Gyrowetz, Adelbert


Bohemian conductor and prolific composer; born at Budweis, Bohemia, and received some musical instruction from his father, a choirmaster. He studied law, still working at music in the meantime. In a financial strait, he became the private secretary of Count Funfkirchen, which proved a fortunate move, as his employer was a patron of music, and assisted Gyrowetz to have his compositions produced. On going to Vienna he became acquainted with Mozart, who furthered the performance of his symphonies in that city; and for the ensuing two years he studied under Sala at Naples, composing meanwhile. His style resembled that of Haydn, of whom he was more or less consciously an imitator; and this led to a confusion of authorship, several of his works having been attributed to Haydn. Going to Paris, he proved his right to these, and this gave the necessary touch of distinction to his reputation. His compositions were now in demand by publishers, and on his arrival in London he was engaged by Salomon as composer, simultaneously with his model, Haydn. Here he wrote the opera, Semiramide (or Semiramis), rehearsed for performance in 1792, but destroyed by fire in the building in which it was to have been given. He left London, and on his return to Germany was appointed Secretary of Legation, holding that post in several cities. From 1804 to 1831 he was music-director at the Court Opera in Vienna. His numerous compositions, though popular in their time, were so far neglected during the latter part of his life as to necessitate a benefit concert, for which his friends secured the production of his cantata, Die Dorfschule, and thus supplemented his small pension. His most successful and other piano music, serenades, work was Der Augenarzt, one of about thirty operas and operettas. He also composed forty ballets; over sixty symphonies; forty sonatas for piano and violin; a dozen nocturnes overtures, marches and dances; cantatas; songs; choruses; and about sixty string quartets and other chamber-music.