Pleyel, Ignaz Joseph

1757-1831

 

Composer and founder of the firm of Pleyel, Wolf et Cie., the famous Paris piano-makers. Born at Ruppersthal, near Vienna. He studied piano under Vanhall and lived for five years with Haydn, whose favorite pupil he was. In 1777 he became chapelmaster to Count Erody, but was allowed to go to Italy, where he spent four years in study. In 1781 he returned to Vienna, but went to Strasburg in 1783 as assistant chapelmaster of the Cathedral. In 1791 he was invited to conduct the Professional concerts in London, where he was a friendly rival of his old master, Haydn. He returned to Strasburg, but revolutionary troubles caused him to settle in Paris in 1795. Here he entered business as a music publisher, and, in 1807, founded a piano factory. He gave up composing and retired from active life to spend his last years on his estate, near Paris. His compositions   were extremely popular for some time and he promised to be a worthy successor of Haydn, but his work was so prolific that his invention failed. His later compositions are only arrangements of the former ones, and consequently his better works are now neglected. He wrote twenty-nine symphonies; two concertos; duets, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets for strings; a septet; six grand sonatas; songs; church-music, and two operas, Ifigenia en Aulide and Die Fee Urgele. His pianos are famous for their easy action and singing tone. Chopin made his debut in Pleyel's rooms in 1831.