Spohr the man

Spohr won an enormous reputation during the nineteenth century as a composer, violin virtuoso, conductor and teacher, as well as being renowned for his upright, noble character.   He was a man of convinced liberal and democratic beliefs who was not afraid of speaking out against the repression and autocracy which abounded during his lifetime in the small German principalities.   His contemporaries saw his upright character translated into physical terms as, unusually for his time, he was over six feet in height.

Spohr leading a string ensemble at his home

Spohr was the antithesis of the lonely, tormented artist.   He enjoyed a happy family life;  he loved parties, was a gifted painter, an enthusiastic rose-grower, a keen swimmer, ice-skater and hiker, and he played chess, billiards, dominoes, whist and ball games.   As well as visiting cultural attractions such as art galleries and churches, he toured factories, mines and other industrial installations, all in the pursuit of knowledge.   His interest in politics was keen, and during the short-lived German national parliaments following the 1830 and 1848 revolutions he listened to as many debates as possible.