– composer of Denmark’s first romances

Denmark has a rich singing culture, and we burst into song at any given opportunity. But that tradition would not have developed without the efforts of C.E.F. Weyse. 

Weyse originally came from Altona, on the western outskirts of Hamburg. The father of Danish song was therefore a bit German and a bit Danish at the same time: Altona was then a member of the German Confederation, but was also Danish through a so-called personal union with the Danish royal family. 

His childhood neighbourhood offered plenty of music: Hamburg’s kapellmeister at the time was still Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach – one of the ‘old’ Bach’s sons! Nevertheless, Weyse was sent up to Copenhagen at the age of 15 to gain a solid education. 


His lessons with J.A.P. Schulz (1747-1800) were decisive for him and proved a definite landmark in Danish singing. Schulz was a composer from northern Germany, and was royal conductor in Denmark in the years 1787-1795. He was responsible for the famous collections of Lieder im Volkston – known for Sig månen langsomt hæver (‘The Moon Slowly Rises’). 

Lieder im Volkston was a completely new art form. In Schulz’s own words, the new songs had a “touch of something familiar” about them, a bit like folk songs. But according to the subtitle he gave them, they were to be “sung at the piano” and thus understood as classical pieces for home use. In brief, J.A.P. Schulz was one of the inventors of the ‘simple’ song with piano accompaniment, and thereby of something as new as the romantic lied. The genre became a great inspiration for Weyse, and subsequently for entire generations of Danish composers, as well as, for example, Schubert and Schumann. 

With Schulz’s help, Weyse gained employment as an organist in 1793 at the Reformed Church in Copenhagen, just opposite Rosenborg Castle. However, he did not escape a tormentedly unhappy love affair with his pupil Julie Tutein, which resulted in several years of artistic stagnation. Later, he became organist at Copenhagen Cathedral, and over the years he became recognised as an indispensable figure in the musical life of the city. 

The new singing style is to be found in everything from his beloved collections of morning and evening songs set to B.S. Ingemann’s lyrics to the 1809 singspiel Sovedrikken (‘The Sleeping Draught’), from which Skjøn Jomfru!  luk dit vindue op! (‘Sweet maiden, open your window!’) became a hugely popular hit.

Søren Schauser


Sanct Hansaften-SpilTeklas Sang: Dybt Skoven bruserAdam Oehlenschläger
SovedrikkenDe klare Bølger rulledAdam Oehlenschläger
SovedrikkenSkjøn Jomfru! luk dit Vindue opAdam Oehlenschläger
Ludlams HuleDer er en Øe i LivetAdam Oehlenschläger