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Shadow on Concrete Wall

Franz Lehár
1870 - 1948 

Lehár was born in the northern part of Komárom, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary. Franz studied violin and composition at the Prague Conservatory, where his violin teacher Antonín Bennewitz was, but was recommended by Antonín Dvořák to concentrate on composing.


After graduating from high school in 1899, he joined his father's band in Vienna as assistant to the conductor. In 1902 he became conductor at the historic Vienna Theater an der Wien, where his first opera Wiener Frauen was performed in November of the same year. He is best known for his operettas - the most successful of which is The Merry Widow - but he also wrote sonatas, symphonic poems, marches and a series of waltzes (the most popular gold and silver, composed for Princess Pauline von Metternich's "Goldener und Silberner "Ball, January 1902), some of which come from his famous operettas.


Individual songs from some operettas became standards, especially "Vilja" from The Merry Widow and "You Are My Heart's Delight" from The Land of Smiles.


Lehár was also associated with the opera tenor Richard Tauber, who sang in many of his operettas, beginning with Frasquita (1922), in which Lehár found a suitable post-war style again. Between 1925 and 1934 he wrote six operettas especially for Tauber's voice.

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