Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cramer, Franz

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CRAMER, FRANZ or FRANÇOIS (1772–1848), violinist, the second son of Wilhelm Cramer [q. v.], was born at Schwetzingen, near Mannheim, in 1772. He joined his father in London when very young. As a child he was so delicate that he was not allowed to study, but, his health improving, he studied the violin with his father, by whom he was placed in the opera band without salary at the age of seventeen. In 1793 his name occurs as leader of the second violins at the Canterbury festival, and in the following year he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Musicians. On his father's death he succeeded to his post as leader of the Antient concerts, and it is related that George III used to give him the right tempi when Handel's compositions were performed. He also acted as leader at the Philharmonic concerts, most of the provincial festivals, and at the coronation of George IV, and on the foundation of the Royal Academy of Music was appointed one of the first professors. In 1834 he succeeded Christian Kramer as master of the king's band. Towards the end of his life Cramer sustained a severe shock in the death of his second son, François, who died of consumption just after taking his degree at Oxford. He never recovered from this blow, though he continued working almost until the last. He retired from the conductorship of the Antient concerts in 1844, and died at Westbourne Grove, Tuesday, 25 July 1848.

Cramer was a respectable performer, but no genius; he rarely attempted solos, and had no talent for composition. He was all through his life overshadowed by his celebrated elder brother, to whom he was much devoted. There is an engraved portrait of him by Gibbon, after Watts, and a lithograph by C. Motte, after Minasi, published in Paris.

[Pohl's Mozart und Haydn in London; Fétis's Biographies des Musiciens; Musical World, 5 Aug. 1848; Cazalet's Hist. of the Royal Academy of Music; Musical Recollections of the Last Century; Life of Moscheles.]

W. B. S.