Hiller, Ferdinand


Hiller, Ferdinand

Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor Op. 69

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Ferdinand Hiller – Piano Concerto in F-Sharp Minor, op. 69

( b. Frankfurt am Main, 24. October 1811 – d. Cologne, 11. May 1885)

Composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher Ferdinand Hiller was born in Frankfurt on 24 October 1811, the son of a well-to-do Jewish merchant. His musical promise made itself known early (at the age of ten, he gave a public performance of a Mozart concerto), and he soon attracted the interest of such figures as Louis Spohr and Ignaz Moscheles. 1 Early on, Hiller pursued piano studies with Alois Schmitt (a prominent pianist in Frankfurt at the time), and then he studied with Johann Nepomuk Hummel (Weimar, 1825-27), whose tutelage had been recommended by Hiller’s good friend Felix Mendelssohn. While in Weimar, Hiller played at court and also in the home of Goethe, with whom he had become personally acquainted.2 Hummel took Hiller to visit Beethoven’s deathbed in 1827, and in the days immediately following Beethoven’s death, Hiller was one of many to snip a keepsake lock of hair from the great master’s head; it was this particular lock that, in the late twentieth century, made its way into the hands of forensic researchers who used it as the basis for the argument that Beethoven’s deafness, poor health, and death may have been related to lead poisoning.3 From 1828 to 1835, Hiller lived in Paris, establishing his reputation as a concert pianist, composer, and organ teacher, and developing friendships with such figures as Frédéric Chopin and Hector Berlioz. He is the first to have played Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto in Paris. 4 Following a return to Frankfurt, where he stood in as Conductor of the Cäcilienverein, he moved to Italy in 1837 and remained there until 1842 (his opera Romilda was performed in Milan in 1839, but it was unsuccessful; he also lived in Rome, where he did research on early Italy polyphony and established a choral society5), except for a brief return to Germany for the mounting of a production of his oratorio, Die Zerstörung Jersusalems, in 1840 at Leipzig. From 1843-44, he was Mendelssohn’s successor as conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and then held conducting positions in Dresden (1844-47) and Düsseldorf (1847-50). While at Dresden, he became close with Robert and Clara Schumann and “virtually a confidant of Wagner whose advice he greatly valued.” 6 In 1850, Robert Schumann took his place in Düsseldorf when Hiller accepted the post of Kapellmeister at Cologne. Under his leadership, the music school there became the respected Cologne Conservatory. Hiller remained at the Conservatory as its director until 1884, when he retired due to illness; at that time, he offered the position to his friend Johannes Brahms, but Brahms declined, and the post was ultimately filled by Franz Wüllner. During his years at Cologne, Hiller had helped to organize, direct, and adjudicate numerous music festivals and competitions, as well as directing the well-regarded series of Gürzenich concerts and undertaking a number of concert tours. …

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Score Data


Repertoire Explorer


Keyboard & Orchestra




210 x 297 mm



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