Franz Wüllner (composer)

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Franz Wüllner
Franz Wüllner grave

Christoph Adolph Franz Maria Wüllner (born January 28, 1832 in Münster , † September 7, 1902 in Braunfels ) was a German composer , conductor and professor .


His father was the philologist and teacher of the same name, Franz Wüllner . During his childhood in Düsseldorf he received violin and piano lessons at an early age. One of his teachers at this time was Anton Felix Schindler , who had a formative influence on him.

In the period from 1850 to 1854 Wüllner undertook extensive concert tours as a pianist, while studying in Cologne , Brussels , Berlin and Leipzig . The main content of his lectures were the piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven . On this occasion he met Johannes Brahms , with whom he had a lifelong friendship. Wüllner also owed important suggestions to his contact with Joseph Joachim , Ignaz Moscheles , Otto Jahn , Ferdinand David and Moritz Hauptmann .

In 1854 he came to Munich, first as a private piano teacher and as a sought-after pianist (in March he played Beethoven's piano concerto in G major in a concert of the Musical Academy and at the end of 1855 three triosoirees with the two concert masters of the court orchestra). In 1856 there was a first short job as a piano teacher at the conservatory.

In 1858 he went to the Aachen Theater as Municipal Music Director , where he directed the Aachen Symphony Orchestra until 1865 .

Then he went back to Munich to take over the direction of the church music of the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche . From 1866 he also directed the Royal Vocal Band and from 1869 the Musical Academy . On the orders of Ludwig II and against Richard Wagner's will , Wüllner conducted the world premieres of the works Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at the National Theater in Munich in 1869/1870 . From 1871 to 1877 Wüllner was, together with Josef Gabriel Rheinberger , inspector of the Royal Bavarian Music School . There he set up choir and orchestral classes and directed their concerts. His “choir exercises at the Munich Music School” continued well into the 20th century. In 1871 he was appointed first court conductor. When Hermann Levi was appointed first court conductor to Munich in 1873, Wüllner was relieved in several of his numerous fields of work. Competence disputes rocked up. In 1877 Wüllner gave up and resigned .

From 1877 he worked in Dresden as a professor, director of the conservatory and court conductor .

Hindered in his work by intrigues, he moved to Berlin. There he conducted the Philharmonic Concerts and was - like Meyerbeer , Lortzing and other well-known artists before him - a chorister in the Sing-Akademie .

In 1884, on the recommendation of Brahms, he took over the management of the Cologne Conservatory as successor to Ferdinand Hiller . He was responsible for transforming the Gürzenich Orchestra into a municipal orchestra and had a major impact on musical life over the next two decades. Between 1864 and 1898, Wüllner was the festival director of the Niederrheinische Musikfeste in Aachen, Düsseldorf and Cologne seven times .

In 1900 Franz Wüllner founded the Neue Bachgesellschaft together with the musicologist Hermann Kretzschmar and the owners of the Breitkopf & Härtel publishing house, Oskar von Hase and Martin Blumner, Siegfried Ochs , Joseph Joachim and the Thomaskantor Gustav Schreck .

Franz Wüllner was the father of the singer, actor and reciter Ludwig Wüllner (1858–1938). He was married to Anna Ludorff (1832–1909). The couple's grave is located in the Melaten cemetery in Cologne (hall 82).

Importance as a composer

As a composer, Franz Wüllner created piano and chamber music as well as many vocal works. He is regarded as a representative of German high romanticism and as a sponsor of many young composers, Richard Strauss as a representative. In 1884 Strauss dedicated a setting of Goethe's poem Wandrer's Sturmlied to Wüllner for choir and orchestra.


Franz Wüllner was one of the honorary members of the Tonkünstler-Verein zu Dresden.

In Aachen, Munich, Münster and in the Cologne district of Lindenthal , the work of Franz Wüllner was honored with the naming of a street.


Instrumental works

  • Trio for pianoforte, violin & cello , op.9, B. Schott's Sons, Mainz 1861
  • Variations on an old German folk song op. 24 (1862) for piano four hands
  • Violin Sonata in E minor op. 30 (1871)
  • Variations on a Theme by Franz Schubert op.39 for cello and piano (1875)

Choral works

  • Mass No. 1 op. 20 for 4 voices according to Choir and 4 solo voices (1865)
  • Miserere op.26 for double choir and a cappella solos (1867)
  • Mass No. 2 op. 29 for 4 voices according to Choir and 4 solo voices (1868)
  • German Victory Song for 4-part male choir and orchestra, op.32 (1871)
  • Three motets for use in concert and church op. 42 for 4 voices acc. Choir (1889/90)
  • Stabat Mater op. 45 for 8 voices acc. Choir (1886)
  • Three motets (graduals) for use in church and concert op. 47 for 4-5 voices acc. Choir (1887?)
  • Abendgesang op. 52 for 6 voices according to Choir or 6-part male choir (1892)
  • Te Deum op. 50 for 4-8 voices acc. Choir and large orchestra (1888)

Sound carrier

  • Violin Sonata in E minor op. 30 (Suyoen Kim, violin, Tobias Bredohl , piano); Variations on an old German folk song op. 24 ( Alina Kabanova and Tobias Bredohl, piano); Variations on a Theme by Franz Schubert op. 39 (Konstantin Manaev, violoncello, Ekatherina Titova, piano). Dohr DCD020 (Cologne 2003)

Student (selection)


  • Dietrich Kämper: Franz Wüllner. Life, work and compositional work . Diss., Cologne 1963 (contains a list of works on pages 142–159 and a bibliography on pages 160–166).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Baptism - KB004 | Munster, St. Martini | Münster, rk. Diocese | Germany | Matricula Online. Retrieved June 7, 2020 .
  2. ^ Death certificate, Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg (HStAMR), Best. 911 No. 1490, p. 17 ( digitized version ).
  3. ^ Josef Abt, Johann Ralf Beines, Celia Körber-Leupold: Melaten - Kölner Gräber und Geschichte , Greven, Cologne 1997, ISBN 3-7743-0305-3 , p. 102.
  4. Report on the Tonkünstler-Verein zu Dresden Volume [46] 1899/1900 p. 37 No. 22; Digitized SLUB Dresden
  5. Konrad Adenauer and Volker Gröbe: Streets and Squares in Lindenthal , JP Bachem, Cologne 1992, ISBN 3-7616-1018-1 , pp. 170f.