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The Standard Cantatas by George P. Upton

Heinrich Karl Johann Hofmann was born Jan

important works. In 1841 he

made a second journey to Italy and gave particular attention to church music. On his return he first resided at Frankfort, but was soon in Leipsic, where he conducted the Gewandhaus concerts (1843-44), and after that time in Dresden, where he produced two more operas, "Traum in der Christ-nacht" and "Conradin." In 1847 he was appointed municipal capellmeister at Duesseldorf, and three years later took a similar position at Cologne, where he organized the Conservatory. In that city he exercised a widespread influence, not alone by his teaching, but also by his direction of the famous Lower Rhine festivals. He also made many musical tours which increased his fame. In 1852-53 he conducted opera in Paris; in 1870, gave a series of successful concerts in St. Petersburg; and in 1871-72 visited England, where he produced his works both in public concerts and festivals. His compositions are very numerous, including among the most prominent, five operas, four overtures, a festival march for the opening of the Albert Hall, the Spring Symphony, the oratorios "Destruction of Jerusalem" and "Saul," and the cantatas "Heloise," "Night," "Loreley," "O weint um Sie," "Ver sacrum," "Nala and Damajanti," "Song of Victory," "Song of the Spirits over the Water," "Prometheus," and "Rebecca." He has also enriched musical literature with many important works, among them, "Aus dem Tonleben unserer Zeit" (1867), "Personalisches und Musikalisches" (1876), "Recollections of Mendelssohn" (1874), and "Letters
to an Unknown" (1877). He died in May, 1885.

Song of Victory.

The "Song of Victory," a cantata for soprano solo, chorus, and orchestra, was first produced at the Cologne Festival of 1871, and was written to celebrate the victorious conclusion of the Franco-German war of 1870. It consists of eight numbers, all of which are sacred in character, though their purpose is to express gratitude and joy over the triumph of the German arms.

The opening number is a vigorous, jubilant chorus ("The Lord great Wonders for us hath wrought"). It begins with a slow movement in massive chords, gathering animation as it proceeds, and closing pianissimo on the words, "There is none that searcheth or understandeth." The second number is a soprano solo and chorus ("Praise, O Jerusalem, praise the Lord") declamatory in style. The third ("The Heathen are fallen in the Pit") is assigned to chorus, and is the most dramatic in the work, describing as it does the terrors of war. In the fourth ("See, it is written in the Book of the Righteous"), a short soprano solo, the melody is a tender lament for the dead. The fifth ("He in Tears that soweth") is a soprano solo with chorus of first and second sopranos and altos. In this number lamentation gives way to hope and gladness, leading up to the last three numbers,--the six-part chorus ("Mighty is our God"), full of effective sustained harmony, and the soprano solos and choruses of praise and hallelujah which resume the triumphant style of the opening chorus with increased power and enthusiasm.


Heinrich Karl Johann Hofmann was born Jan. 13, 1842, at Berlin. In his younger days he was a scholar at the Kullak Conservatory, and studied composition with Grell, Dehn, and Wueerst. Prior to 1873 he devoted himself to private instruction, but since that time he has been engaged exclusively in composition. Among his works which first attracted public attention by their intrinsic excellence as well as by the knowledge of orchestration which they displayed, were an "Hungarian Suite" and the "Frithjof Symphony." Among his piano compositions are the following four-handed pieces, which have been remarkably popular: "Italienische Liebesnovelle," "Liebesfruehling," "Trompeter von Saeckingen," "Steppenbilder," and "Aus meinem Tagebuch." His choral works are "Nonnengesang," "Die Schoene Melusine," "Aschenbroedel," and "Cinderella." Among his operas are "Cartouche" (1869), "Armin" (1878), and "Annchen von Tharau" (1878). He has also written several works for mixed chorus and maennerchor, piano pieces, songs, duets, a violoncello concerto, piano trios and quartets, and a string sextet.

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