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Othmar Wessely

revised by Dorothea Schröder

(b ?Stuttgart, bap. June 13, 1570; d after 1624). German composer, organist and organ builder. From 1602 onwards he was an organist at Horn, Lower Austria, and, from 1 November 1609 at the latest, at the church of the Protestant school at Steyr, Upper Austria, though he was not definitely appointed there until mid-February 1614. He built or renovated, among others, organs for churches at Steyr (1613), Enns (1615) and Horn (1606 and 1615) and a two-manual instrument for the church of the Cistercian Wilhering Abbey, Upper Austria (1619). None of these instruments has survived, though from our knowledge of the specification of the last-named we can conclude that his organs were of the werkprinzip type. In 1625 he had to flee from Steyr as a religious refugee, after which nothing more is heard of him.

Peuerl published four collections of his own compositions while he was at Steyr. His name is linked above all with the creation of the variation suite. There is still research to be done on the antecedents of this form, which possibly include early 16th-century Italian lute music and the variations of the English virginalists; the form was soon taken up by Schein, Posch and others. Peuerl’s suites consist of four dances: paduana, intrada, ‘dance’ and galliard. The ‘dance’ (‘Däntz’) is the basic theme; the other three are variations of it, the paduana being the closest to it and the intrada and galliard more distant. Peuerl, like H.L. Hassler, Aichinger, Schein and others, was one of the few German composers of the early Baroque period to compose italianate instrumental canzonas. He was also the first German composer to write (in his 1625 volume) for the Italian texture of two melody instruments and continuo. To some extent his songs (...


Rudolph Angermüller, Hidemi Matsushita, and Ron Rabin

(b Vienna, bap. May 15, 1759; d Vienna, Feb 1, 1824). Austrian composer, pianist, organist and singer. She was the daughter of the Imperial Secretary and Court Councillor to Empress Maria Theresa, after whom she was named (the empress was not however her godmother, as was formerly believed). Some time between her second and fifth year she became blind; Anton Mesmer was able to improve her condition only temporarily, in 1777–8. She received a broad education from Leopold Kozeluch (piano), Vincenzo Righini (singing), Salieri (singing, dramatic composition), Abbé Vogler (theory and composition) and Carl Friberth (theory). By 1775 she was performing as a pianist and singer in Viennese concert rooms and salons. Composers who wrote for her include Salieri (an organ concerto, 1773), Mozart (a piano concerto, probably k456) and possibly Haydn (a piano concerto, hXVIII:4).

On 18 August 1783 she set out on an extended tour towards Paris and London, in the company of her mother and Johann Riedinger, her amanuensis and librettist. She visited Mozart and his family in Salzburg on 27 August. After concerts in Frankfurt (...


Member of Mozart family

(b Augsburg, Nov 14, 1719; d Salzburg, May 28, 1787). Composer, violinist and theorist.

He was the son of an Augsburg bookbinder, Johann Georg Mozart (1679–1736), and attended the Augsburg Gymnasium (1727–35) and the Lyceum adjoining the Jesuit school of St Salvator (1735–6), where he frequently performed as an actor and singer in various theatrical productions; he was also an accomplished organist and violinist. In 1737 Leopold broke with his family and matriculated at the Salzburg Benedictine University, studying philosophy and jurisprudence. He took the bachelor of philosophy degree the next year, with public commendation, but in September 1739 he was expelled for poor attendance and indifference. Shortly after, he became a valet and musician to Johann Baptist, Count of Thurn-Valsassina and Taxis, Salzburg canon and president of the consistory; it was to Thurn-Valsassina that Mozart dedicated his ...


David Bryant

(b ?Venice, c1554–7; d Venice, Aug 1612). Italian composer and organist, nephew of Andrea Gabrieli. Together with Willaert, Andrea Gabrieli and Merulo, he was one of the leading representatives of 16th- and early 17th-century Venetian music.

Giovanni was one of five sons and daughters of Piero di Fais ‘called Gabrieli’, a native of Carnia who resided for some time in the parish of S Geremia, Venice. Little is known of his early years. It is possible that he was brought up by Andrea, to whom, in the dedication to Concerti … continenti musica di chiesa, madrigali, & altro (RISM 158716), he described himself as ‘little less than a son’; precise information regarding the relationship between uncle and nephew is, however, scant. Like Andrea, Giovanni spent a period of study and apprenticeship under Orlande de Lassus at the court of Duke Albrecht V in Munich. One of his first published madrigals, ...