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date: 28 September 2020

Uhlig, Theodorlocked

  • John Warrack
  •  and James Deaville


(b Wurzen, nr Leipzig, Feb 15, 1822; d Dresden, Jan 3, 1853). German theorist, critic and composer. The illegitimate son of King Friedrich August II of Saxony, he studied with Friedrich Schneider in Dessau (1837–40) and joined the Dresden orchestra as a violinist in 1841. Although he was initially hostile to Wagner, study of Tannhäuser and of the essay on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (1846) turned him into one of the earliest, most loyal and most articulate of Wagner's defenders. His ‘great seriousness and his quiet but unusually firm character’ attracted the attention of Wagner, who also wrote in his autobiography that Uhlig ‘had grasped with clear understanding and perfect agreement those very tendencies of mine which many musicians of apparently wider culture than his own regarded with almost despairing horror, as being dangerous to the orthodox practice of their art’. He remained a close friend of Wagner, whose correspondence with him is filled with enlightening personal and professional details (Uhlig's letters to Wagner have not survived). With Uhlig's untimely death to consumption in ...

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