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Christoph Weyse, Ouverture de la tragedie Macbeth: Biographical Overview

by Harrison Gilberti

Biographical Overview

Dutch composer Christoph Ernst Freidrich Weyse was born on March 5, 1774 in Northern Germany. Weyse would move to Copenhagen in 1789 to study under the tutelage of Johann Abraham Peter Schulz (1747-1800). Schulz was a German composer who is best known for writing the melodies for Mattias Claudius’s poems “Der Mond ist aufgegangen” and “Wir pflügen und wir streuen.” While in Copenhagen, Weyse would become a significant influence in the Dutch classical music world, working for the Danish Court, helping establish the first Danish opera school, and composing prolifically.

While Weyse was generally respected in his day, a great deal of his surviving work includes arrangements of his own music for keyboard, including his “Ouverture af Macbeth,” the score of which is held in the RBI Freedman Collection. This was a common practice in Weyse’s time. However unfairly, works such as these are often overlooked in modern study of Western music in favor of more "original" compositions, leaving Weyse relatively obscure today. 

Portrait of composer

Portrait of Weyse 

Portrait of Weyse by Emil Bærentzen (1799-1868). Public Domain.