Poissl, Johann Nepomuk, Freiherr von

views updated

Poissl, Johann Nepomuk, Freiherr von

Poissl, Johann Nepomuk, Freiherr von , German composer; b. Haukenzell, Lower Bavaria, Feb. 15, 1783; d. Munich, Aug. 17, 1865. He was educated in Straubing, Munich, and at the Univ. of Landshut (1800); settled in Munich (1805), and studied composition with Danzi and Abbé Vogler. In 1811 he met Weber, who became a champion of his works. As a composer for the theater, he won his most notable successes with Athalia (June 3, 1814) and Der Wettkampf zu Olympia oder Die Freunde (April 21, 1815); nevertheless, he was dogged by poverty until being made asst. superintendent of court music in 1823; was also named director of the Court Theater (1825). His opera Die Prinzessin von Provence was first performed at the reopening celebrations of the rebuilt Nationaltheater (Jan. 23, 1825), and remains his best-known achievement. He was replaced as director of the Court Theater (1833), but was retained as director of court music until his dismissal in 1847, when he was made Ist chamberlain. His final years were marked by illness and poverty. Poissl was an important link in the development of German opera between the eras of Mozart and Weber.


DRAMATIC: Opera (all first perf. in Munich unless otherwise given): Die Opernprobe, comic opera (Feb. 23, 1806); Antigonus, serious opera (Feb. 12, 1808); Ottaviano in Sicilia, dramma eroico (June 30, 1812); Aucassin und Nicolette, Singspiel (March 28, 1813); Athalia, grand opera (June 3, 1814); Der Wettkampf zu Olympia oder Die Freunde, grand opera (April 21, 1815); Die wie mir oder Alle betrügen, comic opera (1816; not perf.); Nittetis, grand opera (Darmstadt, June 29, 1817); Issipile, grand opera (1818; not perf.); La rappresaglia, opera semiseria (April 7, 1820); Die Prinzessin von Provence, magical opera (Jan. 23, 1825); Der Untersberg, Romantic opera (Oct. 30, 1829); Zaide, Romantic-tragic opera (Nov. 9, 1843). Incidental Music : To Heyden’s Renata (Munich, Oct. 12, 1823), von Schenk’s Belisar (Munich, Feb. 23, 1826) and Kaiser Ludwigs Traum (Munich, March 27, 1826), and Kleist’s Hermannschlacht (1826). ORCH .: Clarinet Concerto (1812); Violin Concerto (1817). VOCAL: Oratorios : Judith (1824); Der Erntetag (Munich, April 4, 1835). Other : 3 masses (1812; c. 1816; 1817); Stabat Mater (1821); Miserere (1824); other sacred works; cantatas; choral music.


E. Reipschlager, Schubaur, Danzi und P. als Opernkomponisten (diss., Univ. of Rostock, 1911).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire