Michael Haydn - Contemporary composers

 

LEOPOLD ANTON KOZELUCH (1747 - 1818)


 
   

 

   

  Kozeluch was born in Velvary, north-west of Prague in Bohemia on June 20th 1747. He was baptised Jan Antonín, but changed his name to Leopold to distinguish himself from his cousin (and teacher), who was Kapellmeister of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague for almost 3 decades.

He studied law in Prague, while continuing his musical studies with his cousin and Frantisek Dusek (1731 - 1799). In the period 1771-8, he wrote ballets and pantomimes, which were succesfully staged in Prague.

In 1778 he moved to Vienna, where he established himself as composer, pianist and teacher. His most famous pupils were the blind pianist Maria Theresia von Paradis, Archduchess Elisabeth of Württemberg (first wife of Emperor Franz II) and Marie-Louise (daughter of the Emperor and Napoleons second wife). This very well illustrates his reputation. He was able to decline offers of positions, such as succeeding Mozart as court organist to the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg.

In 1784 Kozeluch founded his own publishing house, the 'Musikalisches Magazin'. Later managed by his younger brother Antonín Tomás. His compositions very often published simultaneously by other houses though. He also worked with British publishers on his arrangements of Welsh, Irish and Scottish folksongs.

He rose to absolute prominence in 1792, when he was appointed Imperial Chamber Conductor and Court Composer. Leopold Kozeluch died in Vienna on May 7th 1818, aged 70.

The output of this highly succesful and well esteemed composer is big, just like most of his contemporaries. Six operas (all lost), eleven symphonies, chamber music and piano pieces (around 50 sonatas). His works was described by Dr. Charles Burley in 1789 : 'They are in general excellent, abounding with solidity, good taste, correct harmony; and the imitations of Haydn are less frequent than in any other master of that school'.

 
 
 

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