Josef Gung'l - Encyclopedia

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JOSEF GUNG'L (1810-1889), Hungarian composer and conductor, was born on the 1st of December 1810, at Zsambek, in Hungary. After starting life as a school-teacher, and learning the elements of music from Ofen, the school-choirmaster, he became first oboist at Graz, and, at twenty-five, bandmaster of the 4th regiment of Austrian artillery. His first composition, a Hungarian march, written in 1836, attracted some notice, and in 1843 he was able to establish an orchestra in Berlin. With this band he travelled far, even (in 1849) to America. It is worth recording that Mendelssohn's complete Midsummer Night's Dream music is said to have been first played by Gung'1's band. In 1853 he became bandmaster to the 23rd Infantry Regiment at Briinn, but in 1864 he lived at Munich, and in 1876 at Frankfort, after (in 1873) having conducted with great success a series of promenade concerts at Covent Garden, London. From Frankfort Gung'l went to Weimar to live with his daughter, a well-known German opera singer and local prima donna. There he died, on the 31st of January 1889. Gung'1's dances number over 300, perhaps the most popular being the "Amoretten," "Hydropaten," "Casino," "Dreams on the Ocean" waltzes; "In Stiller Mitternacht" polka, and "Blue Violets" mazurka. His Hungarian march was transcribed by Liszt. His music is characterized by the same easy flowing melodies and well-marked rhythm that distinguish the dances of Strauss, to whom alone he can be ranked second in this kind of composition.

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