Tomaschek, Wenzel Johann, (actually, Václav Jan Krtitel Tomásek)

views updated

Tomaschek, Wenzel Johann, (actually, Václav Jan Kŕtitel Tomáŝek)

Tomaschek, Wenzel Johann, (actually, Václav Jan Kŕtitel Tomáŝek), important Bohemian composer and pedagogue; b. Skutsch, April 17, 1774; d. Prague, April 3, 1850. He was the youngest of 13 children. He learned the rudiments of singing and violin playing from P.J. Wolf and studied organ with Donat Schuberth. In 1787 he became an alto chorister at the Minorite monastery in Iglau; in 1790 he went to Prague, supporting himself by playing piano in public places; also took law courses at the Univ. of Prague. From 1806 to 1822 he was attached to the family of Count Georg Bucquoy de Longeval as music tutor. In 1824 he established his own music school in Prague. Among his many pupils were J.H. Worzischek (Vorisek), Drey-schock, Hanslick, and Schulhoff. Tomaschek was the first to use the instrumental form of the rhapsody systematically in a number of his piano pieces, although it was anticipated by W.R. Gallenberg in a single composition a few years earlier; he also adopted the ancient Greek terms “eclogue” and “dithyramb” for short character pieces. He wrote an autobiography, publ. in installments in the Prague journal Libussa (1845-50); a modern ed. was prepared by Z. Nmec (Prague, 1941), excerpts of which appeared in the Musical Quarterly (April 1946).


dramatic: Opera: Seraphine, oder Grossmut und Liebe (Prague, Dec. 15, 1811); Alvaro (unfinished). ORCH.: 3 syms. (1801, 1805, 1807); 2 piano concertos (1805, 1806). CHAMBER: 3 string quartets (1792-93); Piano Trio (1800); Piano Quartet (1805). Piano : 7 sonatas (1800-06); 42 eclogues (1807-23); 15 rhapsodies (1810); 6 allegri capricciosi (1815, 1818); 6 dithyrambs (1818-23). CHORAL: Requiem (1820); Krönungsmesse (1836); Te Deum.


M. Tarantová, Václav Jan Tomášek (Prague, 1946).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire