Michael Haydn - Contemporary composers


JOSEF MYSLIVECEK (1737 - 1781)



  Josef Myslivecek was born on March 9th 1737 in Prague. His father was a prosperous millowner and Josef and his twin brother Jachym were destined to take over the business. From childhood Josef showed a great interest in music and his father supplied him with a musical education as well. Among his teachers was Joseph Seger.

A series of symphonies composed in 1762 was a huge succes with the Prague public and Josef decided to devote himself to music. Supported by Count Vincenz von Waldstein, he went to Venice in 1763 and studied with Giovanni Pescetti. He was also admitted to Bologna's renowned Accademia Filarmonica. His second opera 'Il Bellerofonte' from 1767 was a huge succes and he quickly rose to fame.

Il Boemo (The Bohemian) as he was known, met the 14 year old Mozart in 1770. It is evident both from Mozarts letters and his music, that he admired Myslivecek greatly.

Proof of his fame is provided by the fact that the Portuguese court had calligraphic copies made of his operas in Naples and Genoa for the collection at the Ajuda library and for performances of his works in Lisbon. With a total of 18 different titles, the library possesses the largest collection of his operatic scores to this day.

Myslivecek was for a period the highest paid composer, but this seems to have led to an exhuberent lifestyle. Hard work and financial problems caused problems with his health. He died on February 4th 1781, poor and forgotten in Rome.


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