Wanhal, Johann Baptist



Excellent and prolific composer; born of Dutch parentage, at Nechanicz, in Bohemia. His early musical instruction was received of Kozak at Marscherdorf and of Anton Erban at Nechanicz, and in 1760, under the patronage of Countess Schaffgotsche, he went to Vienna, where he studied under Dittersdorf, and devoted much time to reading the works of musical masters. By the kindness of Freiherr Riesch he took a long trip through Italy, returning to Vienna about 17 2. For a time after he returned he suffered from melancholia, but this finally left him, and he became a member of the household of Count Erdody. He died in Vienna. He wrote an enormous number of compositions, no less than one hundred string quartets and one hundred symphonies; over a score of masses; offertories; two requiems; a Stabat Mater, two operas and an oratorio and many other compositions in various styles. His music is natural and spirited in style and pleasing in harmony and was highly thought of in his day, especially in England, where it was heard before that of his contemporary, Haydn. Two of his compositions may he found in Dr. Crotch's Specimens of Music.