Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf

Biography

Born: November 2, 1739 in Vienna, Austria   Died: October 24, 1799 in Neuhof, Czechoslovakia   Country: Austria   Period: Classical
Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf, born simply Karl Ditters, was an Austrian contemporary of Haydn and one of the most popular composers in Europe in his day. As a virtuoso violinist and prolific composer he was a favorite of various court ensembles. His popularity was said to rival that of Haydn, Gluck, and Mozart. During his 60 years of life, he composed over 120 symphonies, 45 operas, a myriad of sacred and chamber works, and completed his Read more autobiography two days before his death. Although his music had circulated all over Europe, he never found a source of stable patronage as Haydn did, and he reportedly died in dire financial straits.
Ditters began his career as a violin virtuoso. Employed in a church orchestra at age 10 or 11, he moved on to the court orchestra of the Prince of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. There he studied composition under Giuseppe Bonno, the court composer and Kapellmeister. He also met Gluck, a fellow violinist, and Haydn. In 1761, at age 21, Ditters was appointed court violinist. Two years later, in 1763, he made his first trip abroad, traveling to Italy with Gluck and performing.
Ditters left the imperial court in 1764 after a dispute. He became Kapellmeister for the court of the Bishop of Grosswardein, in what is now Romania, and produced mostly sacred music for five years. After a dispute with Empress Maria Theresia, the Bishop disbanded his chapel, leaving Ditters unemployed. The following year, Ditters became acquainted with the Prince-Bishop of Breslau, Schaffgotsch, who appointed Ditters court composer in 1770. The court was located in the small hamlet of Johannisberg, and to persuade Ditters to remain in such an out-of-the-way locale, the prince bestowed upon him many honors and titles, including the Order of the Golden Spur and the position of Overseer of Forests and Chief Magistrate. In 1772 Ditters gained noble status and appended "von Dittersdorf" to his surname.
During his years in Johannisberg, Ditters composed numerous symphonies, chamber works, and operas. This period is considered his most creative, and for a time he was in the running to succeed Gassmann as Kapellmeister at the court of Emperor Joseph II. In the middle 1780s, several of his compositions were performed in prestigious circumstances. The imperial palace was the venue for performances of six of his 12 "Ovid" symphonies. As a symphonist Ditters gained a reputation for humor and formal inventiveness, and even today those adventurous musicians who unearth his works are likely to be delighted by those same qualities.
The year 1786 proved to be a defining one for Ditters: his comic opera, Der Apotheker und der Doktor (The Pharmacist and the Doctor) premiered in Vienna with overwhelming success. It soon became the most popular opera in Europe, rapidly spreading to opera houses across the continent. Riding on a wave of popularity, Ditters composed eight more comic operas over the next five years, and these singspiele, works with spoken dialogue and folkish elements, proved extremely influential over the next half century. Among their direct successors was Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.
In the middle 1790s, Ditters' employment with the Prince-Bishop Schaffgotsch came to an end. History is obscure about why, but the separation was caused either by the Prince's death or by court intrigues that led to Ditters' expulsion. Ditters' popularity began fading as well. Facing an impoverished future, Ditters found another patron in Baron Ignaz von Stillfried, who in 1795 installed the composer in his castle in southern Bohemia. His final years were spent editing his works and writing his autobiographical Lebenbeschreibung (Leipzig, 1801). Read less
Browse 1-25 of 37 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Baroque Bohemia & Beyond VII: Dittersdorff, Jirovec, Neubauer
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1301 Release Date: 10/16/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vojtech Jirovec,  Franz Christoph Neubauer,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
    Conductor:  Petr Chromcak
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Romantic Harp Concertos
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95167 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  François Boieldieu,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf  ... 
    Performer:  Charlotte Balzereit,  Giselle Herbert,  Marc Grauwels,  Jutta Zoff  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicol Matt,  Bernard Labadie,  Siegfried Kurz,  Vladislav Czarnecki
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  • 3.
    A Viennese Quartet Party
    Label: Omnibus Classics   Catalog: 15006 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Johann Baptist Vanhal,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    On sale! $29.98
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  • 4.
    100 Great Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon,  Christopher Hogwood,  Thomas Füri,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Camerata Bern  ... 
    CD: $245.99
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  • 5.
    Label: Bayer Records   Catalog: 10023839 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
    Performer:  Harald Stamm,  Frieder Lang,  Thomas Pfeiffer,  Hildegard Uhrmacher  ... 
    Conductor:  James Lockhart
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  • 6.
    Dittersdorf, Hoffmeister, Vanhal: Concertos / Edicson Ruiz, Christian Vasquez
    Label: Phil.harmonie   Catalog: 6008 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Franz Anton Hoffmeister,  Johann Baptist Vanhal
    Performer:  Edicson Ruiz
    Conductor:  Christian Vásquez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $22.49
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  • 7.
    The Artistry Of Dennis Brain
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1363 Release Date: 12/21/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Paul Dukas,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Leopold Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Gerald Moore,  Alfred Cursue,  Edmund Chapman  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Haas,  J.A. Westrup,  Norman Del Mar,  Walter Susskind
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Baroque Ensemble,  Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble
    CD: $9.99
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  • 8.
    Baroque Bohemia & Beyond Vol 5 / Petr Chromcak, Czech Chamber Philharmonic
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1101 Release Date: 11/22/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Wenzel Kallick,  Dominik Josef Skroup,  Jan Krtitel Neruda  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Kos,  Igor Fantisak,  Eliska Adamova,  Karel Vencour  ... 
    Conductor:  Petr Chromcak
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 9.
    Takako Nishizaki Plays Suzuki Evergreens, Vol. 4
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572381 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Francesco Maria Veracini  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Terence Dennis,  Maria Kliegel,  Alexander Jablokov
    Conductor:  Peter Walls,  Oliver Dohnányi
    On sale! $12.99
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  • 10.
    Laudate Pueri Dominum
    Label: Ars Musici   Catalog: 232455 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Orlando de Lassus,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Giovanni Croce  ... 
    Performer:  Eberhard Kraus
    Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburger Domspatzen,  Consortium Musicum Munich
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    Icon - Dennis Brain - The Horn Player Performs Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6010 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Leopold Mozart,  Paul Dukas,  Gordon Jacob,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Gerald Moore,  Stephen Waters,  Gareth Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  Norman Del Mar,  Sir Jack Allen Westrup,  Karl Haas,  Guido Cantelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morley College Symphony Orchestra,  Dennis Brain Ensemble,  Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Works For Harp & Orchestra - Françaix, Et Al / Rogner, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1388 Release Date: 01/22/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Jean Françaix,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
    Performer:  Jutta Zoff
    Conductor:  Heinz Rögner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 13.
    The Early Viennese School / Demenga, Füri, Holliger, Camerata Bern
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 410599 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Matthias Georg Monn,  Joseph (?Franz) Starzer,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Georg Albrechtsberger  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger,  Thomas Demenga,  Thomas Füri
    Conductor:  Thomas Füri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Bern
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  • 14.
    Classical Oboe / Lajos Lencses, Budapest Strings, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98277 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johann Baptist Vanhal
    Performer:  Lajos Lencsés
    Conductor:  Lajos Lencsés
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Strings,  Franz Liszt Academy Chamber Orchestra,  Auer String Quartet
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  • 15.
    Dittersdorf: Sinfonias / Cassuto, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570198 Release Date: 01/16/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
    Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 16.
    Handel, Dittersdorf, Boieldieu: Harp Concertos  / Claudia Antonelli
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3309 Release Date: 11/07/2006  
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  François Boieldieu
    Performer:  Claudia Antonelli
    Conductor:  Hans Ludwig Hirsch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Innsbruck Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 17.
    Discover - Music Of The Classical Era
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8558180-81 Release Date: 11/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Roman Hoffstetter,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf  ... 
    Performer:  Jénö Jandó,  Kálmán Berkes,  Joseph Payne,  Phoebe Payne  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Uwe Grodd,  Mátyás Antal,  Kálmán Berkes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kodály String Quartet,  Capella Istropolitana,  Failoni Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    Harp Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000518402 Release Date: 09/13/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Rosetti,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Arvo Pärt,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Performer:  Naoko Yoshino,  Catherine Michel,  Gidon Kremer,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio de Almeida,  Iona Brown,  Richard Bonynge,  Marcel Couraud  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 19.
    Dittersdorf, Stamitz: Concertos / Hortnagel, Lemmen, Storck, Zukerman
    Label: Vox   Catalog: 62 Release Date: 09/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
    Performer:  George Zukerman,  Helga Storck,  Günter Lemmen,  Georg Hörtnagel
    Conductor:  Jörg Faerber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
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  • 20.
    Dittersdorf, Vanhal: Double Bass Concertos / Nwanoku, Et Al
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67179 Release Date: 01/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Baptist Vanhal
    Performer:  Chi-Chi Nwanoku
    Conductor:  Paul Goodwin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 21.
    Fawkes, Richard: The History Of Classical Music / Robert Powell
    Label: Naxos Audio Books   Catalog: 4140 Release Date: 08/31/1999   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Hildegard of Bingen,  Alfonso X (El Sabio),  Guillaume de Machaut  ... 
    Performer:  Kasia Elsner,  Simon Weir,  Jennifer Purvis,  Richard Fawkes  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicholas Kraemer,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Hanspeter Gmür,  Barry Wordsworth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nova Schola Gregoriana,  In Dulci Jubilo Children's Choir,  Oxford Camerata  ... 
    On sale! $28.98
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  • 22.
    Dittersdorf: Sinfonias / Uwe Grodd, Failoni Orchestra
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553974 Release Date: 09/29/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
    Conductor:  Uwe Grodd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Failoni Orchestra Budapest
    CD: $9.99
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  • 23.
    The 18th Century Symphony - Dittersdorf: Sinfonias / Grodd
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553975 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
    Conductor:  Uwe Grodd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Failoni Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 24.
    Harp Concertos / Robles, Ellis
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 452585 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Reinhold Gliere,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Marisa Robles,  Osian Ellis,  Hubert Jellinek,  Werner Tripp
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Richard Bonynge,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Karl Münchinger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 25.
    Handel, Dittersdorf, Boieldieu: Harp Concertos / Antonelli
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47285 Release Date: 08/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  François Boieldieu,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Claudia Antonelli
    Conductor:  Hans Ludwig Hirsch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Innsbruck Chamber Orchestra
    On sale! $11.98
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