The discussion of this very high quality yet overshadowed(by Beethoven) composer of Danish origin, Friedrich Kuhlau seems to be void on talkclassical. Lets get to know this fantastic composer folks! I heard a work of his on the radio and couldn't place the composer, it seemed like it could have been Hummel(too sleek and unpredictable for Hummel though), Beethoven(though too light and carefree), or Mozart(though too Romantic), or Weber(ditto to Hummel, too good of themes too), but it was this composer! I can't remember what the work was. Possibly a string trio. But I found a piano quartet of his on youtube, very nice.
I know nothing about him whatsoever, but one of the first pieces I played that I really liked as a lazy, disinterested, whip-snapping pianist was his 'Allegro Bulrlesco.' Nostalgic to see his name being mentioned.
Kuhlau wrote great chamber music (piano quartets, flute quintets, string quartet, trio for flute, cello & piano, fantasia for solo flute etc.). There´s also the somewhat heroic Piano Concerto and various concert ouvertures.
He likewise wrote music to one of the Danish national theatre plays, "Elverhøj". The Ouverture includes the Danish National Anthem "Kong Christian Stod ved Højen Mast" ("King Christian stood by the tall mast", celebrating the stoic performance of King Christian IV during a sea-battle, when he had an eye shot out and encouraged his people to continue the fight, according to local tradition:
The Ouverture is also played separately as a concert piece here, and when the National Anthem is played, people stand up. This tradition was used in a very popular film series from the 1970s and 1980s "Olsen-Banden", ("The Olsen Gang"), about a charming and rather naive trio of petty crime folks, always targeting people who somehow deserved being cheated. The leader of the gang was "Egon Olsen", usually unlucky in the end, but a mastermind of sophisticated, non-violent tricks. In one of the films, the "Elverhøj" ouverture is played at Copenhagen´s Royal Theatre and used for the gang´s plan in a series of cartoon-like scenes. The exalted conductor believes that his orchestra plays unusually superb, when the reason is actually the gang´s activities behind the scenes:
Funnily the Olsen Gang films were allowed in the former GDR / East Germany and got extremely popular there, resulting in cafes and bars being named after them, during the Iron Curtain years. The films also included social satire and various interpreters have seen them as picturing the ordinary, little man trying to manoeuver in the patterns of the big society.
He's in my usual rotation of piano music. I've got everyone's favorite, Jenő Jandó , playing sonatas of his...on Naxos, of course. Thanks for reminding me,...I've gotta check what else I have. I remember there not being much but this was when I would actually walk into a store and buy or order cd's. I very much like his solo piano works.