Stefani, Jan, significant Polish composer of Bohemian descent, father of Józef Stefani ; b. Prague, 1746; d. Warsaw, Feb. 24, 1829. He studied at Prague’s Benedictine school. After an Italian sojourn, he went to Vienna about 1765 as a violinist in Count G. Kinski’s orch.; in 1779 he settled in Warsaw as a violinist and conductor in King Stanislaw August Poniatowski’s Court Orch.; also was Kapellmeister at the Cathedral and a conductor at the National Theater and later a violinist in its orch. (17997–1811). Stefani’s importance rests upon his notable contribution to Polish opera; his masterpiece is Cud mniemany czyl: Krakowiacy ī Góraìe (The Supposed Miracle or Krakovians and Highlanders; Warsaw, March 1, 1794). He also was a fine composer of polonaises.
DRAMATIC (all first perf. in Warsaw): Opera: Król w kraju rozkoszy (The King of Cockaigne; Feb. 3, 1787); Cud mniemany czyli Krakowiacy i Górale (The Supposed Miracle or Krakovians and Highlanders; March 1, 1794); Wdiec-zni poddani czyli Wesele wiejskie (Thankful Serfs or The Country Wedding; July 24, 1796; also known as Przjazd pana czyli Szczesliwi wieéniacy[The Arrival of the Lord or Happy Country Folk]); Drzewo zaczaroivane (The Magic Tree; 1796); Frozyna czyli Siedem razy jedna (Frozine or 7 Times Dressed Up; Feb. 21, 1806); Rotmistrz Görecki czyli Oswodobodzenie (Captain Gorecki or The Liberation; April 3, 1807); Polka czyli Obleeznie (The Polish Woman or The Siege of Trembowla; May 22, 1807); Stary ntysliwy (The Old Huntsman; Jan. 31, 1808); Papirius czyli Ciekawośé dawnych kobiet (Papyrus or The Curiosity of Women in Ancient Times; May 15, 1808). Ballet: Miloéc kazdemu wiekowi przstoi (Love Becomes Every Age; Nov. 4, 1785). OTHER: Some 100 polonaises for Orch.; sacred music; songs.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire