Becher, Alfred Julius
- John Warrack
(b Manchester, April 27, 1803; d Vienna, Nov 23, 1848). German critic, composer and teacher. The son of a Hanau merchant who had settled in Manchester, he was taken as a child to Germany. He studied law in Jena, Berlin, Heidelberg and Leiden, taking a doctorate despite his prosecution for ‘demagogic activities’; his first compositions date from this time. Already an ardent revolutionary, in whom Wagner detected ‘a certain wildness and vehemence’ (Mein Leben), he held various posts in rapid succession, including those of lawyer in Elberfeld (c1830), editor of a Cologne commercial newspaper founded by his father, the Handelsblatt (1834), and critic for the Kölner Zeitung and Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. On the failure of the Handelsblatt, he devoted himself entirely to music. After the death of his father and his wife he moved to The Hague to teach theory and aesthetics at the Royal Music School (...