Georg Ignaz Linek


Born: January 21, 1724; Bakov nad Jizerou, Czech Republic   Died: December 30, 1791; Bakov nad Jizerou, Czech Republic  
Linek is a typical and good example of a provincial eighteenth century Czech composer. He skillfully combined the rustic, tuneful, and energetic elements of Czech folk music with a solid understanding of the latest trends from the cities. He learned the rudiments of music in the Mlada Boleslav, an important provincial town for Czech music, from organist and composer Vaclav Cervenka. Following the typical pattern of the time, he then went to Read more Prague where he studied with the eminent organist and composer Josef Seger, organist at the famous Tyn Church on the old town square. In 1735 he attended the Piarist gymnasium at Kosmonosy where Jiri Benda was one of his fellow students. In 1743 Linek composed several fanfares for the coronation in Prague of Maria Theresa as Queen of Bohemia. After returning to Bakov, he successfully applied for the position of choirmaster; on the reverse of his application, his employers noted his sound character as well as his abilities as an organist and singer. On August 3, 1751, he married Terezie Capkova from Jicin and together they had five children, one of whom died in childhood. In addition to his musical and administrative responsibilities, Linek was also an active member of the local literary fraternity and became its elder in 1759. Bakov was ravaged by fire in 1774, which destroyed much of the center of the town, including Linek's house and most of his books and music. Despite having an official position, Linek lived in poverty. Shortly before his death he appealed to the town authorities for an advance on his Christmas bonus, pointing out his 44 years of service to the town. He died shortly thereafter of tuberculosis.

Linek's surviving output is large, though a thorough catalog or assessment of his output is yet to be made. He composed concertos and other instrumental works, though much of his output reveals the demands of his position to compose for the choir. In addition to Latin he also wrote many pieces in the Czech language, primarily pastorellas for Christmas and pieces devoted to Czech saints. His most popular work is the charming Missa Pastoralis, which has a final section in Czech based on the popular Christmas hymn Narodil se Kristus Pán (Christ the Lord is born to us). Read less

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