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Václav Jan Křtitel Tomasek
1774 - 1850
Czech Republic
Picture Picture
V.J.K. Tomasek
Václav Jan Křtitel Tomášek [Wenceslawo Joanne Tomascheck] (17/04/1774 - 03/04/1850), a Czech composer, born in Skutec (Bohemia). He was an influential teacher and pianist, and in 1824 he opened his own music institute in Prague. He educated a number of outstanding pianists and composers, such as A. Dreyschock and E. Hanslick. He soon became a leading personality on the Prague music scene. As a composer, he left behind a great number of valuable symphonic and concerto works, as well as remarkable religious music (Missa solemnis in C major, Requiem in C minor, Te Deum). He also tried his hand at composing musical plays and operas, but he mainly concentrated on piano pieces and solos. It is the songs with German lyrics by J. W. Goethe that represent his independent path towards romantic chamber airs. The ideas behind Tomásek's style are rooted in Classicism, but in many ways they presaged the birth of romanticism. In this regard, his short piano compositions are of great importance, as in them he preceded the greatest masters of this genre, Schubert, and Chopin.
Requiem in B minor
Period:Early Romanticism
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Requiem in B minor "mit obl. Vcl."
Requiem in C minor
Period:Early Romanticism
Composed in:1820
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:the victims of the inundation of the village of Stran near Cerveny Hradek
Label(s):Multisonic 31 0395-2
Requiem in C minor (Hymni in sacro pro defunctis cantari soliti 4 vocum), Op.70, for four voices, choir and orchestra. It contains:
- Requiem aeternam
- Dies irae
- Recordare
- Lacrimosa
- Domine Jesu Christe
- Hostias
- Quam olim Abrahae
- Sanctus
- Benedictus
- Agnus Dei
The most widely popular works of Tomasek's sacred works were the Missa Solemnis in C major, commissioned to mark the 1836 coronation of Ferdinand V, king of Bohemia, which continued to be performed in many churches for decades after the event; and the Requiem in C minor, dating from 1820.
Like requiems written by other composers - for instance - by Mozart (as a memento of his own imminent death), Schubert (as a recollection of the literary Mignon) or Verdi (lamenting the death of Alessandro Manzoni) - Tomasek's work, too, was inspired by a specific experience. Namely, he wrote it under the awesome impression of a natural disaster caused by the flooded river Ohre which had devastated the village of Stran near Cerveny Hradek, on the foothills of the Ore Maountains in western Bohemia. In his autobiography Tomasek recalls having travelled to the site of the catastrophe before starting work on the Requiem's "Dies irae" part, and describes his sheer amazement at the merciless axtend of the damage done, a feeling that set the tone of his work; he set out to write immediately and proceeded without a pause. Onlu after finishing the last note did he subject the score to a stern review. However, he found that "there was nothing in there which could possibly disgrace the sacred style; rather on the contrary, I was able to afford myself with good reason the benefit of having met the strictest artistic criteria, and of offering to the world of music an opus which can safely claim its rightful place alongside other Requiems, including even the most celebrated ones."
Actually, he was right. The roughly one-hour-long, compact work (the successive parts being linked with each other virtually without a break) of a remarkable harmonic and melodic invention effectively alternates passages of high drama (the aforementioned Dies Irae) with elegiac sequences, apart from which it has parts clearly filled with joy ("Sanctus", "Pleni sunt coeli", "Hossana", "Benedictus": were not intended "to heighten the mourner's sorrow, but rather to console him").
The score was first published by Tomasek at his own expense, and later on by Marco Berra of Prague. The score includes a note dated 1942, saying it was reconstructed, transposed into modern keys and equipped with continuo by Karel Moor, working from considerably fragmentary material (comprised of seperate orchestral and choral parts), which had been lent by Professor K. Kopecky, archivist of Czechoslovak Radio.
Author:Jitka Slavikova; translation: Ivan Vomacka
Missa de Requiem
Period:Early Romanticism
Composed in:1825c
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Missa de Requiem, Op.72, for 4-part mixed chorus (SATB), violoncello and double bass.