Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Wranitzky [Vranický, Wraniczky, Wranizky], Paul [Pavel]

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Wranitzky [Vranický, Wraniczky, Wranizky], Paul [Pavel]

(b Nová Říše, Moravia, 30 Dec 1756; d Vienna, 26 Sept 1808). Czech composer, conductor and violinist active in Vienna, brother of Anton Wranitzky. He studied singing and the organ, violin and viola at the Premonstratensian monastery grammar school in Nová Říše, and later at Jihlava (1770–71). At Olomouc he studied theology and became an excellent violinist. At 20 he went to Vienna, where he entered the theological seminary and served as its choirmaster. He continued his musical studies with J.M. Kraus (the Kapellmeister to the Swedish court, who visited Vienna in about 1783). Suggestions that he was also a pupil of Haydn remain unsubstantiated.

He served as music director for Count Johann Baptist Esterházy in the spring of 1784 and was appointed director of the newly created Kärntnertortheater orchestra in October 1785, a position he held until 1787, when he joined the Burgtheater orchestra. He was named its director in either 1792 or 1793. In about 1786 he started composing symphonies; he was asked to write one for the coronation of Franz II in 1792. He also composed several works for the private use of Franz’s second wife, Marie Therese (1772–1807). Wranitzky conducted a gala performance of his Singspiel Oberon during the coronation festivities of Leopold II at Frankfurt (15 October 1790). During the next 15 years Wranizkty composed at least another 20 works for the stage. He maintained his position with the court theatres until his death in 1808 when his brother Anton replaced him.

Wranitzky played a prominent role in the musical life of Vienna. Both Haydn and Beethoven preferred him as a conductor of their works: Haydn insisted on his direction of the Viennese performances of The Creation (1799, 1800), and at Beethoven’s request he conducted the première of that composer’s First Symphony (2 April 1800). From 1805 he alternated with Gyrowetz as head of the Adelige Liebhaber- oder Cavalier-Konzerte of Vienna. Wranitzky was a member of the same freemasons’ lodge as Mozart, ‘Zur gekrönten Hoffnung’ and after Mozart’s death served as a legal mediator for his widow in her negotiations with the publisher André. As secretary of the Viennese Tonkünstler-Societät he succeeded in settling Haydn’s lengthy quarrel with the society in December 1797. His friendly relations with Haydn are documented by Wranitzky’s letter to John Bland (12 December 1790) and by Haydn’s letter to Wranitzky (3 September 1800). Beethoven’s personal relationship with both Paul and Anton Wranitzky is shown in Czerny’s memoirs. Weber visited Paul Wranitzky in Vienna in 1803.

Wranitzky composed 51 symphonies, most of which have four movements in the standard Classical order, frequently with a slow introduction. The public performance of his Grande sinfonie caractéristique pour la paix avec la République françoise op.31 was forbidden by an imperial resolution (20 December 1797) as the title of the work was felt to be provocative. Like Beethoven’s Eroica, this symphony contains a funeral march as the slow movement, which is given the subtitle ‘The Fate and Death of Louis XVI’. Wranitzky also published 56 string quartets, the majority of which are set in the three-movement format of the Parisian quatour concertant. In these works Wranitzky explored the emerging Romantic style with daring harmonic progressions, theatrical gestures, and virtuoso display. Wranitzky’s music quickly fell out of favour after his death, as noted by Fétis: ‘The music of Wranitzky was in fashion when it was new because of his natural melodies and brilliant style. He treats the orchestra well, especially in symphonies. I recall that, in my youth, his works held up very well in comparison with those of Haydn. Their premature abandonment of today has been for me a source of astonishment’. Wranitzky’s best-known stage work and also one of his longest-surviving compositions was his first Singspiel Oberon. The enthusiastic reception of this work in Vienna prompted Schikaneder to conceive Die Zauberflöte for Mozart, whose setting shows certain striking resemblances to Wranitzky’s work. Goethe considered Wranitzky the most appropriate composer to set his Zauberflöte zweiter Teil, and sought his collaboration (letter, 1796). Oberon was eclipsed in popularity only in 1826 by Weber’s opera of the same name. Even more popular in their day were Wranitzky’s ballets, particularly Das Waldmädchen (though the ‘thème russe’ from this work, on which Beethoven wrote his 12 piano variations WoO71, is by Giornovichi).


MSS in CZ-Pnm, unless otherwise stated


Oberon, König der Elfen (romantisches Spl, 3, F.S. Seyler, adapted J.G.C.L. Giesecke, after C.M. Wieland: Oberon), Vienna, Wiedner, 7 Nov 1789, vs (?Berlin, 1791), ed. C.-H. Mahling and J. Veit (Munich, 1993)

Der dreifache Liebhaber (L’amant de trois jeunes filles) (Spl), Berlin, Königliches, 3 Feb 1791, lost

Walmir und Gertraud, oder Man kann es ja probieren (operetta, 3, J.B. Michaelis), ?Vienna, 1791

Rudolf von Felseck (Die Schwarzthaler Mühle; La tempesta) (Spl, J. Korompay), Vienna, Burg, 6 Oct 1792, lost

Merkur, der Heiratsstifter, oder Der Geiz im Geldkasten (Spl, 2), Vienna, Leopoldstadt, 21 Feb 1793, lost except 1 aria, CZ-K

Die Post-Station (Spl, 2, S.F. Küstner), Vienna, 1793, only lib extant

Das Fest der Lazaronen (operetta, 2, J. Perinet), Vienna, Leopoldstadt, 4 Feb 1794, vs (Offenbach, 1795)

Die Weinlese (La vendemmia; Les vendanges) (ballet/divertissement, A. Muzzarelli), Vienna, Hoftheater, 16 Oct 1794, arr. pf, A-Wn, CZ-K

Das Maroccanische Reich (op), ?Vienna, c1794–5, selections (Offenbach, 1797)

Die gute Mutter (op, 2, J.B. von Alxinger), Vienna, Kärntnertor, 11 May 1795, A-Wn

Zephir und Flora (ballet), Vienna, Hoftheater, 5 Sept 1795; selections, arr. pf (Vienna, 1796)

Rollas Tod (incid music, A. von Kotzebue), Vienna, 1795, ov. I-Fc

Das Waldmädchen (La selvaggia) (ballet, G. Traffieri), collab. J. Kinsky, Vienna, Kärntnertor, 23 Sept 1796, arr. pf (Vienna, 1816), other arrs.

Die Luftfahrer (ballet, Traffieri), Vienna, Hoftheater, 23 Feb 1797, lost

Johanna von Montfaucon (romantisches musikalisches Gemälde, 5, Kotzebue), Vienna, Kärntnertor, 25 Jan 1799, lost

Der Schreiner (Spl, 1, Kotzebue), Vienna, Kärntnertor, 18 July 1799, A-Wn, B-Bc

Die Waise der Berghöhle oder Der Zauber der beiden Bildnisse (ballet, 3, F. Clerico), collab. J. Weigl jr, Vienna, Burg, 14 March 1800, arr. pf (Vienna, 1800)

Das Urteil des Paris (ballet, 2, G. Gioja), Vienna, Hoftheater, 13 July 1801, arr. pf, A-Wgm

Das Picknick der Götter (divertissement, 2), Vienna, Schönbrunn, 12 Feb 1804, Wn

Der Raub der Sabinerinnen (L’enlèvement des Sabines) (ballet, 5, S. Gallet), Vienna, Hoftheater, 20 March 1804, only scenario extant

Das Mitgefühl (Liederspiel, 1, F. Treitschke), Vienna, Kärntnertor, 21 April 1804, Wn

Zufriedenheit mehr als Reichtum, oder Der Tyroler Jahrmarkt (ballet, Gallet), collab. Weigl and M. Umlauf, Vienna, Hoftheater, 23 Feb 1805, arr. pf (Vienna, 1805)

Medea (parody of Georg Benda: Medea und Jason), Vienna, after 1796, Wn


51 syms., incl. opp.2, 11, 16–19, 25, 31, 33, 35–7, 50–52, composed or pubd c1786–1805, some in A-Wn, I-Fc, elsewhere [thematic catalogue in Poštolka (1967)]

Concs.: 3 for vn; 1 for fl, op.24 (Offenbach, 1793); 1 for vc, op.27 (Offenbach, 1794); Concertante, fl, ob, op.39 (Offenbach, c1800); Sinfonia grande, with pf, A-Wn; Sym., with hpd, vn solo, Wn

Others: La chasse, pf, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 hn, 2 bn, timp, op.44 (Offenbach, c1807–8); divertimentos, dances, mostly Wn; arr. Haydn str qts h III:69–74, as 3 [6] divertissemens, 2 vn, va, vc, fl, ob, 2 hn, b (Offenbach, 1800)


partial thematic catalogue in Vyšinová, 1969

Str qnts: 6 in A-Wn, autograph as syms. in Wgm, arr. as 6 sestetti, fl, ob, vn, 2 va, vc (Vienna, 1788); 3 as op.11 (Paris, 1791); 6 as op.18 (Offenbach, c1792–3) [incl. op.11]; 3 quintetti concertants, op.14 (Paris, c1792–3); 3 as op.29 (Offenbach, 1794); 3 as op.38 (Offenbach, 1800); Grand quintetto, op.45 (Offenbach ?c1803)

Str qts: 3 as op.1 (Vienna, 1788); 3 as op.2 (Vienna, 1788), also as op.16 (Vienna, 1795); 6 as op.4, autograph 22 Nov 1787, Wgm, also as op.10 (Offenbach, 1790); 6 as op.15 (Offenbach, 1791), also 3 as op.15 (Vienna, 1793); 6 as op.9 (Speyer, 1791); 6 as op.16 (Paris, 1793), also as op.26 (Offenbach, 1793); 6 as op.23 (Offenbach, 1793); 6 as op.30 (Offenbach, 1794); 6 as op.32 (Augsburg, c1798); 3 as op.40 (Vienna, c1803); 1 as op.41 (Offenbach, c1803–4); 1 as op.45 (Offenbach, c1803–4); 1 as op.49 (Offenbach, c1803–4); 4 (1 in A, op.10, no.6, op.23, nos.4, 5) ed. in MAB, lxxxii, 1986

Str trios (vn, va, vc, unless otherwise stated): 6 for 2 vn, vc, op.13, autograph 24 Sept 1781, Wgm; 6 without op. no. (Vienna, 1788); 3 [6] trios concertants, opp.1–2 (Amsterdam, c1790); 3 [6] trios concertants, op.17 (Offenbach, 1792–3); 3 as op.3 (Paris, ?c1793), also as 3 trios concertants, op.20 (Offenbach, 1793); 3 in Wn, CZ-Pnm; 3 in D-Bsb (autograph)

Others: [6] Quartetto, fl, vn, va, vc (Vienna, 1786–7); 3 sonatas, vn, va, autograph Aug 1789, A-Wn; 6 quintetti, ob, vn, 2 va, vc, op.1 (Offenbach, 1789); 3 sonates, hpd/pf, vn, vc, op.1 (Vienna, 1793), also as op.21 (Offenbach, 1792); Sonata, D, hpd/pf, vn, vc, op.2 (Vienna, 1793); 3 quatuors, arr. cl, str (Paris, c1793–5); 3 quatuors, fl, vn, va, vc, op.28 (Offenbach, 1794); Sonata, hpd/pf, fl, op.31 (Offenbach, 1794); 3 quartetti, fl, vn, va, vc, op.17 (Vienna, 1796); 6 duos, 2 fl, op.2 (Berlin, 1798); 4 quintetts, ob, fl, 2 va, vc, op.3 (Berlin, 1798–1800); [3] Divertissements en trio, pf, vn, vc, op.32 (Offenbach, 1799); 6 duos concertants, 2 fl, op.33 (Augsburg, c1798); 3 divertissements, pf, vn, va, vc, op.34 (Offenbach, ?1798); 3 duos, 2 fl, op.42 (Offenbach, 1804); 3 trios, 2 fl, vc, op.53 (Offenbach, 1806–7); 6 divertimenti, vn, ob/vn, 2 va, 2 hn ad lib, b, Wn; Parthia, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bn, 2 hn, D-DO

other works

Sacred: Missa, S, A, T, B, 2 orch, A-Wn; others, doubtful

Secular vocal: Die Fürstenleier, cant., solo vv, chorus, orch, 1797, Wgm; masonic songs, c1785, mostly lost; many sets of canons, 2–4vv, mostly CZ-Pnm, D-Bsb

Hpd/pf: 3 sonates, op.22 (Offenbach, 1793); 2 sonatas, 4 hands, USSR–Ml; Polonaise, 4 hands; Feldmarsch des russischen Generals Benningsen (Altona, n.d.)





‘VI Quintetti pour Hautbois, Violon, deux Alte ð Violoncelle par Paul Wranizky’, Musikalische Real-zeitung, ii (1790), 173 only

Musikalische Korrespondenz der Teutschen filarmonischen Gesellschaft (1790), 80, 139; (1791), 146, 361

G.J. Dlabacž: ‘Versuch eines Verzeichnisses der vorzüglichern Tonkünstler in oder aus Böhmen’, Materialien zur alten und neuen Statistik von Böhmen, ed. J.A. Riegger, xii (Leipzig and Prague, 1794), 295–6

J.F. von Schönfeld, ed.: Jb der Tonkunst von Wien und Prag (Vienna, 1796/R), 67–8, 82ff, 92

AMZ, iii (1800–01), 45, 624; vi (1803–4), 583; ix (1806–7), 309, 817; xi (1808–9), 92; xiv (1812), 810, 813; xvi (1814), 877; xvii (1815), 467; xviii (1816), 441; xix (1817), 15

R. Haas: ‘Zur Wiener Ballettpantomime um den Prometheus’, NBeJb 1925, 84–103, esp. 87

V. Blažek: Bohemica v lobkovském zámeckém archivu v Roudnici n.L. [Bohemica in the Lobkowitz castle archives in Roudnici nad Labem] (Prague, 1936)

M. Očadlík: Svět orchestru [The orchestral world], ii (Prague, 1946, 3/1961), 66ff

J. LaRue: ‘A “Hail and Farewell” Quodlibet Symphony’, ML, xxxvii (1956), 250–59

C. Schoenbaum: ‘Die böhmischen Musiker in der Musikgeschichte Wiens’, SMw, xxv (1962), 475–95

M. Poštolka: ‘Thematisches Verzeichnis der Sinfonien Pavel Vranický’s’, MMC, no.20 (1967), 101–47

S. Tesař: ‘Nová Řiše’, OM, ii (1970), 88–9

P. Heerenová: ‘Zpevohra Oberon Pavla Vranického a její libreto’ [Paul Wranitzky’s Singspiel Oberon and its libretto], OM, iv (1972), 73–8

H. Unverricht: ‘Vier Briefkopierbücher des Offenbacher Musikverlags André’, Quellenstudien zur Musik: Wolfgang Schmieder zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. K. Dorfmüller and G. von Dadelsen (Frankfurt, 1972), 161–70

B. Paumgartner: ‘Von Mozarts “Zauberflöte” zu Goethes “Faust II”’, Vorträge und Essays (Salzburg, 1973), 101–13, esp. 104

R. Hickman: Six Bohemian Masters of the String Quartet (diss., U. of California, Berkeley, 1979)

P. Autexier: ‘La musique maçonnique’, Dix-huitième siècle, xix (1987), 97–104

C.-H. Mahling: ‘Original und Parodie: zu Georg Bendas Meda und Jason und Paul Wranitzkys Medea’, Untersuchungen zu Musikbeziehungen zwischen Mannheim, Böhmen und Mähren im späten 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhundert: Mannheim 1987, 244–95

R. Hickman: ‘The Flowering of the Viennese String Quartet in the Late Eighteenth Century’, MR, l (1989), 157–80

H.C.R. Landon: Mozart: the Golden Years 1781–1791 (London, 1989)

A.A. Abert: ‘Oberon in Nord und Süd’, Beiträge zur Musikgeschichte Nordeuropas: Kurt Gudewill zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. U. Haensel (Wolfenbüttel, 1997), 51–68

D. Link: The National Court Theatre in Mozart’s Vienna: Sources and Documents 1783–1792 (Oxford, 1998)


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