Composer, organist, violinist and cellist Johann Baptist Vaňhal - also known as Wanhall or Van Hall - was born in Nechanice, Bohemia on 12 May 1739 into a peasant family. Initially he worked as a village organist and choir master but, on reaching Vienna, he established himself quickly as a musician of note.
He travelled to Italy to learn the popular Italian style of composition. This is the only period when he worked in opera, but his operatic compositions have been lost. Many of the details of Vaňhal's life are unclear.
He returned to Vienna, where he was able to earn a modest living for the last thirty years of his life, without working for a patron, probably becoming the first Viennese composer to be able to do this.
Vaňhal died in Vienna on 20 August 1813, aged seventy-four.
CD Spotlight. Finely Wrought - Symphonies by Johann Baptist Vaňhal, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Michael Halász conducts with the usual panache, drawing committed performances full of zest and swagger from the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra.'
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Record Box - Floating. Bohemian Flute Concertos, with Basil Ramsey