: String Quartets  Fröhlich: Complete String Quartets