Michael Haydn - Contemporary composers






  Vanhal was born Jan Kritel in Nové Nechanice, eastern Bohemia on May 12th 1739. He was son of a bonded peasant, who sent him to Marsov to study with the organist Kozak. From around 1752 he studied the organ with Erban, the cantor back in Nové Nechanice. His first posts were as organist in Opocno in 1757 and as choirmaster at Hnevceves in 1759.

Hnevceves was among the estates of Countess Schaffgotsch and in 1760 she took Vanhal to Vienna, where he had lessons with Dittersdorf. He settled down there as a teacher as was soon able to redeem himself from bondage. During the years 1769-71 he was able to travel round Italy, with financial help from Baron Riesch. Riesch offered him the position of Kapellmeister in Dresden in 1771, but Vanhal declined it because of mental disturbance.

The last forty years of his life, Vanhal spent in relative obscurity in Vienna. From 1773 to 1779 he spent some of his time on Count Ladislaus Erdödy estate in Varazdin, Croatia. While in Vienna, he earned his living as a teacher, freelance musician and composer. He wrote a huge amounts of works, probably at least 1300. Religious works, piano pieces, music for small chamber ensembles and around 75-80 symphonies (most of them dating from 1765 to 1785). An exact thematic catalogue of Vanhal's works has never been compiled. I recommend following the work by Professor Paul R. Bryan (follow link below).

One story indicating that Vanhal was vell esteemed, is that of the string quartet party given by Stephen Storace in Vienna in 1784. Here Vanhal played in a string quartet with none other than Mozart, Dittersdorf and Haydn. On this occation Vanhal played the cello, but he was better known as a violinist, having studied the violin from childhood.

Vanhal died in Vienna on August 20th 1813.


  Click here to view list of CDs:  
  Click here to view list of works:  
  Links :
www.lib.duke.edu/music/resources/wanhal1.html   Great page dedicated to Vanhal, with a huge amount of info.

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