Biography of Popp Wilhelm:
Wilhelm Popp was a famous German composer, flautist and pianist, of such eminence that he was known virtually throughout Europe as the ‘Czerny of the flute’, he composed over 600 works, very many of them for flute (often with piano), but including a noted setting of the Stabat Mater. Almost all of Popp’s compositions were published in his lifetime, and in the late 1860s he became first flute of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra. His ‘Rigoletto’ Fantasie capitalised on the instantaneous success of Verdi’s masterpiece, which was first produced in 1851 (Liszt’s solo piano paraphrase appeared in 1859), Popp soon followed this work with his ‘La Traviata’ Waltz Opus 378, also based of course upon Verdi’s later opera which was first produced – also at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice - in 1853.
However, La Traviata was not a success at the first performance, and only achieved fame after the composer made several changes to his original score. But with these operas, Verdi’s national and international reputation was relatively quickly assured, following his earlier successes, and in the days before international copyright, the availability of the music of such works as Rigoletto and La Traviata (as well, of course, as other contemporary operas and ballets) meant that arrangements and transcriptions soon entered the public domain.