Steffan, Joseph Anton (Josef Antonín Štepán)

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Steffan, Joseph Anton (Josef Antonín Štepán)

Steffan, Joseph Anton (Josef Antoní Štepân), important Czech composer, harpsichordist, and teacher; b. Kopidlno, Bohemia (baptized), March 14, 1726; d. Vienna, April 12, 1797. His father was organist and schoolmaster in Kopidlno, and Joseph Anto most likely began his musical training under his father’s tutelage. When the Prussian army invaded Bohemia in 1741, he fled to Vienna, where he found a patron in Count František Jindřich Šlik, lord of the Kopidlno estate; received instruction in violin from Hammel, his patron’s Kapellmeister, whom he later succeeded, and in harpsichord and composition from G.C. Wagenseil, the court composer. He soon established himself as an outstandingharpsichord virtuoso, teacher, and composer; was made Klaviermeister to theprincesses Maria Carolina (later Queen of Naples) and Maria Antonia (later Queen of France) in 1766, remaining active at the court until 1775. In subsequent years he taught privately and composed; he died in obscurity. Steffan was a major figure in the development of the Classical style. His keyboard works, including concertos and sonatas, reveal him as a worthy compatriotof Haydn and Mozart. He was the first to pubi, lieder collections in Vienna.


DRAMATIC: Singspiel: Der Doktor Daunderlaun. ORCH.: 10 sinfonie, 4 of which are lost; 6 concertos for Harpsichord or Harp, op.10 (Paris, c. 1773; nos. 3–6 lost); 37 concertos for Harpsichord or Piano, one of which is lost; 2 concertos for 2 Harpsichords, one of which was for long attributed to Haydn. CHAMBER : Concertino for Harpsichord, Flute, Violin, and Cello; Concertino for Harpsichord, Flute, Violin, Bass, and 2 Horns; 7 trios for Violin, Cello, and Harpsichord or Piano; Sonata for Violin and Piano; Variations for Violin and Piano; several pieces for Wind Instruments. keyboard: 6 divertimenti (Vienna, 1756; ed. in Musica Antiqua Bohemica, LXIV, 1964); 6 sonate, op.2 (Vienna, c. 1759–60); 40 preludi per diversi tuoni (Vienna, 1762); Parte 1 a delop.3 continente 3 sonate (Vienna, 1763); Parte la…continente 3 sonate (Vienna, 1771); Parte 3a (lost) (Parts 1–2 ed. in Musica Antiqua Bohemica, LXIV [1964]); Sonata I (Vienna, 1771) II (Vienna, e. 1771), and III (Vienna, 1776) (ali ed. in MusicaAntiqua Bohemica, LXIV [1964]); 6 sonates choisies for Harpsichord or Piano, par…Steffann et Rutini (Paris, 1773–74); Parte 2acontinente 90 cadenze, fermate, e capricci for Harpsichord or Piano (Vienna, 1783); 25 variatimi for Piano (Vienna, 1785–92); also various other keyboard works, including 21 divertimentos and sonatas (8 of the latter ed. in Musica Antiqua Bohemica, LXX, 1968); several single-movement sonatas; minuets; 5 sets of variations; etc. VOCAL: Sacred: Stabat mater for Voice and Piano (Prague and Vienna, 1782); 2 masses; 2 Christmas pastorellas (1 in collaboration with J.G. Zechner); various hymns. Secular: Sammlung[24] deutscher Lieder, I (Vienna, 1778); Sammlung[25] deutscher Lieder, II (Vienna, 1779); Gesang bei dem Beschlüsse der…Prufung der 31 Unteroffiziere und Gemeinen (Vienna, 1780); Sammlung[24] deutscher Lieder, IV (Vienna, 1782).


D. Šetková, Klavírní dito Josefa Antonína Štěpána (The Keyboard Works of J.A. S.; Prague, 1965); H. Picton, The Life and Works of JA. S. (1726–1797) (2 vois., N.Y. and London, 1989).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Steffan, Joseph Anton (Josef Antonín Štepán)

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