H. C. Robbins Landon
Howard Chandler Robbins Landon was an American musicologist, journalist and broadcaster, best known for his work in rediscovering the huge body of neglected music by Haydn and in correcting misunderstandings about Mozart. The son of a musician, Landon became enthusiastic about Haydn's compositions in high school and was eager to pursue a career in Haydn scholarship, he studied with, among others, Karl Geiringer, an authority on Haydn, graduating with a music degree in 1947. He moved to Europe, he co-founded the Haydn Society in 1949, the goal of, to publish and record Haydn's works. Gaining access to archives in countries throughout Europe, he spent decades researching the life and works of Haydn, he rescued, published critical editions of, wrote books about, with the society arranged for the recording of, numerous forgotten works. He published his five-volume study, Haydn: Chronicle and Works, between 1976 and 1980. In addition to his work on Haydn and the society recorded neglected works of Mozart, he published five popular books about Mozart, dispelling myths about the composer's life.
He had written 28 books by 1996. His occasional excursions into music earlier or than Haydn and Mozart's day were criticized as less scholarly than his main work. Landon wrote for music magazines and newspapers the longest-established London paper, The Times, he was a popular broadcaster for the BBC on radio and television and was praised for his ability to enthuse general audiences with his chosen subject. From the 1970s, he was a sought-after lecturer and held appointments with colleges in the US and the UK. Landon was born in Boston, the son of William Grinnell Landon, a writer of Huguenot descent, his wife Dorothea LeBaron née Robbins, a musician, he was educated at Lenox School for Boys and Asheville School. While at the last he discovered the music of Haydn, which became his lifelong study. Y music teacher there was a guy called Mathias Cooper. I told him of my great enthusiasm that I would love to work in music, he told me that if, the case I should concentrate on Haydn. So I asked him "Why Haydn?" and he told me that Haydn needed a Gesamtausgabe.
I said, "What's a Gesamtausgabe?" He explained that it was a complete edition of a composer's works and everyone has one: Mozart, Brahms Buxtehude. But not Haydn. I asked him why and he told me that forty years ago the German publisher Breitkopf and Härtel started to collect all Haydn's works, but got bogged down, it was too expensive and nobody cared. So, what I had to do and he'd show me why. Whereupon he got out a brand new recording of Beecham conducting Symphony No 93. We listened to it and I said, "Professor, you mean there are more symphonies like this? They must be out of their minds!" He said, "Exactly!" Most of Haydn's music had been neglected for many years. In the first half of the nineteenth century Robert Schumann wrote of him, "Today it is impossible to learn anything new from him. He... has ceased to arouse any particular interest." At the end of the century, Hubert Parry said that musicians need not be ashamed of knowing only a few of Haydn's symphonies "for Haydn is scarcely himself in this most important branch of composition till this late period of his life."
Of Haydn's output of more than 750 works, only a tenth was available in print in the mid-twentieth century. Landon determined to concentrate his studies on Haydn. In pursuit of this goal, he "would learn several instruments, study orchestration, several foreign languages, history". From 1943 to 1945 he was a student at Swarthmore College, studying music theory with Alfred Swan, composition with Harl McDonald and English literature with W. H. Auden, his studies at Swarthmore ended when its Quaker administrators expelled him for an affair with a female student. From 1945 to 1947 Landon was at Boston University, studying music with Hugo Norton and Karl Geiringer, described by The Times as "the great Haydn scholar". Landon graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1947. After graduating, Landon planned to go on to Harvard University to take a master's degree, but in the interim he decided to go to Europe for the summer of 1947. While there he secured a job as foreign music correspondent for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System.
Recognizing that he would shortly be conscripted for two years' military service, Landon sought out the U. S. Army of Occupation in Vienna and volunteered as a military historian and documenting the role of the Fifth Army in liberating Italy; this move gave him practical experience in handling primary sources and enabled him to remain in Vienna, writing and researching. In 1949 Landon married the harpsichordist and scholar Christa Fuhrmann, completed his military service, returned to Boston to undertake postgraduate research. WhIle there, he and a group of friends, including Geiringer, founded the Haydn Society, they had two aims: to publish a new complete edition of the composer's works, to make as many of his works as possible available on record. Their first set of records, issued within the year, was the Harmoniemesse of 1802, it sold out immediately. A legacy from an uncle in 1949 enabled him to return to Vienna, where he organized an ambitious program of recording, while continuing to search for forgotten Haydn scores in archives in central Europe.
He remained secretary of the Haydn Society, which operated from Vienna rather than Boston after his move. The society issued recordings of symphonies and masses, unavailable on disc, it published the first recordings of Mozart's
Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer of the Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio, his contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet". Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family at their remote estate; until the part of his life, this isolated him from other composers and trends in music so that he was, as he put it, "forced to become original". Yet his music circulated and for much of his career he was the most celebrated composer in Europe, he was a friend and mentor of Mozart, a tutor of Beethoven, the older brother of composer Michael Haydn. Joseph Haydn was born in Rohrau, Austria, a village that at that time stood on the border with Hungary, his father was Mathias Haydn, a wheelwright who served as "Marktrichter", an office akin to village mayor. Haydn's mother Maria, née Koller, had worked as a cook in the palace of Count Harrach, the presiding aristocrat of Rohrau.
Neither parent could read music. According to Haydn's reminiscences, his childhood family was musical, sang together and with their neighbours. Haydn's parents had noticed that their son was musically gifted and knew that in Rohrau he would have no chance to obtain serious musical training, it was for this reason that, around the time Haydn turned six, they accepted a proposal from their relative Johann Matthias Frankh, the schoolmaster and choirmaster in Hainburg, that Haydn be apprenticed to Frankh in his home to train as a musician. Haydn therefore went off with Frankh to Hainburg and he never again lived with his parents. Life in the Frankh household was not easy for Haydn, who remembered being hungry and humiliated by the filthy state of his clothing, he began his musical training there, could soon play both harpsichord and violin. The people of Hainburg heard. There is reason to think that Haydn's singing impressed those who heard him, because in 1739 he was brought to the attention of Georg von Reutter, the director of music in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, who happened to be visiting Hainburg and was looking for new choirboys.
Haydn passed his audition with Reutter, after several months of further training moved to Vienna, where he worked for the next nine years as a chorister. Haydn lived in the Kapellhaus next to the cathedral, along with Reutter, Reutter's family, the other four choirboys, which after 1745 included his younger brother Michael; the choirboys were instructed in Latin and other school subjects as well as voice and keyboard. Reutter was of little help to Haydn in the areas of music theory and composition, giving him only two lessons in his entire time as chorister. However, since St. Stephen's was one of the leading musical centres in Europe, Haydn learned a great deal by serving as a professional musician there. Like Frankh before him, Reutter did not always bother to make sure; as he told his biographer Albert Christoph Dies, Haydn was motivated to sing well, in hopes of gaining more invitations to perform before aristocratic audiences—where the singers were served refreshments. By 1749, Haydn had matured physically to the point that he was no longer able to sing high choral parts.
Empress Maria Theresa herself complained to Reutter about his singing, calling it "crowing". One day, Haydn carried out a prank; this was enough for Reutter: Haydn was first caned summarily dismissed and sent into the streets. He had the good fortune to be taken in by a friend, Johann Michael Spangler, who shared his family's crowded garret room with Haydn for a few months. Haydn began his pursuit of a career as a freelance musician. Haydn struggled at first, working at many different jobs: as a music teacher, as a street serenader, in 1752, as valet–accompanist for the Italian composer Nicola Porpora, from whom he said he learned "the true fundamentals of composition", he was briefly in Count Friedrich Wilhelm von Haugwitz's employ, playing the organ in the Bohemian Chancellery chapel at the Judenplatz. While a chorister, Haydn had not received any systematic training in music composition; as a remedy, he worked his way through the counterpoint exercises in the text Gradus ad Parnassum by Johann Joseph Fux and studied the work of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whom he acknowledged as an important influence.
As his skills increased, Haydn began to acquire a public reputation, first as the composer of an opera, Der krumme Teufel, "The Limping Devil", written for the comic actor Johann Joseph Felix Kurz, whose stage name was "Bernardon". The work was premiered in 1753, but was soon closed down by the censors due to "offensive remarks". Haydn noticed without annoyance, that works he had given away were being published and sold in local music shops. Between 1754 and 1756 Haydn worked freelance for the court in Vienna, he was among several musicians who were paid for services as supplementary musicians at balls given for the imperial children during carnival season, as supplementary singers in the imperial chapel in Lent and Holy Week. With the increase in his reputation, Haydn obtained aristocratic patronage, crucial for the career of a composer in his day. Countess Thun, having seen one of Haydn's compositions, summoned him and engaged him as her singing an
A quarter note or crotchet is a note played for one quarter of the duration of a whole note. Musicians will say that a crotchet is one beat, but this is not always correct, as the beat is indicated by the time signature of the music. Quarter notes are notated with a straight, flagless stem; the stem points upwards if it is below the middle line of the stave or downwards if it is on or above the middle line. However, the stem direction may differentiate more than one part; the head of the note reverses its orientation in relation to the stem. In Unicode, the symbol is U+2669. A related value is the quarter rest, it denotes a silence of the same duration as a quarter note. It appears as the symbol, or as the older symbol; the note derives from the semiminima of mensural notation. The word "crotchet" comes from Old French crochet, meaning'little hook', diminutive of croc,'hook', because of the hook used on the note in black notation. However, because the hook appeared on the eighth note in the white notation, the modern French term croche refers to an eighth note.
The quarter note is played for twice that of an eighth note. It is one beat in a bar of 44; the term "quarter note" is a calque of the German term Viertelnote. The names of this note in many other languages are calqued from the same source; the Bulgarian, Croatian, Japanese, Polish, Russian and Slovak names mean "quarter" and "quarter's pause". List of musical symbols
Historically informed performance
Informed performance is an approach to the performance of classical music, which aims to be faithful to the approach and style of the musical era in which a work was conceived. It is based on two key aspects: the application of the stylistic and technical aspects of performance, known as performance practice; because no sound recordings exist of music before the modern era informed performance is derived from academic musicological research. Historical treatises, as well as additional historical evidence, are used to gain insight into the performance practice of a historic era. HIP performers will base their interpretations on scholarly or urtext editions of a musical score, unencumbered with suggestions or changes made by editors in eras. Informed performance can trace its roots to the late 19th century, but was principally developed in a number of Western countries in the late 20th century. Concerned with the performance of Medieval and Baroque music, it has since come to encompass music from the Classical and Romantic eras as well.
The practice has been a crucial part of the Early music revival movement of the 20th and 21st centuries. Quite the phenomenon has begun to affect the theatrical stage, for instance in the production of Baroque opera, where informed approaches to acting and scenery are used. There are some critics who contest the methodology of the HIP movement, contending that its selection of practices and aesthetics are a product of the 20th century and that it is impossible to know what performances of an earlier time sounded like. For this reason, the term "historically informed" is now preferred to "authentic", as it acknowledges the limitations of academic understanding, rather than implying absolute accuracy in recreating historical performance style; the choice of musical instruments is an important part of the principle of informed performance. Musical instruments have evolved over time, instruments that were in use in earlier periods of history were quite different to their modern equivalents. Many other instruments have fallen out of use, having been replaced by newer tools for creating music.
For example, prior to the emergence of the modern violin, other bowed stringed instruments such as the rebec or the viol were in common use. The existence of ancient instruments in museum collections has helped musicologists to understand how the different design and tone of instruments may have affected earlier performance practice; as well as a research tool, historic instruments have an active role in the practice of informed performance. Modern instrumentalists who aim to recreate a historic sound use modern reproductions of period instruments on the basis that this will deliver a musical performance, thought to be faithful to the original work, as the original composer would have heard it. For example, a modern music ensemble staging a performance of music by Johann Sebastian Bach may play reproduction Baroque violins instead of modern instruments in an attempt to create the sound of a 17th-century Baroque orchestra; this has led to the revival of musical instruments that had fallen out of use, to a reconsideration of the role and structure of instruments used in current practice.
Orchestras and ensembles who are noted for their use of period instruments in performances include the Taverner Consort and Players, the Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert, the English Baroque Soloists, Musica Antiqua Köln, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and La Chapelle Royale. As the scope of informed performance has expanded to encompass the works of the Romantic era, the specific sound of 19th-century instruments has been recognised in the HIP movement, period instruments orchestras such as Gardiner's Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique have emerged. A variety of once obsolete keyboard instruments such as the clavichord and the harpsichord have been revived as they have particular importance in the performance of Early music. Before the evolution of the symphony orchestra led by a conductor and Baroque orchestras were directed from the harpsichord. Many religious works of the era made similar use of the pipe organ in combination with a harpsichord. Informed performances make use of keyboard-led ensemble playing.
Composers such as François Couperin, Domenico Scarlatti, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote for the harpsichord and organ. Among the foremost modern players of the harpsichord are Robert Hill, Igor Kipnis, Ton Koopman, Wanda Landowska, Gustav Leonhardt, Trevor Pinnock, Skip Sempé, Andreas Staier, Colin Tilney. During the second half of the 18th century, the harpsichord was replaced by the fortepiano, a precursor to the modern piano; as the harpsichord went out of fashion, many were destroyed. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the fortepiano has enjoyed a reviva
Baroque music is a period or style of Western art music composed from 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance music era, was followed in turn by the Classical era. Baroque music forms a major portion of the "classical music" canon, is now studied and listened to. Key composers of the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Henry Purcell, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arcangelo Corelli, Tomaso Albinoni, François Couperin, Giuseppe Tartini, Heinrich Schütz, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Dieterich Buxtehude, Johann Pachelbel; the Baroque period saw the creation of common-practice tonality, an approach to writing music in which a song or piece is written in a particular key. During the Baroque era, professional musicians were expected to be accomplished improvisers of both solo melodic lines and accompaniment parts. Baroque concerts were accompanied by a basso continuo group while a group of bass instruments—viol, double bass—played the bassline.
A characteristic Baroque form was the dance suite. While the pieces in a dance suite were inspired by actual dance music, dance suites were designed purely for listening, not for accompanying dancers. During the period and performers used more elaborate musical ornamentation, made changes in musical notation, developed new instrumental playing techniques. Baroque music expanded the size and complexity of instrumental performance, established the mixed vocal/instrumental forms of opera and oratorio and the instrumental forms of the solo concerto and sonata as musical genres. Many musical terms and concepts from this era, such as toccata and concerto grosso are still in use in the 2010s. Dense, complex polyphonic music, in which multiple independent melody lines were performed was an important part of many Baroque choral and instrumental works; the term "baroque" comes from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning "misshapen pearl". Negative connotations of the term first occurred in 1734, in a criticism of an opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau, in a description by Charles de Brosses of the ornate and ornamented architecture of the Pamphili Palace in Rome.
Although the term continued to be applied to architecture and art criticism through the 19th century, it was not until the 20th century that the term "baroque" was adopted from Heinrich Wölfflin's art-history vocabulary to designate a historical period in music. The term "baroque" is used by music historians to describe a broad range of styles from a wide geographic region in Europe, composed over a period of 150 years. Although it was long thought that the word as a critical term was first applied to architecture, in fact it appears earlier in reference to music, in an anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 of Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734; the critic implied that the novelty in this opera was "du barocque", complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was filled with unremitting dissonances changed key and meter, speedily ran through every compositional device. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a musician and composer as well as philosopher, wrote in 1768 in the Encyclopédie: "Baroque music is that in which the harmony is confused, loaded with modulations and dissonances.
The singing is harsh and unnatural, the intonation difficult, the movement limited. It appears that term comes from the word'baroco' used by logicians." Rousseau was referring to the philosophical term baroco, in use since the 13th century to describe a type of elaborate and, for some, unnecessarily complicated academic argument. The systematic application by historians of the term "baroque" to music of this period is a recent development. In 1919, Curt Sachs became the first to apply the five characteristics of Heinrich Wölfflin's theory of the Baroque systematically to music. Critics were quick to question the attempt to transpose Wölfflin's categories to music, in the second quarter of the 20th century independent attempts were made by Manfred Bukofzer and by Suzanne Clercx-Lejeune to use autonomous, technical analysis rather than comparative abstractions, in order to avoid the adaptation of theories based on the plastic arts and literature to music. All of these efforts resulted in appreciable disagreement about time boundaries of the period concerning when it began.
In English the term acquired currency only in the 1940s, in the writings of Bukofzer and Paul Henry Lang. As late as 1960, there was still considerable dispute in academic circles in France and Britain, whether it was meaningful to lump together music as diverse as that of Jacopo Peri, Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Sebastian Bach under a single rubric; the term has become used and accepted for this broad range of music. It may be helpful to distinguish the Baroque from both the preceding and following periods of musical history; the Baroque perio
In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form. The changes may involve melody, harmony, timbre, orchestration or any combination of these. Mozart's Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman", known in the English-speaking world as "Twinkle, Little Star" exemplifies a number of common variation techniques. Here are the first eight bars of the theme: Mozart's first variation decorates and elaborates the plain melodic line: The fifth variation breaks up the steady pulse and creates syncopated off-beats: The seventh variation introduces powerful new chords, which replace the simple harmonies implied by the theme with a prolongational series of descending fifths: In the elaborate 8th variation, Mozart changes from the major to the parallel minor mode, while combining three techniques: counterpoint and imitation: A complete performance can be heard by following this link: Listen. Variation techniques are used within pieces that are not themselves in the form of Theme and Variations.
For example, when the opening two-bar phrase of Chopin's Nocturne in F minor returns in the piece, it is repeated as an elegant melodic re-working: Debussy's piano piece "Reflets dans l’Eau" opens with a sequence of chords: These chords open out into arpeggios when they return in the piece:Follow this link for a complete performance of “Reflets dans l’Eau”. Sometimes melodic variation occurs with the original. In Beethoven's "Waldstein" piano sonata, the main'second subject' theme of the opening movement, in sonata form, is heard in the pianist's left hand, while the right hand plays a decorated version. While most variations tend to elaborate on the given theme or idea, there are exceptions. In 1819, Anton Diabelli commissioned Viennese composers to create variations on a waltz that he had composed: Beethoven contributed a mighty set of 33 variations on this theme; the thirteenth of these stands out in its wilful eccentricity and determination to reduce the given material to its bare bones: Wilfrid Mellers describes this variation as "comically disruptive...
The original tonal sequence is telescoped, the two-bar sequences being absorbed into the silences." Many composers have taken pieces composed by others as a basis for elaboration. John Dowland's Lachrimae was used by other composers as a basis for sets of variations during the 17th century. Composed in 1700, the final movement of Arcangelo Corelli's Violin Sonata Op. 5 No. 9 opens with this rather sparse melodic line: Corelli's fellow-composer and former student Francesco Geminiani produced a “playing version” as follows: According to Nicholas Cook, in Geminiani's version "all the notes of Corelli's violin line... are absorbed into a quite new melodic organization. With its characteristic rhythmic pattern, Geminiani's opening is a tune in a way that Corelli's is not... whereas in the original version the first four bars consist of an undifferentiated stream of quarter-notes and make up a single phrase, Geminiani's version has three sequential repetitions of a distinctive one—bar phrase and a contrasted closing phrase, producing a accented down-beat quality."Jazz arrangers develop variations on themes by other composers.
For example, Gil Evans’ 1959 arrangement of George Gershwin's song "Summertime" from the opera Porgy and Bess is an example of variation through changing orchestral timbre. At the outset, Evans presents a single variation that repeats five times in subtly differing instrumental combinations; these create a compelling background, a constantly-changing sonic tapestry over which trumpeter Miles Davis improvises his own set of variations. Wilfrid Mellers wrote that "t called for an improviser of Davis's kind and quality to explore, through Gil Evans' arrangement, the tender frailty inherent in the'Summer-time' tune... Between them, solo line and harmonic colour create a music, at once innocent and tense with apprehension". Variation forms include ground bass, passacaglia and theme and variations. Ground bass and chaconne are based on brief ostinato motifs providing a repetitive harmonic basis and are typically continuous evolving structures.'Theme and variation' forms are, based on melodic variation, in which the fundamental musical idea, or theme, is repeated in altered form or accompanied in a different manner.'Theme and variation' structure begins with a theme between eight and thirty-two bars in length.
This form may in part have derived from the practical inventiveness of musicians. Their repetition became intolerably wearisome, led the player to indulge in extempore variation and ornament". Variation forms can be written as'free-standing' pieces for solo instruments or ensembles, or can constitute a movement of a larger piece. Most jazz music is structured on a basic pattern of theme and variations. Examples include John Bull's Salvator Mundi, Bach's Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her and Fugue in C minor, Violin Chaconne, Corelli's La Folia Variations, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, the Finale of Brahms's Fourth Symphony, Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56, Elgar's Enigma Variations, Franck's Variations Symphoniques, Richard Strauss's Don Qu
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director and conductor, chiefly known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama, he described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, his compositions those of his period, are notable for their complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration, the elaborate use of leitmotifs—musical phrases associated with individual characters, ideas, or plot elements. His advances in musical language, such as extreme chromaticism and shifting tonal centres influenced the development of classical music.
His Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music. Wagner had his own opera house built, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which embodied many novel design features; the Ring and Parsifal were premiered here and his most important stage works continue to be performed at the annual Bayreuth Festival, run by his descendants. His thoughts on the relative contributions of music and drama in opera were to change again, he reintroduced some traditional forms into his last few stage works, including Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; until his final years, Wagner's life was characterised by political exile, turbulent love affairs and repeated flight from his creditors. His controversial writings on music and politics have attracted extensive comment, since the late 20th century, where they express antisemitic sentiments; the effect of his ideas can be traced in many of the arts throughout the 20th century. Richard Wagner was born to an ethnic German family in Leipzig, who lived at No 3, the Brühl in the Jewish quarter.
He was baptized at St. Thomas Church, he was the ninth child of Carl Friedrich Wagner, a clerk in the Leipzig police service, his wife, Johanna Rosine, the daughter of a baker. Wagner's father Carl died of typhus six months after Richard's birth. Afterwards his mother Johanna lived with the actor and playwright Ludwig Geyer. In August 1814 Johanna and Geyer married—although no documentation of this has been found in the Leipzig church registers, she and her family moved to Geyer's residence in Dresden. Until he was fourteen, Wagner was known as Wilhelm Richard Geyer, he certainly thought that Geyer was his biological father. Geyer's love of the theatre came to be shared by his stepson, Wagner took part in his performances. In his autobiography Mein Leben Wagner recalled once playing the part of an angel. In late 1820, Wagner was enrolled at Pastor Wetzel's school at Possendorf, near Dresden, where he received some piano instruction from his Latin teacher, he struggled to play a proper scale at preferred playing theatre overtures by ear.
Following Geyer's death in 1821, Richard was sent to the Kreuzschule, the boarding school of the Dresdner Kreuzchor, at the expense of Geyer's brother. At the age of nine he was hugely impressed by the Gothic elements of Carl Maria von Weber's opera Der Freischütz, which he saw Weber conduct. At this period Wagner entertained ambitions as a playwright, his first creative effort, listed in the Wagner-Werk-Verzeichnis as WWV 1, was a tragedy called Leubald. Begun when he was in school in 1826, the play was influenced by Shakespeare and Goethe. Wagner was determined to set it to music, persuaded his family to allow him music lessons. By 1827, the family had returned to Leipzig. Wagner's first lessons in harmony were taken during 1828–31 with Christian Gottlieb Müller. In January 1828 he first heard Beethoven's 7th Symphony and in March, the same composer's 9th Symphony. Beethoven became a major inspiration, Wagner wrote a piano transcription of the 9th Symphony, he was greatly impressed by a performance of Mozart's Requiem.
Wagner's early piano sonatas and his first attempts at orchestral overtures date from this period. In 1829 he saw a performance by dramatic soprano Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, she became his ideal of the fusion of drama and music in opera. In Mein Leben, Wagner wrote, "When I look back across my entire life I find no event to place beside this in the impression it produced on me," and claimed that the "profoundly human and ecstatic performance of this incomparable artist" kindled in him an "almost demonic fire."In 1831, Wagner enrolled at the Leipzig University, where he became a member of the Saxon student fraternity. He took composition lessons with the Thomaskantor Theodor Weinlig. Weinlig was so impressed with Wagner's musical ability, he arranged for his pupil's Piano Sonata in B-flat major to be published as Wagner's Op. 1. A year Wagner composed his Symphony in C major, a Beethovenesque work performed in Prague in 1832 and at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in 1833, he began to work on an opera, Die Hochzeit, which he never