09 September 2010

Glass Fun Facts

Franz Adolf Berwald
Franz Adolf Berwald (July 23, 1796, Stockholm – April 3, 1868) was a Swedish Romantic composer who was generally ignored during his lifetime. Due to this, he was forced to make his living as an orthopedic surgeon and later as a glass blower.

This must be one of the few times that one could make a better living as a glass blower, rather than as an orthopedic surgeon.
In the early 1850s, a German music critic asked Berwald if he was still a composer. His surly reply was, "No, I am a glass blower."

His Piano Concerto, finished in 1855, did not see the light of day until 1904, when Berwald's granddaughter Astrid performed it at a Stockholm student concert. Particularly in its last movement it may be compared to Robert Schumann or Edvard Grieg.

Berwald's music was not recognized favorably in Sweden during his lifetime, even drawing hostile newspaper reviews, but fared a little better in Germany and Austria. The Mozarteum Salzburg made him an honorary member in 1847.

When Berwald returned to Sweden in 1849, he managed a glass works at Sandö in Angermanland, owned by Ludvig Petré, an amateur violinist. During that time Berwald focused his attention on producing chamber music.

Berwald died in Stockholm in 1868 of pneumonia. The second movement of the Symphony No. 1 was played at his funeral.

Click on the YouTube link below to sample Berwald's music - his Symphony No. 3 in C Major, 'Sinfonie Singulière'.
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