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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » H » Hoffmann, Ernst Theodor Amadeus

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Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (1/24/1776 - 6/25/1822)

Known as a writer on music and as the author of mysterious tales that earned him the nickname of ‘Gespenster Hoffmann’ (‘Ghost Hoffmann’), E.T.A. Hoffmann assumed his third name in honour of Mozart. His writings exercised considerable influence on later composers, not only on Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (‘The Tales of Hoffmann’), based on Hoffmann’s stories, but also on Schumann and on Wagner. A supposedly unfinished work is the germ of the novel The Lyre of Orpheus by the Canadian writer Robertson Davies.

Stage Works

Hoffmann’s compositions, now largely unheard, include examples of Singspiel, incidental music, ballet, melodrama and opera, among the last the heroic opera Aurora and the magic opera Undine.

Vocal and Instrumental Music

Hoffmann left a small number of vocal settings, largely of Italian texts. His instrumental music includes piano sonatas, a Symphony, a Harp Quintet and a Piano Trio, all constructed according to general Classical principles.



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