Sulzer, Joseph

JOSEPH SULZER (1850-1926)
As the son of the influential Jewish reform cantor Salomon Sulzer, Joseph Sulzer graduated from the Vienna Conservatory in 1869 as one of Karl Schlesinger's best students. He was then employed as solo cellist for the Italian Opera and as a teacher at the Conservatory in Bucharest, where he stayed for four years. In 1875, Sulzer was engaged in the orchestra of the Vienna Court Opera, which he had to give up three years later for health reasons. After recovering, Sulzer was able to take up a position in 1880 as soloist at the Imperial Court Opera in Vienna and was active as a member of the Hellmesberg Quartet from 1882 to '85. From 1892 on, in addition to his work as a cellist and chamber musician, he also worked as a choir director of the Viennese Jewish community. Although the Four Preludes for Organ or Harmonium Op. 10 is verifiably the only work for organ composed by Joseph Sulzer during his time as music director of the Vienna Synagogue, it was neither composed for a specific Jewish festival nor does it take direct reference to Jewish music. However, one of Sulzer's preludes is said to have been performed himself at a festival in the synagogue. The work is entirely in the tradition of romantic organ music and, thanks to its simplicity, offers the performers grateful creative possibilities.

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