51. Adalbert Gyrowetz [365 Composers for 2013]


20th February – Adalbert Gyrowetz


Gyrowetz (20th February 1763 – 19th March 1850) is our composer for 20th February, to mark the day of his birth.
Nationality: Bohemian
Lifespan: 87 years
Genre: Classical
Education: with his father
Fame Ranking: 5

Gyrowetz was a prolific composer, with a portfolio mainly consisting of instrumental works and string quartets. He also wrote several operas and “singspiele”, which translates as “sing-play” in English and was a kind of German musical drama similar to opera but also containing spoken words.

Gyrowetz’s father had worked at Budweis Cathedral as choirmaster, and it was there that the young Gyrowetz began his musical education, which was continued in Prague. With his father he studied violin, keyboard and composition. In Prague he initially studied law, but had to cut short his education due to lack of funds resulting from illness. His cash-flow problems led him to find employment in Brno, working for Count Franz von Funfkirchen as a secretary, and he there began composing full time, dedicating several symphonies to his wealthy patron. Count Funfkirchen only hired musical employees, regardless of their role on his estate. He later lived in Vienna, Paris, Rome and London, and met many of the famous artists and literati of his day, including Mozart, Haydn and Goethe.

Gyrowetz’s style remained “classical”, meaning that for him balance and good proportion of form was of vital importance. Although many of his contemporaries were beginning to explore stylistic changes heralding the romantic era, and Gyrowetz himself dabbled a little with the greater freedoms allowed in the new style, he never felt truly comfortable composing Romantic music. He befriended many well-known romantic composers, such as Chopin and Beethoven. Chopin’s performance debut aged nine included a Gyrowetz concerto, and Gyrowetz served as a pallbearer at Beethoven’s funeral.

Here is the first movement of Gyrowetz’s Symphony in Eb Major:




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