A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Lwoff, Alexis

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LWOFF, Alexis, violinist, composer, and writer on musical subjects, was born at Reval in 1799 [App. p.706 "May 25"]. His father, a high Russian government official, made him enter a military career, but not without having previously given him an excellent musical and general education. Owing to his many brilliant qualities he quickly advanced to high military rank, and in 1836 we find him at the same time a general, personal adjutant to the Emperor, and chief-director of the music at the Imperial Court and of the singers in the Imperial chapel, to which last post he succeeded on the death of his brother Theodor in 1836.

His merits as a violinist, especially as quartet-player, were fully recognised at Berlin, Leipzig, Paris, and other places. Schumann is loud in praise of his thoroughly musical style of playing (Ges. Schriften, iii. 216). It is however as the composer of the Russian National Hymn that his name will be perpetuated. This hymn, a simple but noble strain, well known in England through the version of the late Mr. Chorley, included in Hullah's 'Part Music,' and often used as a hymn tune, met in Russia with a most enthusiastic reception, and is now the universally adopted National Anthem of that country. Lwoff has published a violin-concerto, 2 fantasias for violin, 4 operas, and a number of sacred choruses for the services of the Imperial Chapel. He also harmonised the traditional chants and tunes of the Russian Church, and edited them in eleven volumes.

Lwoff died on his property in the province of Kowno, Dec. 28, 1870, having suffered for 20 years from a very distressing affliction of his organs of hearing. Berlioz and he were much allied. They first met in St. Petersburg in 1847, and the volume of the correspondence of the former, recently published, contains two letters addressed to him.

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