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Cornelius, Peter (1824-1874)

Peter Cornelius

born: 24 December 1824
died: 26 October 1874
country: Germany

Peter Cornelius (1824–1874) was the son of two actors who saw that he was a talented child and sent him to train in their preferred profession. They also recognized that he had musical gifts and encouraged his music lessons. By 1840 he was playing the violin in the Mainz theatre orchestra, later acting in the Nassau court theatre troupe. On the death of his father he moved to Berlin where he began to devote himself exclusively to music. There he met painters, poets and others from various artistic disciplines and became aware of his talents as a poet and writer. Finding no outlet for his abilities in Berlin he moved to Weimar where he studied with Liszt, who immediately recognized his abilities. The group that surrounded Liszt—the so-called New German School, which included Hans von Bülow—was more to Cornelius’s taste and so the young composer devoted himself to promoting Liszt’s ideas. Liszt, in turn, introduced him to Berlioz, Brahms and Wagner and it was through contact with these composers that Cornelius began to find his métier as an opera composer—his first opera was, in fact, conducted by Liszt. When the latter left Weimar (following a dispute with the ‘New Germans’) Cornelius went to Vienna. Wagner’s influence was strong and, in 1865, he invited Cornelius to Munich as his personal répétiteur, arranging a salary from the Privy Purse of Ludwig II. In Munich he began to teach music theory, harmony, metrics and poetics at the Royal School of Music where, due to his responsibilities, his creativity also began to wane. His third opera was to remain unfinished.

from notes by William McVicker 2002


Cornelius: The Three Kings & other choral works
CDA67206Download currently discounted
A Christmas Present from Polyphony
NOEL2Super-budget price sampler — Download only
Adeste fideles
Christmas through the ages
NOEL1Super-budget price sampler — Download only
Epiphany at St Paul's
CDH55443Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Voces 8 Christmas
Studio Master: SIGCD291Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Alphabetical listing of all musical works

Ach, wie nichtig, ach, wie flüchtig  
An Babels Wassflüssen  
An den Sturmwind  
Der alte Soldat, Op 12 No 1 (Cornelius)
Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht  
Die drei Frühlingstage  
Die Könige  
Die Vätergruft, Op 19 (Cornelius)
Drei Chorgesänge, Op 11 (Cornelius)
Drei Psalmlieder, Op 13 (Cornelius)
Ich will dich lieben, meine Krone!  
Liebe 'Ein Zyklus von 3 Chorliedern', Op 18 (Cornelius)
Liebe, dir ergeb' ich mich!  
Mitten wir im Leben sind  
Nicht die Träne kann es sagen  
Requiem 'Seele, vergiß sie nicht' (Cornelius)
So weich und warn (Cornelius)
The Three Kings  
Three Kings from Persian lands afar  
Thron der Liebe, Stern der Güte  
Trauerchöre, Op 9 (Cornelius)
Trost in Tränen, Op 14 (Cornelius)
Von dem Dome, schwer und bang  
Weihnachtslieder, Op 8 (Cornelius/Atkins)
Weihnachtslieder, Op 8 (Cornelius/Layton)

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