16. června  2015 v 10:00  rubrika: Authors

Voříšek Jan Václav Hugo (1791 - 1825)

Jan Václav Hugo Voříšek - Foto: Wikimedia Commons

Jan Václav Hugo VoříšekFoto: Wikimedia Commons

Jan Hugo (christened Jan Václav) Voříšek came from a large musical family of a Czech provincial composer. Voříšek’s unusual talent was cultivated by his father from the age of three; he played the piano, the organ, he sang, and already as a child he performed in public.

At the age of eleven he entered a normal school from which he proceeded to the Lesser Town grammar school, and he also completed the three-year course of “filosofie” “philosophy”, i.e. a preparatory course for future university studies (in his case law studies). Throughout his studies he achieved brilliant results in all subjects, a consequence not only of his talents, but also of his work habits he had acquired from his father. In 1804, and possibly also a short time afterwards, he studied under V. J. Tomášek, who once scribbled a note next to Voříšek’s name, saying: “A big talent. Free of charge.” The two men remained in touch also in years to come when Tomášek did his best to promote Voříšek’s art in Vienna. 

During his stay in Prague Voříšek met with several significant personalities (among his tutors belonged Mozart’s biographer F. X. Němeček or Bernard Bolzano) and also with his first success as a composer. The Prague milieu was also in concord with Voříšek’s lifelong admiration for Mozart’s work. Nevertheless, in the year 1813 he left Prague to start his law studies in Vienna, to try and assert himself as a musician in the broader competition of the European metropolis – and to meet Beethoven. 

Around 1820, Voříšek was largely considered one of the best pianists in Vienna, and he often performed in public together with other artists (e.g. his countrymen the violoncellist Pecháček and the violinist Jansa, with the violinists K. Böhm and I. Schuppanzigh, with I. Moscheles, and so on). 

The composition of Voříšek’s climactic works (the piano Impromptus, Sonata for piano and violin op. 5, Symphony D major) also falls within this period. As a piano pedagogue he had to present himself regularly in public with demanding virtuoso concertante pieces. However, judging by the words of his biographer and friend A. Fuchs, Voříšek was merely a “Clavierspieler aus Noth” – his beloved instrument was the organ. In 1818 he attempted for the first time to secure himself a position as an organist at the court, but without success. He succeeded only in 1822, after he had convincingly won the audition for the position of the second court organist. He thus abandoned his temporary unpaid job as a trainee at the Court War Council (where he had started after graduation), and enjoyed his first ever permanent salaried job. In 1824 he was appointed first organist but that very year he fell ill with lung tuberculosis and died the following year. 

Compositions by Jan Václav Hugo Voříšek published in Czech Radio:
Graduale Benedictus es
Graduale Benedictus es (parts)
Introduction and Rondo Brilliant for piano and orchestra, op. 22
Offertorium Mentis opressae
Offertorium Mentis opressae (parts)
Offertorium Quoniam iniquitatem
Offertorium Quoniam iniquitatem (parts)  

 

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