Joseph Woelfl—Life and Artistic Activity

Ewa Bogula

Abstrakt

The present article constitutes an introduction to the artistic profile of Austrian composer and piano virtuoso Joseph Woelfl. This forgotten creative personality left an artistic legacy of instrumental music, stage works, numerous orchestral compositions, piano concertos, a concerto for piano and violin, and a chamber concerto. Beyond this, he wrote numerous other chamber works scored for various ensembles; but above all, he created an array of works for solo piano or two pianos, as well as piano pieces of pedagogical character.

The artist was born on 24 December 1773 in Salzburg, where he began his musical education. In 1790, he left his hometown of Salzburg and, probably following in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s footsteps, set out for Vienna. He did not remain there long, however, because in 1791, he was accepted for service to Prince Michał Kleofas Ogiński in Warsaw. The pianist-composer returned to Vienna probably ca 1795. He set out on his next conquest of European cities in 1799. This period of tours lasted until 1801. At this time he visited, among other cities, Prague, Leipzig, Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden. In 1801, he arrived in Paris, where he spent the next four years of his life. In 1805, he left the French capital and set out for London, where he remained until his death. He passed away on 21 May 1812.

In his intensive artistic career, Joseph Woelfl devoted himself mainly to piano performance and composition; beyond this, he also engaged in pedagogical activity. His abundant artistic output is nearly forgotten today, so it is worthwhile to remind a broader audience of this distinguished figure.

Słowa kluczowe: Joseph Woelfl, piano, virtuosity, brillant style, Salzburg, Vienna, Warsaw, Paris, London
References

Books and articles

Baird O., Joseph Woelfl in Warsaw: His Polish Patrons, Pupils, Addressees and Friends, “The Musical Times” 159 (2018), No. 1948.

Baum R., Joseph Wölfl (1773–1812). Leben, Klavierwerke, Klavierkammermusik und Klavierkonzerte, Kassel 1928.

Beethoven aus der Sicht seiner Zeitgenossen in Tagebücher, Briefen, Gedichten und Erinnerungen, K.M. Kopitz, R. Ladenbach (eds.), Vol. 1, München 2009.

Bernacki L., Teatr, dramat i muzyka za Stanisława Augusta, Vol. 1, Źródła i materiały, Warszawa 1979.

Chybiński A., Woelffl Joseph [in:] Słownik muzyków dawnej Polski do roku 1800, Kraków 1949.

DeNora T., The Beethoven-Wölffl Piano Duel: Aesthetic Debates and Social Boundaries, [in:] Beethoven and the Construction of Genius. Musical Politics in Vienna, 1792–1803, Berkeley 1995.

Eitner R., Woelfl Joseph [in:] idem, Biographisch-Bibliographisches Quellen-Lexikon der Musiker und Musikgelehrten, Vol. 10, Leipzig 1904.

Feicht H., Musikalische Beziehungen zwischen Wien und Warschau, “Studien zur Musikwissenschaft” 25 (1962).

Haider-Dechant M., Joseph Woelfl. Verzeichnis seiner Werke, Wien 2011.

Haider-Dechant M., Wölfl Joseph, [in:] Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Personenteil, L. Finscher (ed.), Vol. 17, Kassel 2007.

Haman H.W., Wölfl Joseph, [in:] The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, S. Sadie (ed.), Vol. 20, London 1980.

Hitzig W., Die Briefe Joseph Wölfls an Breitkopf & Härtel, [in:] Jahrbuch von Breitkopf u. Härtel auf das Jahr 1926, Leipzig 1926.

Jędrychowski Z., Teatra grodzieńskie 1784–1864, Warszawa 2012.

“Joseph Woelfl-Almanach” 2012/2013, M. Haider-Dechant, H. Dechant (eds.). Mozart. Briefe und Aufzeichnungen, Gesamtausgabe, Wilhelm A. Bauer, O.E. Deutsch (eds.), 1962; revised ed., K. Urlich (ed.), Kassel 2005.

Ogiński M.K., Listy o muzyce, T. Strumiłło (ed.), Kraków 1956.

Partyk M., Wölfl Joseph, [in:] Encyklopedia muzyki PWM. Część biograficzna, E. Dziębowska (ed.), Vol. 12 (W–Ż), Kraków 2012.

Schmid M.H., Eder P., Mozart in Salzburg. Ein Ort für sein Talent, Salzburg 2006.

Schurig A., Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Sein Leben und sein Werk auf Grund der vornehmlich durch Nikolaus von Nissen gesammelten biographischen Quellen und der Ergebnisse der neuesten Forschung dargestellt, Leipzig 1913.

Srb M.M., Joseph Wölfl, sein Leben und seine Instrumentalwerke. Mit besonderer Berücksichtigung seiner Klavierwerke, PhD dissertation, Universität Wien, Wien 1930 (Universitätsbibliothek Wien, cat. No. D 2286).

West E., Woelfl Joseph, [in:] The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, S. Sadie (ed.), Vol. 27, London 2001.

Żórawska-Witkowska A., Muzyka na dworze i w teatrze Stanisława Augusta, Warszawa 1995.


Press sources

“Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung”: 24.03.1799, 10.04.1799, 24.04.1799, 15.05.1799, 29.05.1799, 25.12.1799, 5.03.1800, 28.05.1800, 1.01.1801, 3.06.1801, 8.07.1801, 20.02.1802, 21.10.1803, 28.11.1804, 9.12.1804, 27.03.1805, 8.06.1807, 7.12.1811.

“Journal de Paris”: 11.10.1801.

“Cocatrix”: 8.10.1803.

“Gazeta Warszawska”: Annex, 3.12.1802.

“The Morning Chronicle”: 25.05.1805, 1.06.1805, 23.05.1812.

“The Times”: 6.12.1805, 7.05.1806, 23.04.1808, 8.02.1811, 28.03.1811.

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