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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » V » Vanhal, Johann Baptist



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Johann Baptist Vanhal (5/12/1739 - 8/20/1813)

The public perception of Johann Baptist Wanhal has changed little since his death in 1813. The biographical articles in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (1951) and The New Grove (1980), both written by the same author, were based upon the identical early 19th-century authors. So too were all incidental articles written subsequent to Wanhals death. They reflect the questionable comprehension and biases of the original authors: Dr Charles Burney, whose single visit with Wanhal occurred in 1772, Gottfried Johann Dlabacz, his Bohemian compatriot who stayed with him in Vienna for some time in 1795, and an anonymous Viennese author whose necrology seems to have been mostly based upon rumour and filtered through the interpretations of authors such as Gerber and Rochlitz. The following presents my own interpretation based upon rereading the sources in the light of recent investigations of the Viennese musical scene. Detailed discussion, including my reasons for spelling his name with a "W", may be found in my book, Johann Wanhal, Viennese Symphonist, His Life and His Musical Environment, published by Pendragon Press in 1997.

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