Johann Wenzel Stamitz

Biography

Born: June 19, 1717 in Nemecký    Died: March 27, 1757 in Mannheim, Germany  
Johann Stamitz was an important composer of the early Classical period, notable as the chief member of the so-called Mannheim School. His innovations in the development of the symphony clearly place him in the pioneering ranks of his time. Stamitz was the first major composer to become identified with the use of four movements in the symphony. Moreover, he often used a third movement minuet with a trio, a form that many others would adopt later Read more on, including Beethoven. His first movements often approximated the structure of what would become the typical sonata form of first subject, second subject, development and reprise. He produced at least 72 symphonies, though about 58 survive. He also wrote ten orchestral trios, nine of which come from his mature period and nearly rank with his symphonies in importance. In addition, he wrote a number of concertos, chamber music, and sacred music. None of his original manuscripts have survived, thus creating difficulties in dating some of his compositions.

Stamitz was born probably in mid-June, 1717. His father was an organist and schoolmaster who gave him his first music lessons. In 1728, young Johann, already proficient on the violin, entered the Jesuit-run Gymnasium in Jihlava, known for its excellence in music education. He left the gymnasium in 1734, and, after a brief period of study at Prague University, seems to have launched a career as a concert violinist. His activities from this point until 1741 are not known, though one can speculate that whatever career inroads he made were mostly insignificant.

By 1742, however, he had become a respected violinist in Mannheim and the following year advanced from a lower-chair position in the Mannheim Court orchestra to the first chair post. He was eventually appointed conductor, (actually "leader") of the ensemble. Stamitz undoubtedly wrote many of his early symphonies during the early- and mid-1740s. He probably began writing for the Court chapel by the latter time, as well.

In 1744, Stamitz married Maria Antonia Lüneborn. He was shaping his Mannheim Court ensemble now into one of the finest orchestras in Europe. As a conductor, he was known to be a perfectionist, able to achieve performances of the highest standards. He toured Germany with the group, both he and the players receiving lavish praise in every city where they performed. The orchestra became associated with a group of composers, the so-called Mannheim School, at the head of which stood Stamitz, and whose members included Ignaz Holzbauer (1711 - 1783), Franz Xaver Richter (1709 - 1789), and later on Christian Cannibich (1731 - 1798) and Stamitz's son, Karl (d. 1801).

In 1750, Stamitz was appointed director of chamber music at the Court. This was a newly-created post, probably given him as a result of the success of his compositions in this genre. By now, some of his six trios for violin, flute, and basso continuo had been written, as well as sonatas for violin and basso continuo.

By the early-1750s, Stamitz was turning out symphonies of greater sophistication. They were usually comprised of four movements now, and his handling of structure and thematic development was more assured. In the summer of 1754, Stamitz departed for Paris, where he was already a celebrity owing to his widely performed compositions. He enjoyed much acclaim on his tour there. The composer returned from Paris in 1755, and thereafter not much is known about his remaining years. Though Stamitz was still a young man, his health must have begun to decline rapidly. He died at the age of thirty-nine. Read less
Browse 26-39 of 39 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Gossec: Symphonies; Stamitz: Clarinet Concerto / Van Waas, Les Agrémens
    Label: Ricercar   Catalog: 218 Release Date: 09/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  François Joseph Gossec,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz
    Performer:  Guy van Waas
    Conductor:  Guy Van Waas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
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  • 27.
    Raretés Classiques Du Xviiie Siecle / Oliver, Feldman
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3125 Release Date: 08/05/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Tartini,  Jan Jiri Benda,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Giovanni Battista Sammartini
    Performer:  Sarn Oliver
    Conductor:  David Feldman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montpelier Symphony Orchestra
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  • 28.
    J. Stamitz, F.x. Richter: Early String Symphonies / Murphy
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186028 Release Date: 05/27/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Franz Xaver Richter
    Conductor:  Simon Murphy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Dutch Academy
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  • 29.
    Splendor Of The Classical Clarinet - Concertos / Rapin, Etc
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3058 Release Date: 04/08/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Stamitz,  Franz Anton Hoffmeister,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Franz Xaver Pokorny
    Performer:  Frédéric Rapin
    Conductor:  Jean-François Antonioli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arpeggione Ensemble
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  • 30.
    Label: Antes Edition   Catalog: 319159 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Friedrich Kuhlau,  Paul Hindemith,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Mathias Von Brenndorff
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  • 31.
    The World Of The 18th-century Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 554761 Release Date: 04/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christian Cannabich,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Joseph Martin Kraus,  Johann Baptist Vanhal  ... 
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  • 32.
    Famous Classical Trumpet Concertos - Albinoni, Haydn, Et Al
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 464028 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod,  Henry Purcell,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Preston,  Håkan Hardenberger
    Conductor:  Elgar Howarth,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 33.
    The 18th Century Symphony - Stamitz: Symphonies Vol 2 / Ward
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554447 Release Date: 05/11/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz
    Conductor:  Nicholas Ward
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northern Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 34.
    Stamitz: Missa Solemnis, Etc / Helbich, Frimmer, Et Al
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 999471 Release Date: 05/12/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz
    Performer:  Monica Frimmer,  Tom Sol,  Sylvia Schlüter,  Harry Van Berne
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Helbich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bremen Baroque Orchestra,  Alsfeld Vocal Ensemble
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  • 35.
    Hansgeorg Schmeiser Plays Music For Solo Flute
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5522 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert  ... 
    Performer:  Hansgeorg Schmeiser
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  • 36.
    Stamitz: Orchestral Trios Vol 1 / Armstrong, New Zealand Co
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553213 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz
    Conductor:  Donald Armstrong
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 37.
    Stamitz: Symphonies Vol 1 / Armstrong, New Zealand Co
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553194 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz
    Conductor:  Donald Armstrong
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 38.
    Stamitz, Richter, Haydn: Flute Concertos / Kuijken, Lamon
    Label: Sony Classical Vivarte Series   Catalog: 48045 Release Date: 05/05/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Franz Xaver Richter  ... 
    Performer:  Claire Guimond,  Barthold Kuijken
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
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  • 39.
    Haydn, Hummel, Et Al: Trumpet Concertos / Hardenberger, Asmf
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420203 Release Date: 10/02/1987   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel,  Johann Wilhelm Hertel,  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Håkan Hardenberger
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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