La Melodia Germanica - Johann Stamitz





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Uploaded on Oct 20, 2008

Jan Václav Antonín Stamic (June 17, 1717 March 27, 1757) was a Czech composer and violinist. His music reflects the transition of the baroque period to the classical era.

Jan Václav Antonín Stamic was born in Německý Brod (present day Havlíčkův Brod) on June 17, 1717. He was the third child born and the first to survive past infancy. He was baptized on June 19, 1717 and probably born a day or two before the baptism. His name appears in the registry as Jan Waczlaw Antonin Stamitz. The Stamitz family was very artistic as Johann's father, Antonín Ignác, was organist at the Dean's Church before becoming a merchant, landowner and town councilor. His three brothers were very artistic as well. Joseph František was a painter and Antonín Tadeáš and Václav Jan were both musicians at some point in their lives. Stamitz received his first schooling in Německý Brod and his first musical instruction most likely came from his father. In 1728, he enrolled in the Jesuit gymnasium in Jihlava where he received training from the Jesuits of Bohemia, whose high standard of musical education spawned students were the premiere musicians in Europe.

Stamitz spent the academic year 17341735 at the University of Prague. After only one year, he left the university to pursue a career as a violin virtuoso. The six-year period between Stamitz' departure from the university in 1735 and the time he was employed in Mannheim around 1741 is ambiguous.

Stamitz was appointed by the Mannheim court either in 1741 or 1742. Most likely, his engagement at Mannheim resulted from contacts made during the Bohemian campaign and coronation of Carl Albert (Carl VII), a close ally the Elector Palatine. In January 1742 Stamitz performed at Mannheim as part of the festivities surrounding the marriage of Carl Theodor, who succeeded his uncle Carl Philipp as Elector Palatine less than a year later; Carl Albert of Bavaria was a guest at the wedding.

At Mannheim, Stamitz advanced rapidly, becoming the Erster Hoff Violinist or First Court violinist in 1743. He was granted an increase of salary by 200 gulden, to 900 gulden, the most of any instrumentalist at Mannheim. In 1745 or 1746, he was given the title Concertmeister. The academies, which featured the Mannheim school and the Mannheim orchestra, were the primary responsibility of the Concertmeister and Stamitz was required to prepare and conduct the performance, perform concertos, and provide orchestral compositions of his own. On Feb 27, 1750, he was named the instrumental music director. Stamitzs other duties and responsibilities included supervision and performance of chamber music and performance in the orchestra for certain operas, ballet productions, balls, and church services.

Stamitz was married on July 1, 1744 to Maria Antonia Luneborn. They had five children together, Carl Phillip, Maria Francisco, Anton Thadaus Nepomuk, and two children who died in infancy.

Probably around late summer of 1754, Stamitz took a year long journey to Paris, perhaps at the invitation of the musical maecenas Alexandre Le Riche de La Poupelinière, with whom he stayed; Stamitz appeared in public in Paris for the first time at a Concert Spirituel of September 8 1754. Stamitz' success in Paris induced him to publish his Orchestral Trios, Op. 1, and possibly other publications with various Parisian publishers.

Stamitz probably returned to Mannheim around the autumn of 1755, dying there less than two years later at the age of 39. The entry of his death reads:

(March 30, 1757. Buried, Joes Stainmiz, director of court music, so expert in his art that his equal will hardly be found. Rite provided)

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