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  Jan Ladislav Dussek was born in 1760 in Caslav, Bohemia. His parents were both musicians – the father Jan Josef Dussek (1738 - 1818) was organist and composer, the mother Veronika was a harpist. From childhood on, Dussek received piano instruction and later on organ instruction. He attended the Jesuit elementary school in Iglau and grammar school in the mining town of Kutna Hora. Following just two years of school and studies at the Charles University in Prague (1776 - 1778) he traveled in 1779 in that part of the Netherlands which is known today as Belgium, to Mechelen (the region from which Beethoven’s family originally came). Here Dussek appeared for the first time as a pianist and continued to conzertize in the region, eventually finding employment at the municipal court of Wilhelm the V as a piano teacher. In 1782 he is reported to have been in Hamburg, where was most likely a student of C.P.E. Bach, who held him in high esteem and who no doubt provided a decisive impulse for Dussek’s further artistic development. In 1783 found Dussek in Russia where he appeared at the court of the Czar in St.Petersburg; shortly thereafter he had to flee the country in the wake of the plot against Katharine II and later found refuge at the court of Prince Karl Radziwill in Lithuania. From 1784 - 1786 he conzertized again in Germany, not only on the piano, but also on the glassharmonica. He then settled in Paris where his playing found favor with the queen Marie-Antoinette. 1786 - 1789 he remained in Paris as pianist, composer and pedagogue, leaving only once to visit his brother Frantisek Benedikt Dussek (1766 - after 1816), a composer of opera and instrumental music in Milan.

  Early in 1789 – possibly even before the revolution – Dussek left France for England. His first known performance in London was on June 1, 1789. In 1792 he married the singer, pianist and harpist Sofia, the daughter of the music publisher Domenico Corri and founded the publishing house of Corri, Dussek & Co. Josef Haydn made Dussek’s acquaintance during his London visits, and as such was the only one of the Viennese classical composers to meet this international colleague. Haydn expressed his praise and admiration for Dussek in words previously used only in regard to Mozart) as “a most upright man of integrity, culture and – concerning music – most excellent”.

  In London, Dussek was among the first to encourage piano makers – among them John Broadwood – to extend the 5-octave compass of their fortepianos and to strive for a more robust tone. Dussek’s concerts must have been very effective and he is reported to have appeared in together with Josef Haydn in the famous Salomon-Concerts (1791 and again in 1794). Dussek’s sister Veronika (1769-1833), pianist, singer and harpist as well, came to London at his request and later married a London music dealer.

  Meanwhile, Dussek’s own publishing business amassed such debts that Dussek was forced to leave family and debtors behind, fleeing London for Hamburg. Dussek spent the years 1800 - 1807 mainly in Germany, from which location he made at least one celebrated concert tour through his original home Bohemia, visiting the place of his birth, Easlav. The composer and pianist Jan Václav Tomasek mentions that Dussek was the first pianist to place the piano sideways on the concert podium - most likely so that the audience could admire his attractive profile.

  By 1804, Dussek could afford to enter the service of Prince Lois Ferdinand of Prussia as an unsalaried pianist and Kapellmeister. Louis Ferdinand and Dussek were close friends who both enjoyed "spirited" festivities in which other prominent colleagues such as Louis Spohr and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also participated. Louis Ferdinand was also an outstanding pianist (Beethoven dedicated his c minor piano concerto to the prince) and composer; Louis Ferdinand died in the battle of Saalfeld in 1806 at the hands of Napoleon’s swordsmen. On the occasion of Louis Ferdinand’s death, Dussek composed perhaps his best-known piano sonata "Elegie harmonique sur la mort de Prince Louis Ferdinand de Prusse"op. 61.

  Following a short period of employment at the court of Prince von Isenburg, Dussek went finally to Paris, this time in the service of Talleyrand. He appeared in numerous concerts in which he played now on French pianos. In the last years of his life, Dussek seems to have become uncharacteristically phlegmatic and – not disinclined to the physical pleasures, be became dangerously obese and died ultimately of gout in 1812.


  Jan Ladislaus Dussek composed primarily for the piano and for his own concert appearances, but he also pursued vigorously the publication and distribution of his works. 14 piano concertos, among them one for two pianos and orchestra, 3 harp concertos (also playable on the piano), piano trios, chamber music with piano, sonatas for piano 4 hands and above all the sonatas for solo piano bear witness to Dusseks preference for this universal instrument. A number of his programmatic pieces portray actual contemporary – often political – events. Dussek composed no symphonies per se.

  Many of his works appeared in numerous different editions, the most popular being often the least interesting pieces which has not helped Dussek’s reputation. Generally, the expression and originality of Dussek’s works were praised, his somewhat relaxed attitude in regard to parallel fifths and octaves as well as his preference for enharmonic relationships brought forth objections – particularly from conservatives and purists; these passages tend however, to be more visible than audible.

  Although Dussek’s piano music clearly foreshadows the Romantic period, his name is not at all mentioned in connection with Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Moscheles and Chopin. Still, from 1860 - 1880 new editions of his piano sonatas were published by both Breitkopf & Härtel as well as Litolff. The over-riding preoccupation (i.e. hero-worship) of Beethoven into the late 19th century, under which even Haydn and Mozart suffered to some extent, probably accounts for Dussek’s name slipping into obscurity. Again in 1958 the piano sonatas appeared in a modern edition in the series Musica Antiqua Bohemica but the piano concertos (with the exception of op. 22, op. 15/26 and op. 63) and most of the chamber music await reissue and remain to be taken up again in the repertoire of fortepianists or modern pianists.


    The piano concerto in g-minor op. 49/50 was probably composed in Germany, after Dussek’s departure from England, between 1799 and – at the latest – 1801. The first printed edition by Érard in Paris appeared in 1801 as op. 49. The London edition of op. 49 by Clementi & Co. as well as the (revised) Leipzig edition by Breitkopf & Härtel appearing as op. 50 followed in 1803. B. & H. announced its publication in the Intelligenzblatt zur Allgemeinen Musikalischen Zeitung of November 16, 1803. Performances on February 2, 1802 in Hamburg and on November 18, 1802 in Leipzig were met with favorable praise; the composer seems to have played the work regularly in his concerts from 1801 on.

  Dussek’s colleague G.B. Viotti (1755 - 1824), who, like him, had also gone to England in 1792 (and with whom Dussek also appeared in concert) had already composed a piano concerto in g-minor (1791 - 1794) which was intended to be played on either the older or newer fortepianos (with “extra” keys); Mozart’s c minor piano concerto had also just appeared in print (parts only) for the first time already in 1799 by André. Possibly this was enough encouragement for Dussek to compose a concerto in minor for himself. All speculation aside, the result is a completely successful concerto for piano and orchestra characterized by a unity and consistency rarely encountered. It can unreservedly be said that the work represents – in its expressive content and in the in the development of the genre – a milestone in the transition from late classical style toward that of the Romantic era, and that its Wertherian touch (after Goethe's novel in letters "The sufferings of young Werther". 1774) makes it truly the first romantic concerto.

   Clementi (in his C major piano concerto, 1796), A. Rejcha (in his only concerto in E-flat, 1804) and L. E. Jadin (in his d minor concerto, 1810) were clearly influenced by Dussek's piano style. Around 1820, Clementi's student Klengel, Beethoven's student Ries, and Moscheles all extensively "borrowed" from Dussek’s g minor concerto for their own concertos in e minor, op. 29, c sharp minor op. 55, and g minor, op. 58/60, resp. - in an almost overt plagiarism! But Dussek himself also had modeled his own last piano concerto in E-flat op. 70 (1810) after his g-minor concerto: the 3/4 time, the pattern of the lyrical main AND the march-like side theme, the piano figuration, the modulations and the culmination in the development, all this contributing to a spitting image of the masterwork. Although itself not a seemingly uninspired and superficial (virtuoso) concerto, op. 70 clearly demonstrates that Dussek's original creativity had declined and that he most likely plagiarized himself. Later, Dussek's pattern of the g minor-concerto's piano solo entry and the figuration was followed also by Hummel (a minor concerto, op. 85, and F major concerto, op. posth. 1) and Kalkbrenner (d minor concerto, op. 61), and his style still is present in Chopin's f minor and e minor concertos.

  Compared to Beethoven’s c minor piano concerto op. 37 composed in the “academic” (gelehrt) manner at the same time, the Dussek g minor concerto is “con foco ed anima” of a more open pathos, more expressive, more extrovert, more compact and gives the impression of a uniform piece.


Schiffer, L. (1914) J. L. Dussek, seine Sonaten und seine Konzerte, Diss. Univ. of Munich, Reprint New York: Da Capo Press 1972
Craw, H.A. (1964) A biography and thematic catalogue of the works of Jan Ladislav Dussek, Diss. Univ. of Southern California.
Engel , H. (1926) Die Entwicklung des deutschen Klavierkonzerts von Mozart bis Liszt, Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel 1926
AMZ, Intelligenzblatt, 16. Nov. 1803 (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien)

WORKS available or in preparation:

piano concerto in F, op. 14 (1789) (ed. Fuller);
piano concerto in F, op. 17 (1792) (ed. Fuller);
piano concerto in g, op. 50 (1803) (ed. Fuller)

©1997, 2000 by Richard Fuller


  Johann Nepomuk Hummel was born on November 14, 1778 in Preßburg (Poszony in the Hungarian language and Bratislava today), the son of National Theater conductor Johann Hummel. He began music instruction at the age of three, playing the violin fluently at five and the piano at six. When his father became the music director of the Theater auf der Wieden, the family moved to Vienna where the young prodigy was welcomed as a student and family member in Mozart’s home for two years. In 1788, at Mozart’s suggestion, Hummel and his father began a highly successful tour of Bohemia, Germany, Denmark, England and the Netherlands which was to last for four years.

  By 1793 Hummel was back in Vienna studying with Albrechtsberger, Salieri and Joseph Haydn, and teaching as many as ten piano lessons each day. The beginning of the professional rivalry between Hummel and Beethoven, who studied wth the same masters, most likely dates from this period.

  In 1804, at Haydn’s recommendation, Hummel became concert master and de facto Kapellmeister at Prince Esterhazy’s court in Eisenstadt. He conducted the prince’s orchestra, directed operas, taught lessons, composed liturgical and dramatic music and served as archivist for Haydn’s manuscripts. Apparently the young Hummel was never well-accepted as a successor to the courtly and revered Papa Haydn.

  By 1811 he was back in Vienna, an increasingly respected piano teacher, conductor, free lance composer, and concert organizer. On December 8, 1813 a notable gathering of musical luminaries assisted Beethoven in the premiere of Wellington’s Victory (a. k. a. the Battle Symphony): Beethoven conducted with assistance from Salieri and Weigel; Spohr and Schuppanzigh were among the violinists; Hummel and Meyerbeer hit the big bass drum; and Moscheles recorded the event in his diary for posterity. Relations between Hummel and Beethoven were at a high point.

  In 1813 Hummel married Vienna Imperial Opera singer Elisabeth Röckl. Inspite of a well-received series of concert appearances during the Congress of Vienna, the pressures of an expanding family forced Hummel to leave Vienna in search of greater financial stability. After a brief stint as theater director in Stuttgart, Hummel became Grand-ducal Kapellmeister in Weimar where he remained from 1819 until his death in 1837. His new position allowed him sufficient time to compose - indeed, he rarely lacked commissions - and to make annual concert tours. Although Goethe was doubtlessly the most famous personality in Weimar, Hummel was no less respected as a musician. The author and musician, both members of the Amalia Freemason lodge, became friends and artistic collaborators. It was at Goethe’s house that Hummel first heard the eleven year old Felix Mendelssohn in November 1821.

  In 1826 Hummel was named an honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. He visited the deathly ill Beethoven in 1827, later serving as a pall bearer with his friend and student Ferdinand Hiller. In Vienna he also met Franz Schubert who wished to dedicate his last three piano sonatas to the older master. Indeed, Hummel was on the friendliest terms with most of the great composers of his day, from Haydn and Mozart in his youth, to Field and Chopin in the 1820’s. He was also among the first composers (together with Beethoven, Weber, Moscheles and Spohr) to call for a copyright law as early as in 1825 to prevent the malpractice of unauthorized reprints and arrangements.

  In Weimar and Vienna Hummel became a beloved elder statesman, known equally for his honesty, modesty, gregariousness, sense of humor and his keen business sense. His personality stood in stark contrast both to the brilliant, unapproachable Goethe and to the brooding, prickly Beethoven.

  Hummel was a famous, highly-paid teacher whose pupils included Mendelssohn (briefly), Adolf Henselt, Ferdinand Hiller and Sigismund Thalberg. His piano-forte method remains one of the most important sources for late Viennese performance practice. As a pianist, Hummel’s playing was both more precise and more transparent than Beethoven’s, although both composers were known for their extraordinary improvisations. Hummel was undoubtedly one of the first great piano virtuosos: audience members reportedly stood on their chairs to watch him execute double trills, much as audiences would stand to watch Vladimir Horowitz play double octaves a century later. Although Beethoven’s friend Franz Oliva, a bitter partisan in the Hummel/Beethoven rivalry, claimed that “...Hummel cannot sing on the instrument, he merely plays passage work... (Conversation Book XIII, May 1820),” Goethe reflected more commonly held sentiments when he stated that “Hummel handles the piano the way Napoleon handles the world.” (Conversations With Eckermann, April 1829).

  Karl Benyovszky’s J. N. Hummel: der Mensch und Künstler (Bratislava, 1934) remains the most important biography of Hummel. A comprehensive list of the composer’s works has been published by Zimmerschied (1971) and Sachs (in The New Grove Dictionary, 1980). Although he wrote extensively for the piano (solos, duos, chamber music and concertos), he contributed to all musical forms except to the symphony. His works include operas, Singspiels, symphonic masses, chamber works for many instrumental combinations, songs, variations, concertos and numerous arrangements. His trumpet and bassoon concertos remain in the repertoire today. His stage works, perhaps because of weak librettos, and sacred masses are rarely performed. “Lighter” works such as his dances and Scottish folksongs have entirely disappeared from the repertory.

  Hummel’s style grew out of Mozart’s and Haydn’s and was influenced by the London Pianoforte School (Clementi and Dussek) and Beethoven. Although he never abandoned classical phrase structure and form, he did influence some of the formal procedures (fore-shortened sonata recapitulations, for example) of Chopin. The last of a line of Viennese composers which stretched from Haydn and Mozart through Beethoven and Schubert, Hummel’s death in 1837 marked the end of a musical era.


  Hummel’s Concerto, op.17 in G Major for fortepiano, violin and orchestra is an excellent example of the late Viennese classical style, demonstrating the composer’s mastery at every level: chord structure, voice leading, phrase shape, melodic contour, counterpoint, harmonic progression and formal construction. Hummel’s inclusion of a figured bass line further emphasizes the classical concept that the underlying harmonic organization generates the form.

  The solo fortepiano and violin parts are virtuosic for the period, attesting to the composer’s intimate knowledge of both instruments. For commercial reasons Hummel wrote for the early, Mozart-era fortepiano with a range of FF to f’’’, but included many right hand ossia passages for a more modern instrument with a range extending upward to c’’’’. The two solo parts are given traditional concerto grosso roles within the tutti texture, and in their solo roles they function both independently and in support (accompaniment, obbligato) of each other. The first movement cadenza appears in the first edition, most likely written by the composer. It is mostly measured, but allows for some improvisation at the end.


Benyovszky K. (1934): Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Der Mensch und Künstler. Eos-Verlag, Bratislava
Zimmerschied D. (1971): Thematisches Verzeichnis der Werke J. N. Hummels, F. Hofmeister, Hofheim/Ts.
Sachs J. (1974): A checklist of the works of J. N. Hummel, Notes 30 (1973 - 1974), 732
Sachs J. (1980): J. N. Hummel, in: The New Grove Dictionary of Music, 781 - 788

piano-violin double concerto op. 17 (ed. Strauss/Strauss)

©1998 by John F. and Virginia F. Strauss

HYACINTHE JADIN (1776 - 1800)

  The fortepiano made its early appearance in France through the Alsace: in Strasbourg Gottfried Sil-bermann established the first workshop for piano making; pianist/composers from the Alsace (Jean-Antoine Honauer, Nicolas Joseph Hüllmandel and Jean-Frederic Edelmann) and Germany (Johann Schobert, Johann Gottfried Eckard) formed the famous “school of pianists in Paris” (École des Pian-istes Parisiens) – Hüllmandel, Schobert and Eckard had studied with Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Mo-zarts piano concerto in Eb K. 271, composed for Mlle. Jeunehomme, had been presumably published in Paris for the first time, and later the young Jan Ladislav (Jean-Louis) Dussek attracted considerable attention as a brilliant pianist and virtuoso. For the younger generation, however, the opera and later the revolutionary music was the more interesting and also a more highly-rated genre. Especially tragic is the short creative period of the greatest hope for a modern, expressive piano style: Hyacinthe Jadin died at the age of 24, a victim of consumption.

  The data concerning Jadin’s life are as scarce as his years (Castinel 1991): On April 27, 1776, he was born at Versailles as the son of a regularly employed court musician and bassoonist of the royal orchestra. His brother Louis-Emanuel, later famous for his dramatic works, and Hyacinthe were the most talented among five musically gifted brothers.

  Nicolas Joseph Hüllmandel, himself a student of C. P. E. Bach and composer of piano sonatas and pedagogical works, apparently gave Hyacinthe Jadin a solid musical education, just as Neefe was in-structing the young Beethoven at the same time. However, time was not the best for piano music and concerts, and the worst fate hit the lawyer, composer, and ardent revolutionary Jean-Fredéric Edelmann: he was not to survive the Grand Terreur of Robespierre. Already in May 1789, after the first pre-revolutionary riots, but before the storming of the Bastille, Dussek had fled to England. In the same year the 13-year old Jadin appeared at the Concerts Spirituels performing a concerto of his own compo-sition. By 1790, Hüllmandel had fled Paris for London. The young composer had to rely on himself.

 From 1794 onwards, four volumes of piano sonatas, op. 3, 4, 5, and 6, each containing three sonatas, were published. Three piano concertos are among the few examples of this genre which was somewhat overshadowed at the time by revolutionary and republican open-air music. (A hymn in 1794 on the first anniversary of January 21, the execution of the citizen capet, former king Louis XVI of France, sen-tenced to death for high treason, a hymn to agriculture in 1796, and an overture for 13 wind instruments were Jadin’s contribution to this time both by conviction and commitment). At the founding of the Conservatoire in 1795 he was designated professor of the ladies’ piano class.

  At the end of the 18th century, tuberculosis meant certain death, the symptom of a blood-stained cough being the first sign. Jadin’s condition worsened; ultimately Napoleon himself exempted the com-poser from military service. On September 22, 1799, Jadin performed in public for the last time. His end could hardly have been more tragic, dying in poverty on September 26, 1800, – the Conservatoire still owed him some monthly salaries in this time of political unrest. There are no known portraits, and the piano sonatas presented here are among the first new editions after 200 years.

  Jadin’s piano sonatas might easily be attributed to Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, even before Beethoven’s first sonatas op. 2 and 20 years before Schubert. We can hardly imagine what Jadin might have achieved had he lived to artistic maturity; his piano music would perhaps have approached that of Mozart, Dussek or Beethoven in scope and content, and perhaps not only Vienna would have become the center of piano writing...

Castinel N. (1991): Aube d’une vie musicale sous la révolution: la vie et l’oeuvre de Hyacinthe Jadin 1776 - 1800, Lyon 1991
Fuller R. (Ed.) (1997): J. L. Dussek: concerto for piano and orchestra g-minor op. 50, H. Anderle, Vienna 1997
Fuller R. (Ed.) (1999): J. L. Dussek: concerto for piano and orchestra F-major op. 14, H. Anderle, Vienna 1999
Daffner, H. (1906): Die Entwicklung des Klavierkonzerts bis Mozart, Breitkopf und Härtel, Leipzig 1906

WORKS available or in preparation:

piano concerto No. 2 in d (1796?) (ed. Fuller);
piano concerto No. 3 in A (1798) (ed. Fuller);
piano sonatas op. 3 Nr. 1 - 3 (ed. Fuller);
piano sonatas op. 4 Nr. 1 - 3 (ed. Fuller);
piano sonatas op. 5 Nr. 1 - 3 (ed. Fuller);
piano sonatas op. 6 Nr. 1 - 3 (ed. Fuller)

©1999 by Richard Fuller


  It is not without a certain irony that the music of the composer and pedagoge Christian Gottlob Neefe whose life and works had such an impact on the young Beethoven – both musically and philosophically - have until recently been considered unworthy of a new edition. Neefe is, in fact, a paradigm of enlightened emancipation which swept the second half of the 18th century.

  Neefe was born on February 5th, 1748 in Chemnitz, Saxony. He received his first musical training at the municipal school as a choirboy. Later he was the recipient of a stipend which enabled him to undertake legal studies at the University of Leipzig. Upon completion of the doctorate, he dedicated himself exclusively to music, initially as a teacher and then as a performer in the concerts of the Thomaskantor Johann Adam Hiller.

  Leipzig was at that time still a spiritual center in which the legacy of J.S. Bach and his pupils could still be felt. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach continued to shape the musical taste and thought of the day, German literature excercised considerable influence over the various currents of the Enlightenment. Particularly C. F. Gellert in his last lectures concerning moral philosophy doubtless impressed Neefe in his formative years.

  Neefe composed at this time a set of piano sonatas which he dedicated to C. P. E. Bach in 1773 as well as Singspiele, Lieder including some freemasonic Lieder. Already in 1774 Neefe was in contact with the Naumberg Lodge “Zu den drei Hammern“ (Brauneis, 1998), however it is uncertain as to which lodge Neefe actually belonged. In 1776, Neefe followed Hiller – who was engaged as kapellmeister of a traveling theater – and went on tour with the ensemble to Dresden, Mainz, Cologne and finally Frankfurt am Main, where he married the adopted daughter of G. A. Benda, the singer Suzanne Zinck.

  In 1779, Neefe joined the Helmut Großmann- theater company and moved to Bonn. In 1781 he joined also a circle of intellectuals (Geheimbund der Illuminaten) there which sought to realize and uphold the political ideals of the Enlightenment. In 1782 Neefe became court organist to the Archbiship of Cologne, Prince Maximilian Friedrich. His substitute in this post was the young (not yet 12-year-old) Beethoven. In 1784, the son of Maria Theresia, Maximilian Franz, succeded to the position of archbishop and elector. Neefe’s salary as court organist was reduced and the theater closed. Neefe was forced to support himself by giving music instruction. The theater was opened again in 1789, however the freedom torches of the French Revolution cast their light as far as the Rhine. The newly founded literary society, dominated by the politically active Illuminaten (including young Beethoven) heeded the call of freedom. By November, 1792, Beethoven had also left Bonn, headed for Vienna.

  The storm of revolution followed freedom’s enlightenment as the victorious French army pressed on to Bonn and Cologne on the Rhine in 1794, as the Kurfürst was forced to flee, leaving his court behind. Neefe, now city advisor for French requisitions, received the offer of an appointment to a postion as music director in Dessau. On the journey there he met up with the now former elector Maximilian Franz, who summarily discharged him from service. Having arrived in Dessau in 1796, Neefe would enjoy only a brief taste of freedom. He died on January 26, 1798 shortly before his 50th birthday.


  In addition to numerous works for stage, particularly worthy of note are the sacred choral works, and Lieder with clavier accompaniment on texts by Klopstock, Herder and others, as well as Lieder on texts concerning Freemasonry. Among the works for clavier are two easy sonatinas from 1768 (Jugendsonatinen), six “new“ piano sonatas (Leipzig 1773 and 1774), a piano sonata from 1780, six piano sonatas (lost), 1781, variations, polonaises, menuets, a capriccio in c-minor, and a large fantasy in f-minor from 1787; among the chamber works are six violin sonatas from 1776 and one violin sonata from 1780. Of the works for large orchestra only one of three partitas for winds and strings remains extant as well as the only piano concerto, which is herewith published. This concerto was printed by Götz in Mannheim in 1782.

  The piano concerto exhibits a somewhat more south-German character in contrast to similar works of E. W. Wolf, and J. C. F. Bach (Fuller, 1998, 1999). It is playable on the harpsichord as well as on the fortepiano, however requires for a performance on the fortepiano a rather bright but delicate-sounding middle-German instrument (Silbermann, perhaps). Whether the young Beethoven actually performed this concerto or whether it eventually served as an inspiration for a later concertos, also in G-major must remain matters of conjecture.


  Concerning Beethoven’s youth, attitudes and person-ality, the reader is directed to the composer’s letters, diaries and conversation notebooks; Despite both authors’ antipathy to France, several secondary sources (Schiedermair, 1925 and Schmitz, 1927) provide information, unfortunately of questionable reliability. In Neefe’s self-characterization we find a clear expression of protestant ethics and the idealism of the German Enlightenment. The sections quoted here should give the sympathetic reader insight concerning the positive effects of Neefe‘s personal authority on the young Beethoven.


I have a lively imagination, quick emotions, a weak memeory, good judgement and feeling for all that is morally and physically good and beautiful; however these feelings are not always consistently warm.

I admire the religion of the heart, love mankind, hate evil, tolerate mistakes of understanding and excuse weakness of heart. I am diligent, sympathize with those who are unfortunate, but am somewhat hardhearted toward the poor, who are such primarily out of laziness.

I respect the fair sex. My heart tends generally toward friendliness, however I am of late less inclined toward easy friendships, because certain so-called friends have betrayed me thus making me somewhat distrustful and reserved. Toward friendship which has withstood the test of time I am loyal, active, open-hearted and sympa-thetic. I allow every man his personal liberty.

I do not stand on ceremony, etiquette or any forms of flattery. Because of this, I am sometimes regarded (mistakenly) as peculiar or insulting. I have nothing to do with flatterers and gossipmongers.

I love my family and maintain strict discipline and or-der in my home. I require propriety and order from all with whom I have dealings.

In marriage I am also somewhat reserved. I prefer not to have my my general responsibilities and productivity impeded by family and friends.

I am generally very effective, am never lazy or idle, howver mechanical work is practically fatal for me. I must be in the mood to compose. The work which I am at times forced to do without being in the mood are such that I can hardly recognize them later.

I have a tendency toward solitude and the bucolic life. I am both sad and happy, however the former more than the latter. Both of these moods can change very quickly in me, as is the case with most hypochondriacs. In this frame of mind I often see things in the wrong light. I have also at such times an exaggerated sense of thrift, though otherwise money is relatively unimportant to me.

The weather has an especially stong influence on my sense of well-being. At times I am quite sociable, other-times rather cantankerous. Sometimes I am a bit cranky and bitter in expressing myself.

Social standing and titles are unimportant to me, espe-cially when they fail to enhance their owners effectiv-ness in the world. Honor is above all for me the driving force behind all my dealings. I am however, at times either too proud or to modest; at times too clever, at times too fearful. In one moment I can undertake the most difficult of tasks, and at another moment I lack the confidence even to compose a small minuet, or write the cobbler a letter.

I gladly acknowledge the achievements of others, whether they are equal to or superior to my own, even those of my enemies.

I applaud high ideals, courageous negotiation, pictures of child-like or parental affection and rewarded honesty. I cannot bear either excessive pedantry or one-sided taste.

I am gladly independent, but without exaggerating my own importance. Concerning things of whose truth I am convinced or believe myself to be convinced of, I will heatedly defend, sometimes extremely so.

I have an excellent memory for good and charitable deeds from which I have benefited. I am glad to return these favors according to my strength and when I find an opportunity to do so.

I am quick to anger and easy to offend when being made fun of, by attacks on my honor, by interference in my affairs, and by professional irresponsibilitiy; on the other hand I am also easily assuaged and easy reconcile differences. I do not easily make the first move when I have been offended, but certainly when I have offended. I am no vengeful and never allow the whole to suffer for the sake of my private offences, especially when it de-pends wholly or partly on my effectiveness. I hade tak-ing sides. My trust in those who have intentionally betrayed me is difficult to restore.

I like to drink wine, at times more than is probably good for my health; on the other hand however, I refrain from drinking when I have business or work to accom-plish. Otherwise, I am well able to limit my needs ac-cording to my means. I am not tyrannized by current fashions.

The great men of this world I admire, if they are de-cent and good; I respect their laws when they promote the best among my fellow men; I take care to keep my distance from them however. I despise bad regents more than bandits.

I strive for the increase of my knowledge and im-provement of my heart, although here, of course, I struggle with personal weakness, negligence and pas-sions.

C. G. N.


Leux, I. (1925): Christan Gottlob Neefe, Leipzig: Kistner & Siegel 1925
Schiedermair, L. (1925): Der junge Beethoven, Leipzig, Quelle und Meyer 1925
Schmitz, A. (1927): Das romantische Beethovenbild - Darstellung und Kritik, Bonn: F. Dümmler 1927
Brauneis, W. (1998): personal communication on a lecture about C. G. Neefe as a freemason and illuminate
Fuller, R. (1998): Ernst Wilhelm Wolf, concerto for clavier and orchestra in Bb-maj., Vienna: H. Anderle 1998
Fuller, R. (1999): Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, concertos for clavier and orchestra in F, D, and Eb maj., Wien: H. Anderle 2000


Ignaz Joseph Pleyel's biography will soon be available here translated into English. There is a German page of the Internationale Ignaz J. Pleyel-Gesellschaft at his birthplace in Ruppersthal.

JAN KRTITEL VANHAL) (1739 - 1813)

  In the foreword to his book 1791: Mozart’s Last Year (London, 1988), H. C. Robbins Landon remarks that in 1939 only one tenth of Joseph Haydn’s music had been published. Sixty years later one might say the same of Haydn’s contemporary, the prolific and genial composer, Johann Baptiste Wanhal. Fortunately, this lacuna in the rich history of Viennese classical music is being addressed by publishers like Doblinger (primarily chamber works) and H. Anderle (primarily concertos) in Vienna, and Artaria (the complete symphonies) in New Zealand.

  If the groundwork for a systematic Wanhal renaissance appears to be laid, it was Paul Bryan’s dissertation The Symphonies of Johann Wanhal (University of Michigan, 1955) and his comprehensive biography Johann Wanhal: Viennese Symphonist (New York, 1997), as well as Alexander Weinmann’s two volume Themen-Verzeichnis der Kompositionen von Johann Baptiste Wanhal (Vienna, 1987, posthumously completed by Paul Bryan), which made it possible. Weinmann located, identified, and referenced Wanhal’s works in Vienna and its environs, Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Kromeriz and in various other cities in Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia, Russia, Germany, France and England. Both Bryan and Weinmann drew attention to the innumerable gaps in Wanhal’s bibliography, to works of doubtful provenance, and to problems of chronology and dating.

  Although contemporaries like Charles Burney, C. F. D. Schubart and Michael Kelley afford tantalizing glimpses, relatively little is known about Wanhal’s life. Kelley, for example, in his Reminiscences (London, 1826) provides the vignette of Wanhal (cello), Haydn (first violin), Dittersdorf (second violin) and Mozart (viola) playing quartets in Vienna in 1785. Publishers in Paris, London and Vienna listed Wanhal with Mozart, Haydn, Hoffmeister, Paradis and Kozeluch and others in their catalogues; and both Haydn and Mozart are known to have performed Wanhal’s music in public. Yet, this prominent and fashionable composer seemingly left few traces beyond his music, seven autographs, a silhouette engraving, two posthumous portrait engravings, and an oil portrait by Josef Willibrod Mähler from 1792 (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna).

  Johann Baptist Wanhal was born into serfdom on May 12, 1739 in Nové Nechanice, Bohemia. Few details are known about his family and early education. In the late 1750’s he served as organist and choirmaster in several north Bohemian towns before coming to the attention of the Countess Schaffgotsch who paid his way to Vienna. He studied briefly with Carl Ditters (von Dittersdorf) and later spent two years in Italy where he met Florian Leopold Gassmann. His initial earnings from teaching and composing in Vienna enabled him to emancipate himself from serfdom, and as a free man, he never again entered a nobleman’s service. He even refused an appointment as Kapellmeister in Dresden from his benefactor Baron Riesch, who had earlier advanced 2000 florins for Wanhal’s studies in Italy. Instead, Wanhal preferred to live in modest circumstances, presumably as Vienna’s first successful free-lance composer and teacher.

  According to Burney and others, after he returned to Vienna in 1771, Wanhal suffered from periodic mental illness (then described as religious delusion) which was probably depression. Because of his state of mind, Wanhal recommended that the then 14-year old Ignaz Pleyel, who had studied with him for about one year, continue his studies with Joseph Haydn. After several visits to the estates of Count Erdödy in Varazdin, Wanhal remained in Vienna for the most part until his death in 1813. Wanhal’s first biographer Dlabacz praised the composer’s modesty, his honesty, his faith, and his unselfishness and willingness to aid needy colleagues. Remaining unmarried all of his life, Wanhal earned his living in Vienna as an accomplished keyboardist, a proficient violinist and cellist, and a highly sought-after teacher and much-published composer. His Viennese publishers included Hoffmeister, Artaria, Sauer, Eder and Kozeluch, and his works were printed by major publishers throughout Europe.

  After the mid-1780s, presumably because of his mental condition, Wanhal withdrew from public life. His symphonies remained in the active repertoire throughout the musical world, even as far away as Boston, although he had already ceased to compose new symphonic works by 1780. In 1790 he wrote a cantata honouring the deceased Emperor Josef II., whom he had met in Bologna in 1769, and whom he admired for the abolition of serfdom. Wanhal is known to have visited Dresden several times in the early 1790s and once in 1798. Although he composed patriotic occasional music between 1796 and 1798, his final years were devoted to church music. His last compositions, mentioned in his obituary, were four masses completed in Vienna shortly before his death on August 20, 1813. His final residence (Wien I, Domgasse 4) is still extant.

  Wanhal composed over seven hundred works including 77 symphonies, an almost equal number of string quartets, chamber music for strings and wind instruments (like Mozart he loved the clarinet), numerous sonatas and occasional pieces for violin, viola and solo piano, and chamber concertos for violin, cello, keyboard, flute, clarinet and bassoon. The title pages of his published works bear as dedicatees the names of many European noble families, attesting to his enormous popularity as a society composer. He was equally well known, however, throughout the Hapsburg empire as a church musician, composing approximately sixty masses as well as numerous motets, litanies, Salve Reginas and sacred songs. After the mid 1780’s his instrumental music consisted chiefly of chamber works including the piano, concertos and, above all, pedagogical music. Oddly enough, it was his capriccio sonatas, sonatinas and simple piano studies which kept Wanhal’s name alive throughout most of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

  Wanhal’s style evolved continuously throughout his life. Although early compositions reveal late Baroque conventions, he also composed Sturm und Drang symphonies in the late 1760s, independently of Josef Haydn; he mastered both the style galant and the late Viennese classical style, approaching Schubert in late works like the violin sonatas op. 30 (recently published by Doblinger in their Diletto Musicale series). Throughout his life Wanhal displayed a gift for cantabile writing and melodic invention, as well as a deep understanding of all instruments and musical forms. Very few of Wanhal’s autographs and corrected manuscripts have survived to the present time. The sources for most of his music are either first editions, or more frequently, undated copyists’ part or score manuscripts. Attributions of authenticity and date must be based mainly on stylistic comparison.

Works available or in preparation:

Piano concerto in C Weinmann IIa C9 (ed. Strauss/Strauss)
Piano concerto in A Weinmann IIa A1 (ed. Strauss/Strauss)
Piano concerto in D Weinmann IIa D1 (ed. Strauss/Strauss)
Piano concerto in C Weinmann IIa C4 (ed. Strauss/Strauss)
Violin concerto in C Weinmann IIb C2 (ed. Strauss/Strauss)
Double bassoon concerto in F (ed. Strauss/Strauss)


Margarete von Dewitz (1933): J. B. Wanhal: Leben und Klavierwerke (dissertation, University of Munich)
Paul R. Bryan (1955): The Symphonies of Johann Wanhal (dissertation, University of Michigan)
Alexander Weinmann (1987): Themen-Verzeichnis der Kompositionen von Johann Baptiste Wanhal (Musikverlag Ludwig Krenn, Vienna)
Paul R. Bryan (1997): Johann Wanhal, Viennese Symphonist: His life and musical environment (Pendragon Press, New York)
Paul R. Bryan (2001): Wanhal (The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition)

The authors gratefully acknowledge Paul Bryan’s advice and assistance in the preparation of these text notes.

The house where Wanhal spent his last years: Wien I, Domgasse 4 (photos taken in 2001)

©1998, 2001 by John F. and Virginia F. Strauss

(1756 - 1808)

Paul Wranitzky (Pavel Vranický) was born on Dec. 30, 1756, at Nova Rise in western Moravia. A career in clergy seemed to be his destiny after attending the Premonstrant monastery’s school at his birthplace, the Jesuit grammar school at Jihlava and studies of theology at Olomouc and Vienna. In 1776 he entered the theological seminary in Vienna, where he was music master, and studied composition with Josef Haydn and the so-called “Swedish Mozart” Josef Martin Kraus. Around 1785 he became music director of count Johann Nepomuk Esterházy de Galantha (a side line of the Esterhazys, not identical to the main line at Eisenstadt/Kismarton, Haydn’s employers). From 1790 on he conducted as an orchestra director the excellent ensembles of the old court theatre and the Kärtnertor theatre. Here the best professional musicians were available for his symphonies and stage works. His fantasy opera “Oberon - the fairy king” of 1789 was one of the favourite works in this genre and inspired Schikaneder to the “Magic Flute”. Goethe adressed to him the proposed composition of a second part of the “Magic Flute”.

  At the imperial court of Leopold II. and Franz II. he stood in high respect, he composed a coronation symphony for Franz II. (1792) and music for the private use of the empress Marie-Therese. Both as a man and a musician he was highly esteemed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven. He was Mozart's Brother in the Freemason’s lodge "Zur Gekrönten Hoffnung - To the Coronated Hope"and composed for the lodge, his masonic songs of 1785 are assumed to be lost. In December, 1797 he succeeded in Josef Haydns admission to the Tonkünstler-Sozietät. As concert master he conducted the premiere performances of Haydn’s oratorio "Die Schöpfung - The Creation" und of Beethoven’s first symphony. Carl Maria von Weber visited him in 1803. 1808 he died unexpectedly from typhoid fever and remained in an unjustified shadow of his more famous contemporaries.

  Wranitzky’s music is original with a high musical and compositional standard. His musical idiom is characteristic for Viennese classicism, in some of his symphonies he is in closer touch with the politic events of his time without slipping into superficial painting. (Besides that "absolute music“ is a late 19th century’s intellectual chimera). His orchestration is colourful by knowing how to emphasize the effect of the different instruments. His contemporaries and his audience held his music in high esteem. The articles published only fifty years after his death are set in the tone of Teutonic titan-cult and German scholarship ("Wranitzky has to offer only pumpernickel from his compositions in the higher style", the musicologist Riehl wrote in 1861 in his "musical character heads“) and are therefore unfounded by a biased negative prejudice.

  Wranitzky’s works have been catalogued by Postolka (1963), but there are still only very few modern editions available. The catalogue by Postolka (1967) lists the symphonies, 51 in number. The symphony op. 52 appeared in 1957, the symphony op. 11 in 1958 in score (Hradecky) published by the Czech Music Foundation (Cesky Hudebny Fond). The symphony op. 2 "The joy of the Hungarian Nation (A Magyar Nemzet Öröme)" has been edited in 1978 by Bonis in study score at Editio Musica Budapest. Stage works, sacred and profane vocal compositions, many concertos and his chamber music still wait for modern editions.

Works available or in preparation:
Grande Symphonie Caractéristique pour la Paix avec la République Française op. 31 (1797) (ed. Wagner)
Grande Symphonie Caractéristique pour la Paix avec la République Française op. 31, arranged by the composer for piano trio (1797/1798) (ed. Strauss/Strauss)
Symphony in E flat major (1786) (ed. Wagner)


Postolka M. (1963) Wranitzky (Paul), Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Kassel: Bärenreiter 1963, Sp. 881 - 888
Postolka M. (1967): Thematisches Verzeichnis der Symphonien Pavel Vranickýs, Prag: Univ. Carol. 1967
Wagner J. (ed., 1997): Grande Symphonie Characté-ristique pour la Paix avec la République Française - score edition in the series Lumière et Liberté of the Musikedition Dr. Heinz Anderle, Vienna 1997

©1997, 1999 by Josef Wagner

ERNST WILHELM WOLF (1735 - 1792)

  An 18th century map of Germany looked much like patchwork of innumerable small principalities. Although completely without influence in the Holy Roman Empire, even the smallest of the governing nobilities aspired to prominence in the field of culture. Thuringia was especially fertile for music: not only the roots of the Bach family can be found in that hilly region, but also the composer of the clavier concerto presented in this edition, Ernst Wilhelm Wolf, is an excellent example of those highly-gifted Kapellmeister who were retained at court in the best 18th century tradition.

  Ernst Wilhelm Wolf was born on February 25, 1735, at Grossenbeeren. Having attended the grammar schools at Eisenach and Gotha he was initially destined for a scholar’s career at the University of Jena. However, his musical inclinations ultimately prevailed over academia (Indeed, Wolf’s first known composition, a dramatic cantata, dates already from 1758). Having studied with Bach’s successor Johann Adam Hiller at Leipzig, he later taught music at Naumburg. Subsequently, he embarked on a journey to Italy but got only as far as Weimar. Here, he was engaged in 1761, as concert master of the grand duke’s orchestra, as organist and as music teacher of the grandduchess Anna Amalia, who later appointed him court Kapellmeister in 1768. 1770 he married Maria Carolina Benda, the daughter of the Bohemian composer Jirí Antonín Benda. This master and his brother Frantisek surprised and delighted audiences in Berlin and elsewhere with a new cantabile style, radically yet pleasingly different from the academic polyphony of Northern Germany. While Wolf was on a successful concert tour at Berlin, Frederick the Great offered him a position as successor Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach as the king’s chamber harpsichordist, but Anna Amalia convinced him to decline the post.

  In 1774 the young Goethe came to Weimar. (Goethe’s personal deficiencies were characterized later by Beethoven: “Goethe likes a court’s atmosphere too much, more than fitting for a poet“). Only marginally interested in music at that time, Goethe judged Wolf to be “conceited“ and “not original“; there is also good reason to suspect Goethe of intrigue against the composer in an effort to oust him from his court position, an attempt which was unsuccessful.
  Wolf composed not only instrumental music and operas, but was respected also outside Weimar for his sacred works, mainly cantatas and oratorios for protestant church music. Gerber numbered him among the "most classical and best composers in every discipline“, Schubart and Reichardt held him also in high esteem.
  Wolf, who met, among others Herder and Kotzebue at the Weimar “Court of the Muses“, remained in the position of a grand ducal counselor until his death and was buried on December 1, 1792 at Weimar.


  Many of Wolf’s unpublished works are presumed to have been lost. Among his instrumental music a total of at least 25 concertos can be assumed, among which are 20 for keyboard instrument (harpsichord or fortepiano) and orchestra. A viola concerto in F has also survived in manuscript. The first two clavier concertos in a-minor and C-major appeared as early as 1777 at Riga, followed by op. 3 in F-major and op. 4 at Berlin, op. 7 in g-minor and op. 8 in B b-major at Lyons, four concertos in G, F, B b and E b at Breslau, later the one presented in this edition and a last on in G-major in 1788. While Wolf’s symphonies have survived only in manuscripts, his chamber music (string quartets, music for strings and winds, clavier quintets and clavier trios) appeared in print during his lifetime. Among the remaining works, the piano sonatas and sonatinas are perhaps the most significant.

  In his article on Wolf, Härtwig (1963) describes the g- minor concerto as paving the way for Mozart. The most important discussion of Wolf’s clavier concertos is, however, Daffner’s study The Development of the Piano Concerto Before Mozart (1906!). “Sparing use of mere Spielfiguren (Alberti basses and related figures), mastery of motivic development, introduction of a subsidiary theme by the solo instrument, taste and freedom in harmony and modulation“ describe a composer moving steadily toward maturity in the genre of the Klavierkonzert. Daffner did not know all of Wolf’s surviving concertos. Despite Daffner’s praise and enthusiasm – comparison to J.C. Bach and Mozart – at the beginning of the 20th century, even 200 years after Wolf’s death his music still awaits detailed musicological studies and modern editions, for which it is hoped the present one might be a decisive impulse.


Daffner, Hugo: Die Entwicklung des Klavierkonzerts bis Mozart, Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel 1906
Beyschlag, Adolf: Die Ornamentik der Musik, Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel 1908
Härtwig, Dieter: Ernst Wilhelm Wolf, in MGG, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegewart, Bärenreiter, Kassel 1963, Sp. 770 - 775
Kraft, G.: Ernst Wilhelm Wolf, in: The New Grove’s Dictionary of Music, 1982, 473 - 474

WORKS available or in preparation:
clavier concerto in Eb (1785) (ed. Fuller)

©1998 by Richard Fuller.

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