Wenzel Johann Tomaschek (1774-1850)


An Autobiography

April 20, 2017

168 pp.

11 illustrations

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Wenzel Johann Tomaschek (1774-1850) was born into a provincial merchant family in Bohemia, and through his musical skill and determination became one of the leading figures in Czech music in the first half of the 19th century. As a member of the bourgeoisie, he spent the first two decades of his life expecting to enter a profession after university study, and throughout his life had a particular interest in literature and drama, developing a close personal relationship with Goethe, for whose poems he composed dozens of settings for solo voice with piano. He met and heard many contemporary musicians both in Prague and during visits to Vienna, and had a keen critical eye and ear, reflected in his sometimes cutting opinions of such figures as Steibelt and WпїЅlfl. He also reported in detail on his conversations with Beethoven, painting a vivid picture of the master. His Autobiography was published in the German-Bohemian periodical Libussa in installments between 1845 and 1850. It has never been republished since then in German, though there was an edition in Czech in 1941. This is the first complete translation of this interesting and highly informative work, giving a view of the life and times of a leading cultural figure of the musical Romantic.


Michael Beckerman: