107. Vaclav Jan Krtitel Tomasek [365 Composers for 2013]


17th April – Vaclav Tomasek

tomasek Tomasek (17th April 1774 – 3rd April 1850) is our composer for 17th April, to mark the day of his birth.
Nationality: Czech
Lifespan: 75 years
Genre: Classical
Education: Self-taught
Fame Ranking: 5

Tomasek, unusual amongst composers, did not grow up a musical child. Instead he approached the subject as an adult and taught himself the rudiments of music theory, and piano, from books. As a university student, he began composing short pieces, and also started giving recitals on the piano in fashionable salons in Prague. Not long afterwards, he became a teacher himself. Perhaps surprisingly, his students included some musicians who went on to become famous and successful, such as Eduard Hanslick, who became a renowned music critic.

In 1806 Tomasek received patronage from the wealthy Count Georg Buquoy. He resided at his aristocratic home and gave music lessons, but was also granted considerable freedom to travel, which he used to his advantage. During this period, Tomasek was at his most creative composition-wise. He revered Mozart and the pure classical style. In later years, however, he did veer towards Romanticism slightly more, as was fashionable.

In 1824 Tomasek married, and left the Count’s employ, but his marriage was unhappy and he became reclusive and unproductive. Only a couple of years later, the marriage fell apart, and Tomasek bounced back, setting up weekly musical soirees and performing his own works, as well as welcoming VIPs such as Wagner and Berlioz as participants in lively musical debates.

Tomasek left behind a wealth of piano music and songs. His home in Prague is commemorated with a plaque.

Here is the first part of Tomasek’s Requiem in C minor:



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