BÉLA KÉLER (1820 - 1882)
One of the great composers of popular music whose career straddled that of Johann Strauss father and son, Béla Kéler, was a Hungarian of Slovak origin, and another musician who studied and worked in Vienna. His best-known work, Csárdás Bártfai émlek, Op. 31 is never heard of under his name, but as Hungarian Dance No. 5 which Brahms imitated in its entirety, with the exception of one additional movement. Béla Kéler is otherwise known for his many concert overtures, such as his Ungarishe Lustpiel, Op. 73, but he was a highly gifted dance composer too, and wrote many waltzes, polkas, csardas and marches. He conducted both Lanner’s orchestra in Vienna, and that of Josef Gung’l in Berlin. He too had a period as an Austrian bandmaster, but then moved to Wiesbaden in Germany as music director of the spa orchestra, where he retired. He toured extensively in mainland Europe as well as conducting promenade concerts in London’s Covent Garden. He wrote some 139 published works and his style was clearly different from most of the other composers.