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738

Wenzel Johann Tomaschek (1774-1850)

An Autobiography

April 20, 2017

168 pp.

11 illustrations

ISBN: 978-1-5764-274-7

$52.00

Purchase on Boydell & Brewer

Description

Wenzel Johann Tomaschek (1774-1850) was born into a provincial merchant family in Bohemia, and through his musical skill and determination became one of the leading figures in Czech music in the first half of the 19th century. As a member of the bourgeoisie, he spent the first two decades of his life expecting to enter a profession after university study, and throughout his life had a particular interest in literature and drama, developing a close personal relationship with Goethe, for whose poems he composed dozens of settings for solo voice with piano. He met and heard many contemporary musicians both in Prague and during visits to Vienna, and had a keen critical eye and ear, reflected in his sometimes cutting opinions of such figures as Steibelt and W�lfl. He also reported in detail on his conversations with Beethoven, painting a vivid picture of the master. His Autobiography was published in the German-Bohemian periodical Libussa in installments between 1845 and 1850. It has never been republished since then in German, though there was an edition in Czech in 1941. This is the first complete translation of this interesting and highly informative work, giving a view of the life and times of a leading cultural figure of the musical Romantic.

Authors

Reviews

0, 0000

SIR READALOT Review July 2017 Wenzel Johann Tomaschek (1774-1850): An Autobiography translated by Stephen Thomas Moore, with an introduction by Michael Beckerman (Studies in Czech Music Series : Pendragon Press) Wenzel Johann Tomaschek (1774-1850) was born into a provincia l merchant family in Bohemia, and through his musical skill and determination became one of the leading figures in Czech music in the first half of the 19th century. As a member of the bourgeoisie , he spent the first two decades of his life expecting to enter a profession after university study , and throughout his life had a particular interest in literature and drama. Tomaschek rose to recognition with his many connections to contemporary musicians both in Prague and Vienna , his keen critica l eye and ear, and his sometimes cutti11g opinions of such figures as Steibelt and Wolfl. He developed a close personal relationship with Goethe, for whose poems he composed dozens of settings for solo voice with piano. He also reported in detail on his conversations with Beethoven, painting a vivid picture of the master. His Autobiography was published in the German-Bohemian periodical Libussa in installments between 1845 and 1850. It has never been republished since then in German, though there was an edition in Czech in 1941. Wenzel Johann Tomaschek is the first complete translation of this work, giving a view of the life and times of a leading cultural figure of the musical Romantic. In the introduction to Wenzel Johann Tomaschek, Michael Beckerman says that Tomaschek was one of the most significant and fascinating musical persona lities at the beginning of the 19th century. A brilliant pianist, teacher, composer and critic, he was known as the Musical Pope of Prague. Tomaschek was a friend of Beethoven and Goethe, and taught such figures as the virtuosos Alexander Dreyschock and Jan Vaclav Vorisek and the critic Eduard Hanslick. Despite the fact that he composed over one hundred compositions , including operas, concerti, string quartets, symphonies, songs and religious works, he is known today almost exclusively for his characteristic piano pieces, variously titled Rhapsodies, Dithyrambs, and most often Eclogues. Though these titles all have their roots in classical poetry, the pieces in question combine aspects of classic style with fresh, new and even idiosyncratic takes on contemporary musical thought. While Wenzel Johann Tomaschek provides a good deal of information about the composer and his life, it also offers something much rarer: a sense of historical texture and depth. A prickly figure, simultaneously confident and utterly insecure, Tomaschek's writings about the great and near great, as well as his recollections of dozens of characteristic goings on, give readers a rare kind of insight into both the man and his age. In the words of Kenneth Delong, "Highly opinionated, often sarcastic and projecting a sense of his own importance, Tomaschek's memoirs also reveal him to be deeply concerned about all things artistic and inte llectual: a man of courage and idealism , unflinching in his pursuit of truth in music and in life." Tomaschek in Wenzel Johann Tomaschek offers many different kinds of writing and observation: there are snapshot concert reviews; chatty gossip about celebrities, especially royalty; detailed comments about important figures such as Beethoven and Goethe. There are passages that show Tomaschek's close engagement with contemporary art and science , whether paintings, arc hitec ture, gardens, or new technologies; one also finds personal aphorisms about life , broadly speaking, and of course comments about his own work. Of particularly interest - and also good fun - are Tomaschek's descriptions of contemporary musical events. According to Becherman, Tomaschek's legacy is not easy to calibrate. To both Tomaschek and those that followed, Beethoven was an incandescent star, as were Mozart and Weber ; but centuries have passed and figures such as Tomaschek await new appraisals and evaluations. Under the hands of an able pianist, his works sparkle and he is quite a bit more than simply an important progenitor of the piano character piece. The composer himself, writing his Autobiogra phy Wenzel Johann Tomaschek, emphasizes the disti nctio n between trend y fashion and substance, and notes that his works had so far passed the test of time: A work of art, called into life through objective consideration, stands upright by itself despite the most lopsided judgment of the time, while all musical works that pay homage to the bad taste of the time share the destiny of ephemera. That I am not in error in this regard is something I am persuaded by daily by my eclogues and rhapsodies, which continue to be sought out by solid pianists. Wenzel Johann Tomaschek is an interesting and highly informative work. Whether or not these pieces will continue to be sought out, and whether or not readers believe that works of art are actually "called into life through objective consideration," in reading Wenzel Johann Tomaschek they encounter a person of strong will, great skill, and someone who never gave in to contemporary fashion.

Sir Readalot



0, 0000

SIR READALOT Review July 2017 Wenzel Johann Tomaschek (1774-1850): An Autobiography translated by Stephen Thomas Moore, with an introduction by Michael Beckerman (Studies in Czech Music Series : Pendragon Press) Wenzel Johann Tomaschek (1774-1850) was born into a provincia l merchant family in Bohemia, and through his musical skill and determination became one of the leading figures in Czech music in the first half of the 19th century. As a member of the bourgeoisie , he spent the first two decades of his life expecting to enter a profession after university study , and throughout his life had a particular interest in literature and drama. Tomaschek rose to recognition with his many connections to contemporary musicians both in Prague and Vienna , his keen critica l eye and ear, and his sometimes cutti11g opinions of such figures as Steibelt and Wolfl. He developed a close personal relationship with Goethe, for whose poems he composed dozens of settings for solo voice with piano. He also reported in detail on his conversations with Beethoven, painting a vivid picture of the master. His Autobiography was published in the German-Bohemian periodical Libussa in installments between 1845 and 1850. It has never been republished since then in German, though there was an edition in Czech in 1941. Wenzel Johann Tomaschek is the first complete translation of this work, giving a view of the life and times of a leading cultural figure of the musical Romantic. In the introduction to Wenzel Johann Tomaschek, Michael Beckerman says that Tomaschek was one of the most significant and fascinating musical persona lities at the beginning of the 19th century. A brilliant pianist, teacher, composer and critic, he was known as the Musical Pope of Prague. Tomaschek was a friend of Beethoven and Goethe, and taught such figures as the virtuosos Alexander Dreyschock and Jan Vaclav Vorisek and the critic Eduard Hanslick. Despite the fact that he composed over one hundred compositions , including operas, concerti, string quartets, symphonies, songs and religious works, he is known today almost exclusively for his characteristic piano pieces, variously titled Rhapsodies, Dithyrambs, and most often Eclogues. Though these titles all have their roots in classical poetry, the pieces in question combine aspects of classic style with fresh, new and even idiosyncratic takes on contemporary musical thought. While Wenzel Johann Tomaschek provides a good deal of information about the composer and his life, it also offers something much rarer: a sense of historical texture and depth. A prickly figure, simultaneously confident and utterly insecure, Tomaschek's writings about the great and near great, as well as his recollections of dozens of characteristic goings on, give readers a rare kind of insight into both the man and his age. In the words of Kenneth Delong, "Highly opinionated, often sarcastic and projecting a sense of his own importance, Tomaschek's memoirs also reveal him to be deeply concerned about all things artistic and inte llectual: a man of courage and idealism , unflinching in his pursuit of truth in music and in life." Tomaschek in Wenzel Johann Tomaschek offers many different kinds of writing and observation: there are snapshot concert reviews; chatty gossip about celebrities, especially royalty; detailed comments about important figures such as Beethoven and Goethe. There are passages that show Tomaschek's close engagement with contemporary art and science , whether paintings, arc hitec ture, gardens, or new technologies; one also finds personal aphorisms about life , broadly speaking, and of course comments about his own work. Of particularly interest - and also good fun - are Tomaschek's descriptions of contemporary musical events. According to Becherman, Tomaschek's legacy is not easy to calibrate. To both Tomaschek and those that followed, Beethoven was an incandescent star, as were Mozart and Weber ; but centuries have passed and figures such as Tomaschek await new appraisals and evaluations. Under the hands of an able pianist, his works sparkle and he is quite a bit more than simply an important progenitor of the piano character piece. The composer himself, writing his Autobiogra phy Wenzel Johann Tomaschek, emphasizes the disti nctio n between trend y fashion and substance, and notes that his works had so far passed the test of time: A work of art, called into life through objective consideration, stands upright by itself despite the most lopsided judgment of the time, while all musical works that pay homage to the bad taste of the time share the destiny of ephemera. That I am not in error in this regard is something I am persuaded by daily by my eclogues and rhapsodies, which continue to be sought out by solid pianists. Wenzel Johann Tomaschek is an interesting and highly informative work. Whether or not these pieces will continue to be sought out, and whether or not readers believe that works of art are actually "called into life through objective consideration," in reading Wenzel Johann Tomaschek they encounter a person of strong will, great skill, and someone who never gave in to contemporary fashion.

Sir Readalot