Jan Hugo Voříšek (1791–1825), born the year that Mozart died, is, we believe, the one who stands out amongst the Bohemian composers at the time of Beethoven. He is currently enjoying a well-deserved renaissance. Our edition of selected piano works, edited by Dana Zahn, focuses on shorter pieces (Impromptus, Fantasy, Variations), but also contains a real gem: the B minor Piano Sonata “Quasi una Fantasia” (op. 20).
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Jan Hugo Voríšek
A composer, pianist, and organist from Bohemia whose works point to the beginning of early musical Romanticism; he was, for instance, the first to use the term impromptu for a piano piece. Aside from his compositional output he was one of the most popular pianists in Vienna during his lifetime. He wrote songs, cantatas, chamber music, and works for orchestra, among other things.
|1791||Born in Vamberk on May 11, the son of a family of cantors.|
|from 1794||He receives his first lessons from his father. While still a child he begins composing and giving concerts.|
|from 1800||He studies philosophy in Prague.|
|around 1804||He becomes a pupil of Václav Jan Tomášek. His compositions are premiered in Prague.|
|from 1813||In Vienna he takes lessons with Johann Nepomuk Hummel. His Twelve Rhapsodies for piano, op. 1, earn Beethoven’s praise.|
|from 1814||Within Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of Friends of Music), Voříšek is active as a choir accompanist, conductor, and organist.|
|1816||He takes over Hummel’s class.|
|around 1819||Composition of the Sonata for Piano and Violin, op. 5.|
|1822||Voříšek becomes second court organist.|
|1823||His famous Symphony in D major, op. 23, is written.|
|1824||He becomes the leading organist at the Viennese court and is named honorary member of the Styrian Music Society.|
|1825||Dies of tuberculosis on November 19.|