ADALBERT GYROWETZ (1763 - 1850)
Born in České Budějovice (Budweis), the Bohemian composer Adalbert Gyrowetz studied law and appeared as a conductor and violinist in Prague before leaving to take employment as secretary to a nobleman, a position that also brought musical activities. Moving to Vienna, he received encouragement from Mozart and travelled in Italy as secretary and violin teacher to Prince Ruspoli, meeting Goethe and various artists in Rome and writing there his first six string quartets. He went on to Naples in order to develop his abilities as a composer, studying with Paisiello and meeting Goethe again. He later travelled north to France, and was welcomed in Paris, where his works were already in print. At the start of the Revolution in 1789 he moved to London, where he was received by the Prince Regent and had his works included in Haydn’s Salomon concerts before returning to the Continent in 1792. Finally reaching Vienna, he continued to receive patronage from leading families, combining his musical skills with the art of diplomacy, assisted by his command of a number of languages. He settled in Vienna as Kapellmeister and composer at the Kärntnertor and Burgtheater and then as Vice Court Kapellmeister. By the end of his long and musically prolific life his compositions seem to belong to quite a different age. He was born when Mozart was seven; by the time of his death in 1850 both Chopin and Mendelssohn were dead.
Gyrowetz wrote a quantity of music for the theatre, particularly including Singspiel, incidental music and ballets in connection with his employment in the theatres in Vienna.
Gyrowetz’s vocal music includes Mass settings and other liturgical works, as well as secular songs.
Orchestral and Chamber Music
The quartets that Gyrowetz had written in Rome were played in Naples, to be heard at the houses of diplomatic residents including Sir William Hamilton. For King Ferdinand IV he composed serenades for the lira organizzata, a Neapolitan form of hurdy-gurdy for which Haydn was also commissioned to write. Gyrowetz’s chamber music includes a number of string quartets, piano trios and works for other chamber ensembles. His orchestral works include symphonies, serenades and divertimenti.