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Michael Shields

[Heinrich von Meissen]

(b c1260; d Mainz, Nov 29, 1318). German Minnesinger. Little is known of his life beyond what can be conjectured from his songs. His lament on the death of Konrad von Würzburg (d 1287) locates him in time, his Central German dialect in place. According to the Würzburg songbook (compiled c1350) he came from Meissen, and he may have received a musical training at the chapel of Margrave Heinrich of Meissen (d 1288), himself a Minnesinger. Frauenlob praised nobles from principalities as far apart as Denmark and Carinthia (Kärnten, Austria), though he may not have visited the territories of all those he praised. He appears to have had close links with the Přemysl court at Prague, where he met his (presumed) patron Peter von Aspelt, who was to become bishop of Mainz in 1306. At Frauenlob's funeral his coffin was accompanied by women lamenting, allegedly in recognition of his many songs in praise of womanhood. His tombstone in Mainz Cathedral was destroyed in ...


Linda Tyler, Caryl Clark and Hilary Donaldson

[Dolcevillico, Francesco Saverio]

(b Schwanenstadt, Upper Austria, 1766; d Vienna, Sept 17, 1803). Austrian composer. He studied music as a boy with his father, a teacher and choirmaster in Schwanenstadt. In 1779 he moved to the monastery school at Kremsmünster and later studied philosophy and law at the Ritterakademie there. While a student he participated in services at the abbey church as a singer, violinist, and organist, and took composition lessons from local teachers. Beginning in or around 1785 he composed several operas that were performed in the monastery theatre. In the late 1780s he moved to Vienna, where he performed occasionally in the Hofkapelle and Burgtheater. He began occasional studies in composition with Mozart in 1790 or 1791, subsequently working for him as a copyist, possibly assisting him in composing the secco recitatives for La clemenza di Tito, and completing the Requiem at Constanze Mozart’s request. After Mozart’s death he studied with Salieri. Several of Süssmayr’s early operatic projects in Vienna were undertaken for Schikaneder’s Theater auf der Wieden; then, in ...


(b Prague, March 9, 1737; d Rome, Feb 4, 1781). Czech composer. The elder of identical twin brothers, he grew up in Prague in the households of his father and stepfather, both prosperous millers. Although it is believed that Mysliveček’s father arranged musical instruction for his sons before his death in 1749, there is no evidence to confirm speculation that they were taught by Felix Benda, a near neighbour. Reports that the twins attended the Dominican Normalschule at the Church of St Giles (Jiljí) and the Jesuit Gymnasium in the Clementinum are conjectural, but their enrolment in the philosophy faculty at Charles-Ferdinand University (now Charles University) is confirmed in surviving matriculation records. Owing to a lack of academic success, Mysliveček withdrew from the university in March 1753 without graduating. The following May, the twins became apprentice millers; they were admitted into the Prague millers’ guild as journeymen in ...


Margaret Grave and Jay Lane

[Ditters, Carl]

(b Vienna, Nov 2, 1739; d Neuhof [now Nový Dvůr], nr Sobĕslav, Bohemia, Oct 24, 1799). Austrian composer and violinist. After promising early success in Vienna, he settled for a modest career as a provincial Kapellmeister and administrator. He composed voluminously despite the official responsibilities that occupied him for much of his life, and his generally high standard of craftsmanship earned him recognition as a leading figure of the Viennese Classical school.

Born to Paul Ditters, costumier at the imperial court and theatre in Vienna, and his wife Anna (née Vandelin), Ditters enjoyed the benefits of a Jesuit school education, private tutoring and, from the age of seven, violin lessons. About 1750 he began studies with the violinist J.P. Ziegler, and before long he was accepted into the orchestra of the Schottenkirche. Soon afterwards he was recruited as a Kammerknabe by Prince Joseph Friedrich von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, whose Kapelle was one of the best in Vienna; from ...


Bruce Alan Brown and Julian Rushton

(b Erasbach, Upper Palatinate, July 2, 1714; d Vienna, Nov 15, 1787). Bohemian composer. He was long in Habsburg service in Vienna. More successfully than any of his contemporaries, he translated the widespread agitation for reform of opera and theatrical dance on the part of European intellectuals into actual works for the stage, first in pantomime ballets and Italian serious operas for Vienna and then in operas of various sorts for Paris. His long experience in setting Metastasian drammi per musica and his work in Vienna as music director of the Burgtheater (court theatre) were not without utility in these more innovative efforts.

Bruce Alan Brown

Gluck's earliest traceable ancestor is his great-grandfather, ‘Simon Gluckh von Rockenzahn’; (i.e. from Rokycany), as he is called in the marriage-contract (1672) of his son, Johann (or Hans) Adam (b c1649; d 1722). The surname Gluck (variously spelt Gluckh, Klugh, Kluch, etc.) probably derives from the Czech word ...