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DESSAUER, JOSEF:

German composer; born at Prague May 28, 1798; died at Mödling, near Vienna, July 8, 1876; a pupil of Tomaczek (piano) and Dionys Weber (composition). In compliance with the wishes of his parents, Dessauer first devoted himself to a mercantile career. At the age of twenty-three, upon one of his commercial tours, he visited Italy, where his musical bent received a powerful stimulus.

In 1821, owing to the favorable reception accorded at Naples to several of his canzonettas and other vocal compositions, Dessauer determined to devote himself exclusively to composition. He settled in Vienna, from which city he made numerous European tours to introduce his compositions; and his songs, which were distinguished by considerable melodic beauty, soon secured for him international fame. In the "Hofmeister Catalogue" for 1844 nearly seventy of these canzonettas, ariettas, etc., are enumerated.

Less successful were his operas, "Lidwinna" (Prague, 1836), "Ein Besuch in Saint-Cyr" (Dresden, 1838), "Paquita" (Vienna, 1851), "Domingo" (1860), and "Oberon" (not performed). Neither these nor his instrumental works are now performed; only a few of his songs, such as the well-known air "Scheiden and Meiden," having maintained their popularity and being still reprinted. The Schlesingers of Berlin, who included most of these compositions in their catalogue for 1900, publish the following list: "3 Slavische Lieder"; "9 Wanderlieder von Uhland" ("Lebewohl," "Scheiden und Meiden," "In der Ferne," "Morgenlied," "Nachtreise," "Winterreise," "Abreise," "Einkehr," "Heimkehr"); and two song collections of ten numbers each, including "Verschwiegenheit," "Das Gebet," "Wie Glücklich," "Am Strande," "Ich Denke Dein," "Das Zerbrochene Ringlein."

Bibliography:
  • Mendel, Musikalisches Konversations Lexikon.
S. J. So.
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