Medium Obscurity: Louis Spohr

May 4, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

Sic transit gloria mundi – Thus passes worldly glory. Louis Spohr was born in Germany in 1784, and during his lifetime he was one of the most famous musicians in all of Europe, renowned as a great violinist, a distinguished conductor, and an extremely prolific composer. 


He wrote ten symphonies, ten operas, eighteen violin concertos, four clarinet concertos, and thirty-six string quartets, among dozens of other works, and along the way he found time to teach a couple of hundred violin students, write an influential book about violin technique, invent the violin chin rest, and pioneer the use of the baton for conducting orchestras. Some of his music is quite appealing and is still played, or has been rediscovered—Louis Spohr isn’t one of those composers who fell into complete obscurity. But for better or for worse the majority of his works remain unknown to modern audiences.

This has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.