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Vanhal (also van Hal, Vanhall, Wanhal

Vanhal (also van Hal, Vanhall, Wanhal

Vanhal (also van Hal, Vanhall, Wanhal, etc.), Johan Baptist (actually, Jan Křtitel), noted Czech composer and teacher; b. Nové Nechanice, Bohemia, May 12, 1739; d. Vienna, Aug. 20, 1813. He was born into a bonded peasant family. He began his musical training as a teacher and organist in Marsov, and then studied organ with the cantor A. Erban in Nové Nechanice. In 1757 he became organist in Opocno; in 1759 he was named choirmaster in Hnevceves. After he won the favor of Countess Schaffgotsch, his patron took him to Vienna about 1761, and he was able to further his training under Dittersdorf. He obtained his release from bondage, and then traveled in Italy (1769-71) before returning to Vienna. Although stricken with mental illness, he recovered and devoted his energies to teaching and composing. He was a prolific composer; some 700 works are extant, of which his 73 syms. (c. 1767-85) in the early Classical style were most notable. His keyboard sonatas are also notable. His output includes works for both professional and amateur performers. He publ. the pedagogical vol. Anfangsgründe des Generalbasses(Vienna, 1817).


dramatic: Opera: II Demofoonte (Rome, 1770); II trionfo di Clelia (Rome, 1770). O R C H.: About 73 syms. (e. 1767-85); several concertos for Harpsichord or Piano; other concertos for Violin, Cello, Viola, Flute, Bassoon, Clarinet, and Double Bass; marches, dances, etc. CHAMBER: 6 string quintets; over 75string quartets; more than 100 string trios; many other chamber pieces, including keyboard trios, string duos, keyboard duos, and solo keyboard works of various descriptions. VOCAL: About 60 masses; more than 60 motets; Stabat Mater, Te Deum, Passion oratorio, and other sacred works; many secular songs.


J. Busek, Jansa, Kalivoda, V.(Prague, 1926); P. Bryan, The Symphonies of]. V (diss., Univ. of Mich., 1955); N. Dlouhá-Mikotová, Klavirni koncerty J.K. V.a (J.K. V.’s Keyboard Concertos; diss., Univ. of Prague, 1958); A. Borková, Stylová charakter-istika klavirnich sonai J.K. V.a (Stylistic Characteristics of J.K. V.’s Keyboard Sonatas; diss., Univ. of Brno, 1967); P. Bryan, /. W., Viennese Symphonist: His Life and His Musical Environment (Stuyvesant, N.Y., 1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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