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Stamitz, Johann
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Johann Stamitz

(Born; Havlíckuv Brod, bap. 30 June 1717; Died; Mannheim, ?27 March, 1757). Bohemian composer. One of a family of musicians, he was engaged by the Mannheim court in Circa; 1741, becoming first violinist in 1743, Konzertmeister in 1745-6 and director of instrumental music in 1750. In 1754-5 he visited Paris, where his music was very successful. Under him the Mannheim orchestra became the most renowned ensemble of the time throughout Europe (see MANNHEIM SCHOOL).

One of the foremost early Classical symphonists, Stamitz wrote over 50 symphonies, ten orchestral trios, numerous concertos (most for violin), many chamber works and a few sacred pieces. Especially imaginative and distinguished are his symphonies and orchestral trios, which were the first symphonic works consistently (though not always) in four movements, including a minuet and trio. Stamitz was important for transferring and adapting the Italian overture style to the symphony. He added more wind parts to the usual ensemble (strings, sometimes with two horns), often giving them a distinctive role; he used striking dynamic effects (notably the crescendo); and he introduced contrasting thematic material in many first movements. He strongly influenced other Mannheim composers.

Orchestral music over 50 syms.; 10 orch trios; over 25 concs., incl. 14 for vn, 11 for fl, 1 for cl; dances

Chamber music14 trios; 8 vn sonatas; vn solo works

Vocal music Mass, D (1755); 4 sacred works; 2 secular vocal works

(c)Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK

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