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Frederic d'Erlanger

Frederic d'Erlanger was born on 29 May 1868 in Paris as "Friedrich Alfred Freiher von Erlanger". His father was famous German banker, his mother American. He was fascinated by music from his early life and received music lessons by Anselm Ehmant. Frederic d'Erlanger published his first musical compositions at the age of 20, but nevertheless made his living as a banker.


In 1886 he had moved to London where he lived for the rest of his life and later became a naturalised Englishmen. Beside his profession as a banker Frederic d'Erlanger always composed music and created operas, orchestral and chamber music, and songs. Frederic d'Erlanger died 23 April 1943 in London.



The Violin concerto op.17 was composed in 1902 and published a year later by Rahter. The work was positively welcomed as the following review by musicologist Arnold Schering shows:

"Bachmann and d'Erlanger are both rooted in the French savour. D'Erlanger is definitely the more eminent. Already the first bars show, that he is serious with the meaning concerto = contest. The violin should virtually be made to talk, it fantasizes back and forth, declaims in short, fragmented little movements and doesn't find contemplation for a long time, until finally a minor mood arises and yarns a melody. The orchestra also has a substantial part afterwards. That leads to bright dialogues in the second movement; the one-time short episode


         [music sample]


sounds nearly like a declaration of love with a light concession to the profound cultural savour of the beloved, because the rest of the movement is elegantly stylized. The final Allegro jumps around wildly and gypsy-like. Again there are serious, than playful dialogues with points in quick succession. For those who have elegant French playing styles in their command, like in the works by Saint-Saens and Lalo, could attend to this concerto. The musical value guarantees the success."


(published in: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 1904, volume 71, issue 100, page 818)


The Violin concerto was first performed in 1902 by the famous German violinist Hugo Heermann. I could find a performance on 12 December 1902 with the orchestra of the Frankfurther Museums-Gesellschaft under Gustav Kogel, but the program does not mark the performance as the world premiere. So most likely there is an earlier performance.

The work was than taken over by Fritz Kreisler, who gave the British premiere on 12 March 1903. It received a handful of performances in the next decades, for example by Albert Sammons.

I recently bought a part of the original autograph manuscript of the Violin concerto by Frederic d'Erlanger. Unfortunately it consists only of the third movement in full score.


It is very likely that the full score is written in the hand of the composer himself as there are several corrections, remarks or measures pasted over with new notes. Moreover the provenance of this manuscript is the estate of Charlotte Denman (nee Erlanger), the daughter of Raphael d'Erlanger, the eldest brother of Frederic d'Erlanger.


My manuscript shows dozens of small discrepancies compared to the published score. These differences are not profound, but numerous. This could be interesting for someone who wants to perform the work again.


Due to the fact that the work and also the published full score by Rahter is now in public domain, I can present here a copy of the Rahter score:

PDF-Dokument [6.5 MB]

After sinking into oblivion for decades, the violin concerto was rediscovered for a performance in 2010 by violinist Philippe Graffin, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under David Lloyd-Jones. This performance was recorded and published shortly afterwards on the Hyperion record label coupled with another rare violin concerto by Frederic Cliffe .


The CD is still available at all common record shops (CD code: CDA67838), and is available to download from Hyperion’s own website and from iTunes. Hyperion kindly gave me the permission to present a sound snippet of their recording here on my site.


Of course I chose the beginning of the third movement:

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