JOHANN STAMITZ (1717 - 1757)
The Bohemian composer Johann Stamitz, a versatile performer on a number of instruments, is chiefly known for his work with the Mannheim orchestra, which he built into what a later visitor, the English Dr Burney, described as an army of generals. He seems to have joined the musical establishment of the Elector Palatine, whose capital was at Mannheim, in 1741, as a violinist, and by 1750 had become director of instrumental music. The Mannheim orchestra became famous for its discipline, evident in particular in the Mannheim crescendo, an effective increase in volume and following decrease that became a feature of the music written for the orchestra, which had other characteristic features, including the ascending melodic figure known as the Mannheim rocket.
A smaller amount of chamber music by Stamitz consists of trios and sonatas for violin and basso continuo.