Franz Behr

Franz Behr (22 July 1837 – 15 February 1898) was a prolific, but minor, and now almost forgotten, German composer of songs and salon pieces for piano.

Behr was popular at one time, and many of his works were published (his opus numbers reached at least 582, with Royal Gavotte). His works include names such as The Camp of the Gypsies (Im Zigeunerlager, Op. 424 No. 3), Will o' the wisp (Op. 309 No. 2), Valse des Elfes (Op. 497), Perciotta, serenande catalane, and Evening Chimes in the Mountains. He also wrote under the names G. Bachmann (Marche bulgare, Succès-mazurk, Collier de rubis, Paris-valse, Gavotte duchesse, Floréal mazurka) and Charles Godard (La Belle Fileuse, L'Angelus (Op. 65), Danse d'Etoiles - Valse (Op. 66))

However, the only piece of his that appears in the modern-day repertoire is Lachtäubchen, Scherzpolka in F major, Op. 303 (also known by its French title La rieuse, polka badine), and then only in the form of a transcription as a virtuoso piano piece, Polka de W.R., by Sergei Rachmaninoff. The tune was a favourite of Rachmaninoff's father Vassily (the "W. R." in the title refers to his father's initials in the German transliteration, Wassily Rachmaninoff), but it is not known whether Rachmaninoff knew its true author to be Behr, or whether he believed the melody was concocted by his father. Behr was given no mention in the published edition of Polka de W.R., and it was universally believed to be an original work of Rachmaninoff's until the late 20th century, when the true author of the melody was identified. The piece is now generally listed as being by "Behr/Rachmaninoff", or "Behr, arr. Rachmaninoff".

Birth and Death Data: Born July 22nd, 1837, Died February 15th, 1898

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1907 - 1927

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-4496 10-in. 5/16/1907 Woodland echoes Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor B-11364 10-in. 12/14/1911 Evening on the sea Neapolitan Trio Instrumental trio composer  
Victor B-30786 10-in. 9/8/1924 Serenade Hazel Gertrude Kinscella Piano solo, with orchestra (for instruction) composer  
Victor BVE-30786 10-in. 8/11/1926 Serenade Hazel Gertrude Kinscella Piano solo, with orchestra (for instruction) composer  
Victor BVE-38070 10-in. 6/3/1927 Camp of gypsies Victor Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Columbia 90088 10-in. Etude, Opus 424, No. 3 Columbia Miniature Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Edison 3378 10-in. between 10/20/1914 and 10/29/1914 Evening chimes in the mountains Edison Concert Band Band composer  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Behr, Franz," accessed October 23, 2021,

Behr, Franz. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from

"Behr, Franz." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 23 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier



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