Franz Limmer (October 2, 1808 – January 19, 1857), was an Austrian composer, conductor and musical performer.
He was born in Matzleinsdorf, a suburb of Vienna, and died in Temeswar, the present-day Timişoara in the Banat district of Romania which was then part of Hungary, which in turn was a part of the Habsburg empire.
Franz Limmer was the only son of a businessman who owned a silk mill in Vienna. His father originally meant for him to take over the business, but as Franz was more interested in music than anything else, he was permitted to choose a musical career. From age 10 he studied the violin and guitar with a teacher named Klein, and when he left school he entered the Vienna Conservatory, where he studied the cello with Josef Hartinger (1811 – 1878) and the clarinet with Joseph Friedlowsky (ca. 1777 – 1859). On his graduation he received a silver honours medal with a portrait of Mozart, with his name and the date engraved on the back. This honour led to his immediate acceptance in the Viennese circle of performers. Encouraged by his success he took up the study of harmony, figured bass, composition and scoring with two teachers, Erasmus Kessler and Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried (1776–1841).
At age 17 he started work on his first Mass, which was performed in the Augustinerkirche before he was 18. This drew attention to him as a composer, and a productive period followed.
In 1834 at age 26 Limmer was invited to accept the post of conductor at the German Theater in Timișoara by its director, Theodor Müller. The theater ran up to 15 opera productions a year, including local premieres of Beethoven's Fidelio and Verdi's Ernani, Macbeth, Il Trovatore and Othello. He wrote his Grand Quintuor for piano, violin, viola, violoncello and double bass, op.13 in this period among many other works. A year later he was appointed choir director of the Timișoara Cathedral as the successor of the late Joseph Kratochwill.
Limmer stayed in Timișoara until his death.
Limmer was not averse to musical innovation. According to the Timișoara journalist and historian Béla Schiff, he conducted a concert of church music by the Cathedral choir with accompaniment by mounted hussars blowing military trumpets on 17 July 1842 on the occasion of the laying of the first brick for a new infantry barracks. Also in less experimental performances he liked to set church music to an accompaniment by winds.
He was an accomplished cellist. His works include a trio for three cellos and a quartet for four cellos besides a string quartet and the piano quintet with double bass.
Most of Limmer's works have not appeared in print, and he does not appear to have been very prolific.
According to his biographer and personal friend Frigyes Pesty, the following compositions by Limmer were in the Temeswar church archives in 1859:
- Great Mass with complete orchestra in G major
- Mass with chamber orchestra in C major
- Great Mass with orchestra in F major
- Missa brevis with chamber orchestra in B major
- Offertorium with clarinet solo in F major
- Offertorium for horn in E flat major
- Offertorium with obbligato winds in F major
- Graduale with orchestra and vocals
- Great Ecce Sacerdos in E flat major
- Small Ecce Sacerdos in D major
- 49 Hymni vespertini for all Sundays and holidays
- 4 Stations for Corpus Christi with wind accompaniment
- Te Deum with winds
- 2 Hymns “Domine non sum dignum”, in E flat and F major
- 1 Requiem in B major
- Sonata for piano and viola in G minor
- “A very beautiful overture and several short pieces”
The following works by Limmer have appeared in print:
- Offertorium with Violin solo, published by Diabelli and dedicated to Canonicus Róka
- String quartet Op.10 (Vienna: P.Mechetti qm. Carlo, ca.1830; new edition Munich:Musik Südost) (see also klassika)
- Quartet for four celli in E flat major Op.11. Vienna: P.Mechetti qm. Carlo, ca.1830; new edition Amsterdam: A.J.Heuwekemeijer, 1970. (probably no longer in print; see klassika)
- Trio for three celli Op.12. Leipzig : Cranz, 1831 (see klassika)
- Grand Quintuor pour le Pianoforte avec Accompagnement de Violon, Viola, Violoncelle et Basse composé et dedié Monsieur Rémond Härtel par François Limmer Oeuv. 13, Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1835 (see klassika) (free score in IMSLP)
- Dr. Franz Metz (2007). "Franz Limmer" (in German). Munich: Musikverlag EDITION MUSIK SÜDOST. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- Article by Dr. Franz Metz in German.
- The Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet has recorded Limmer's piano quintet, playing on period instruments.
- Free scores by Franz Limmer at the International Music Score Library Project