You are here

The Top 10 One-Hit Wonders in classical music

Features - Classical Music

The Top 10 One-Hit Wonders in classical music

by Greg Keane on February 29, 2012 (February 29, 2012) filed under Classical Music | Comment Now
Know the tune, but can’t think who composed it? Meet 10 members of classical music’s one-hit club.

Henry Charles Litolff (1818-1891)
Concerto Symphonique No 4 (Scherzo)

Litolff was born in London to a Scottish mother and Alsatian father, who was taken to London as a prisoner while fighting for Napoleon. Henry’s life was similarly rich in incident. At the age of 17,  he eloped to Gretna Green in Scotland with a 16-year-old girl, then left for France. In 1844, he returned to England to obtain a divorce but was imprisoned for adultery and fined heavily, but was helped to escape by the gaoler’s daughter. He then returned to Europe and became friends with a music publisher (who conveniently died) and then married his widow in 1851. They in turn divorced in 1858. Litolff composed four Concertos Symphoniques which are essentially symphonies with piano obbligato. Only the elfin scherzoof the fourth, composed in 1852, is performed today. A piano virtuoso, Litolff was also the dedicatee of Franz Liszt’s First Piano Concerto.

Another work by Litolff you might like:
Concerto Symphonique No 2 in B minor, 1844