Heart's Musical Memories
Art by Norman E. Masters
From page 427 of GROVE'S DICTIONARY OF MUSIC & MUSICIANS, Volume 3, M - P ~~ (Theodore Presser Company, Philadelphia, PA. 1916, Edited by J. A. Fuller Maitland, M.A., F.S.A., Copyright 1907):
OESTEN, Theodor, born at Berlin, Dec. 31, 1813, learned various instruments, both wind and string, from Politzki, Stadtmusicus of Furstenwald, a small town between Berlin and Frankfort-on-the-Oder. At nineteen he went to Berlin, and studied composition with Bohmer, Rungenhagen, Schneider, and A. W. Bach, but before this he had written a quantity of dance-music, variations, etc. He also learned the clarinet from Tanne, a Kammermusicus. He was soon in great request as a teacher, and in 1843 his PF. rondo called "Les premieres Violettes," cleverly written in the sentimental taste of the day, had an enormous success, and was followed by a host of similar pieces, easy to play and with attractive titles, which ruled the market for many years. He had many more or less successful imitators, his own son Max among the number. Oesten died March 16, 1870. F.G.
i did look for his name in the latest edition of GROVE'S a few years ago and there was no entry for Theodor Oesten at all.
When i spent some hours at the library at Oakland University (outside Rochester, Michigan -- not the California university) i located (i am remembering from about 25 years ago) three references to Oesten at that time. One source it was just a line or two (birth, death, repeating what was in the other two.)
The other source (i forget what reference volume it was; it was one i'd never been aware even existed before) is where the writer thereof made mention that Oesten was considered -- in Germany, during his time, to be the greatest German composer since Beethoven. That source, too, must be the one that made mention that he *had* written one piano concerto (which would've been a serious classical pianist undertaking -- showing aspirations & talent beyond just writing popular music for the time). This person (if i'm not faultily remembering -- & my memory is distortive at times, much as i wish it weren't) made some kind of dismissive remark about Oesten's music being "sentimental" but that his transcriptions from the operas were notable. i copied all the info down in a notebook at the time, but that notebook has not resurfaced amongst what was packed back for a Major geographical Move in my life.
i've accumulated enuf music that i've been able to try out different composers' transcriptions of the same operatic melodies -- & i have to say that Oesten's treatments are just richer (to my taste) than the styling/transcriptions by others of his contemporaries -- or since.