Vienna 1800

Vienna, circa 1800. Many music lovers picture that city at that time dominated by three musical giants. There was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, recently deceased, whose music was still in demand. Franz Joseph Haydn, the father of the symphony and string quartet, was now an international celebrity. And Ludwig van Beethoven, the young composer, and pianist whose star was on the rise.

But Vienna wasn’t the leading musical city in Europe because of just three men. It attracted talent from all over Europe, and all were competing for audiences, commissions, and patronage.

Monday, December 6, I’ll be showcasing some of the many composers that rivaled the big three in popularity. Their stars may have faded over time, but their music can still entertain and enthrall. Join me from 9 am to 11 am!

Some of the composers I’ll be featuring:

Antonio Salieri – By 1800, Salieri’s music was just beginning to decline in popularity. Nevertheless, the teacher of Franz Liszt, Ludwig van Beethoven deserves a hearing.

Johann Nepomuk Hummel – Hummel and Beethoven respected each other as pianists. During Haydn’s final years at the Esterhazy estate, Hummel served as his assistant.

Louis Spohr – Spohr was a violinist as well as a composer. In 1808, he played with Beethoven in his home as he worked on the Ghost Trio.

Leopold Koželuch – This Czech composer and pianist was in high demand with Viennese audiences. He succeeded Mozart as the royal music director and court composer.

Johann Baptist Vanhal – Mozart greatly admired this Czech composer’s symphonies. His works were so popular that most were performed all over Europe, and few even in the fledgling United States.

Ferdinand Ries – Ries was one of Beethoven’s few piano and composition students. To Vienna audiences of 1800, he was a sensation pianist. By 1810, he was also known as a sensational composer.

Joseph Wolfl – In 1799 Wolfl and Beethoven were considered the two best pianists in Vienna. They held a piano duel. Beethoven won, and Wolfl relocated to London.

Paul Wranitzky – This Czech composer was also the go-to conductor for Haydn and Beethoven. His 1789 opera “Oberon – the Fairy King” inspired Emanuel Schikaneder to write the libretto for “The Magic Flute.”

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