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(a) This year 2021 will see a new Series of brand new CD productions available with music by an important contemporary composer of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven: Paul Wranitzky. Can you present these new recordings to our readers?

(b) You founded The Wranitzky Project and its Web Site in 2006, can you tell us about the origin of your project and about the various major achievements of your project during these years?

(c) Your project is collecting original scores and sources by and about Paul Wranitzky and his life: at which point is your work of research, collection and cataloguing?
With pleasure! 2021 seems to become quite a year for the lovers of Wranitzky's music, with several CD releases in the works.

Naxos is releasing the first volume of a new series of CDs dedicated to Paul Wranitzky. It is part of the Czech Masters in Vienna project:

The CDs will feature world premiere recordings and I have helped with the selection and editing of the scores.

In conjunction with the CD release, we will release the scores for free download on www.wranitzky.com.

The first CD:
that is to be released in April, will feature two symphonies as well as opera overtures.

Wranitzky was the leading symphonist in Vienna at the turn of the 18th century, yet only a fraction of his works is available on record today. The symphonic genre seems to have held special interest for him as he kept writing symphonies throughout his compositional career.

The Symphony in B-flat op 33 no 1 is a mature work full with interesting ideas and masterful orchestral writing. As a renowned orchestral leader, it is no surprise that Wranitzky knows his forces well and his scoring is varied and colorful.

The Symphony in C major op 19, was written for the coronation of Franz II as Emperor in 1792 and is suitably celebratory. Wranitzky would go on to become a favourite composer of Franz II's second wife, Marie Therese. He composed a great deal of music for her musical soirees, as well as providing music for the namesday and birthday celebrations of the Emperor and other court functions. Thankfully, most of this music has survived in the so called Kaisersammlung in Vienna.

Opening and closing the CD are ouvertures from two operas – Die Poststation and Das Fest der Lazzaroni.

Several more volumes in the series are currently under preparation for Naxos, so keep watching!

The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin recorded a CD with symphonies by Wranitzky in January and the CD release is planned for this fall. Last year they performed Wranitzky's op 31 symphony (La Paix) in concert and were much impressed by the music:

I was contacted by them before Christmas and helped providing scores and parts for the recording. The CD will, in addition to the aforementioned Sympony in C minor op 31, feature the ouverture to Wranitzky's opera Oberon, the Symphony in D minor (La Tempesta) and the Symphony in D op 36. Much of the music recorded for the CD was broadcast by German radio in February and can be listened to at: https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/akademie-fuer-alte-musik-berlin-mozarts-freund-und.1091.de.html?dram:article_id=492685

– if visible click Beitrag hören to open the player. However, it seems this may only be available just to a few European listeners.

Other links to Akamus work:
Akamus at StartNext
Akamus at Deutschlandfunkkultur

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin: P. Wranitzky's CD official trailer

While not being directly involved, I also know of two recordings of symphonies by Paul Wranitzky which were done several years ago, but for unknown reasons not released by their labels yet.

I have never quite understood the reasoning behind waiting half a decade before releasing a CD, but hopefully we will all get to hear these lovely symphonies soon!

(b) You founded The Wranitzky Project and its Web Site in 2006, can you tell us about the origin of your project and about the various major achievements of your project during these years?

It was a bit of a chance that I stumbled upon Wranitzky about 20 years ago. I had been looking at some cello concerto scores at the music collection in Skara, Sweden – when I had time over before taking the bus home. I decided to make copies of random composers I had never heard of, skipping over anything by Haydn or Mozart. While quite a few of the compositions I came home with were not especially interesting, among the photos were a couple of symphonies by Wranitzky. I started to notate them on the computer and was surprised by their quality and wondered – who was this guy?

I read up on Wranitzky and discovered that he was a very productive and highly regarded composer. In contemporary documents he was often mentioned together with Mozart and Haydn as one of the leading composers. Unfortunately it seems as if music history only manages to keep a couple of names alive from a certain period, and Wranitzky had the bad luck to be a contemporary of his friends Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.

I then went on to collect the Wranitzky works I could find in Sweden, and after that started to look abroad. About this time I came into contact with Christopher Hogwood who was very enthusiastic about Wranitzky and encouraged me to make a project out of my research. Through connections I got in touch with several others interested in Wranitzky and his music. Then on the 250th anniversary of Wranitzky's birth – December 30 2006 – www.wranitzky.com was launched. In 2008, the 200th anniversary of Wranitzky's death, we collaborated with the cultural club of Nová Říše, Wranitzky's birthplace, and held a Wranitzky Festival. It featured several concerts, a lecture and the inauguration of memorial stone outside of the birth house. It was very appreciated and successful and we planned to continue with a new festival the following year. Unfortunately, just a few months later the financial crisis of 2008 struck, and it was no longer possible to get funding for a continuation…

[see infra the media coverage and gallery of the event]

Throughout the years we have provided scores and performances material to many orchestras and ensembles who have contacted us, and we have seen a rising interest in Wranitzky and his music. Now, with all the upcoming CDs we are very happy that more people will get to hear some of these works!

(c) Your project is collecting original scores and sources by and about Paul Wranitzky and his life: at which point is your work of research, collection and cataloguing?

The late musicologist Rita Steblin was extremely kind and helpful to show me around the most important archives in Vienna in search for more Wranitzky biographical material. In the course of this we found quite a bit of new information. As I have been very much focusing on trying to collect the music, Dr. Steblin asked if I would mind if she published the findings, which I was very happy to have her do (see Rita Steblin: Paul Wranitzky (1756-1808): New Biographical Facts from Vienna’s Archives).

When it comes to collecting the compositions, we have copies of probably 95% of all known surviving works. We hope to get the remaining ones in the near future, but unfortunately some private collections are not easy to access, and some collections are prohibitively expensive to get copies from. Fortunately, an increasing number of institutions allow researchers to freely take photos with their own cameras – a godsend.

As for the cataloguing, I have some on paper and much on the computer. Unfortunately I have not found the time to put as much on the website as I have wished for. As a visitor will notice, the website was not updated for quite a while. The top priority has always been to get the music out there to get played and heard, and with increasing requests for scores the updates suffered greatly. With the upcoming CD releases we are working on adding more information and updating the website, so keep checking in with us!

                               THE WRANITZKY FESTIVAL
Festival media coverage + Beautiful short documentary on Paul and Anton Wranitzky with many original documents and music from Paul and Anton Wranitzky presented by musicologist Stanislav Tesar:
           [at 22.17min to 31.22min]

The Wranitzky Festival in Nová Říše, Wranitzky's birthplace.
Paul Wranitzky's music activity was well linked to Mozart, Constanze Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. Can you tell us about the various anecdotes and facts on Wranitzky's friendship and/or collaboration with these composers and with the wife of Mozart? Wranitzky collaborated also with Schikaneder on a rather important Opera project, didn't he? In your opinion, how do you see Wranitzky's music production and style in comparison with that by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven?
Vienna at the end of the 18th century was a truly exceptional musical environment, with numerous excellent and productive composers. Naturally, at the forefront, among these, were Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven – three of the top composers in all music history. While a majority of their works are rightly considered masterpieces today, we are unfortunately letting go of great riches of music by only focusing on these three. By looking at the contemporaries, such as Wranitzky, Kozeluch, Vanhal, Eberl, Eybler, Gyrowetz (etc etc etc) we get a better understanding of the music of the great three as well.

As orchestra leader of the court theatre orchestras and secretary of the Tonkünstler-Societät, Wranitzky held some of the most central post of the music life in Vienna. Unsurprisingly, he interacted with Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven both professionally and privately.

Mozart and Wranitzky were members of the same Masonic Lodge Zur neugekrönten Hoffnung, for which both wrote music. For example, a concert given at the lodge on 15 December 1785 included two symphonies by Wranitzky, written especially for the Lodge, as well as a cantata, a piano concerto and improvisations by Mozart.

Wranitzky acted as an agent in Vienna for the music publisher André of Offenbach, providing news as well as finding compositions for publishing. After Mozart's death, Wranitzky helped with the sale of Mozart's manuscripts to André. Constanze mentions Wranitzky in several of her letters, and it seems Wranitzky helped Constanze and André gather some of Mozart's compositions not found among his papers.

In 1789, Schikaneder asked Wranitzky to compose an Opera on the very popular Oberon by Wieland. Its huge success spawned a whole series of other fairy tales operas, where Mozart's The Magic Flute in 1791 being the best known today. The stories of Oberon and The Magic Flute have many similarities, as does have the music, with its mix of bravura coloratura arias and popular songs. The numbers were written for more or less the same performers, where the coloratura role of Oberon was taken by Mozart's sister-in-law Josepha Hofer (née Weber, sister of Constanze) – the first Queen of the Night.

P. Wranitzky Oberon: : Act I - Aria „Hör, o Gottheit, meine Klagen“ (Titania)

With all likelihood Wranitzky studied with Haydn in some form. While he is not mentioned as a student in the Haydn literature, several contemporary accounts in the French press describe Wranitzky as an élève of Haydn. We also know that Paul Wranitzky's younger half-brother Anton studied with Haydn.

The Tonkünstler-Societät, the musician's society whose yearly benefit concerts provided financial security for widows and orphans of its members, had failed to admit Haydn as a member as he was unable to produce the required documents. When Wranitzky became secretary of the society in 1794, he revitalized its outlook and worked to have Haydn admitted and welcomed him into the society with a glowing speech. The older master responded by insisting that Wranitzky would lead the orchestra in the society's profitable performances of The Creation.

Beethoven certainly knew Wranitzky well and asked his older colleague to lead the orchestra in the premiere of his first Symphony in 1800. At this time Wranitzky was the most well established active composer of Symphonies in Vienna and Beethoven certainly was aware of Wranitzky's compositions in the genre. Indeed, several recent dissertations and articles have shown stylistic traits regarded as typically Beethovenian being already present in Wranitzky's compositions. 

P. Wranitzky, Der Schreiner - Overture, ArcoDiva 

P. Wranitzky, Oberon - Overture, The New Dutch Academy 

Through your project, you are collecting and translating Wranitzky's own original letters and many sources. Can you present to our readers a couple of original letters by Wranitzky, that you consider particularly meaningful? And a couple of notable lesser-known facts on Wranitzky from the rare sources you have collected?
There is not a great deal of correspondence of Wranitzky's known today, but more documents are slowly coming up to light as people start taking note of Wranitzky's importance. The bulk of the surviving correspondence comes from Wranitzky's interactions of the publishing house of André of Offenbach. Wranitzky's original letters to André are today dispersed in different collections around the world, and what survive must be only a fraction of their original correspondence. As Wranitzky acted as André's agent in Vienna they contain interesting insights into the music scene of the city during its golden age, so hopefully more letters survive somewhere, perhaps private collections.

In one interesting letter dated 19 December 1798, today held at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, Wranitzky at the request of André lists many of the active composers in Vienna, together with sometimes damning judgements. Of the brothers Joseph and Thaddäus Weigl, Wranitzky writes the following:

Wiegl Joseph. Kapellmeister at the Italia Opera, worthy in his job but even greater in intrigues. A Viennese. Writes mostly vocal pieces. Wiegl Taddäus. His brother. A young man full of pride and insecurity. Composer in the service of the Court Theatre Management. Director of the music publishing house of the Court Theatre. Everything through connections, nothing by his own efforts.
A letter, in French, dated 12 December 1790 to the music publisher Bland in London is especially noteworthy for its delivery. In fact Wranitzky sent it with Haydn, who delivered it to Bland on his first visit to London. In the letter Wranitzky seeks to get his music published by Bland, expressing how much he would like to become known in London. Unfortunately it seems this venture fell through, as no publications are known today.

Finally I must also mention the correspondence between Wranitzky and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1795-1796. Goethe was working on the libretto for a sequel to The Magic Flute, and contacted Wranitzky asking him if he could put it to music. Unfortunately, as it turned out, The Magic Flute was (quite rightly) regarded as the intellectual property of Schikaneder's theatre in Vienna. Wranitzky consulted with his employers at the court opera, and they felt it would not be right to create an opera on that subject. However, Wranitzky and the court opera responded they would be happy to consider any other libretto by Goethe, but sadly this did not come to fruition.

My Wranitzky Project colleague James Ackerman is currently working through transcribing and translating the letters for adding to the website.

P. Wranitzky, Die Gute Mutter, ArcoDiva

P. Wranitzky, Trio from Menuetto from Symphony in F major, Op. 33, No 3
on the theme O du lieber Augustin (ArcoDiva):


The case of Joseph Weigl and Wranitzky's judgement is certainly particularly meaningful. He was a well known protegé and pupil of Salieri at the Imperial Court. As assistant of Mozart for some time, he conducted a few performances of Figaro in 1786 and Don Giovanni in 1788 in Vienna. von Weber himself (relative of Mozart and Constanze) apparently left some curious letter on the Weigls and opera downfalls: this time involving Weigl's own old teacher and mentor Salieri himself...

Nonetheless, Beethoven (it seems, like Wranitzky: worthy) appreciated his work and his music and Carpani (the famous biographer of Haydn) put Joseph Weigl in his list of notable composers as No. 30, as the Parmigianino of composers.

The father of the Weigl brothers was a close friend of Haydn and knew both Mozart and Albrechtsberger... and Haydn was the baptismal godfather of Joseph Weigl...

Moreover, we know that the Sturm und Drang group, linked to Goethe and Schiller (among them the famous model of and one of the technical fathers of the whole Romanticism movement: Bürger), already in December 1791, had considered Paul Wranitzky as a possible composer of a Sturm und Drang Shakespearean opera based on The Tempest, that had been especially designed for Mozart (unfortunately he was dying in Vienna, before receiving the official offer). Among the composers as substitutes of Mozart, there were, beside Wranitzky (No. 5), Dittersdorf (No. 2), Schwenke, successor of C.P.E. Bach (No. 3), Reichardt (No.4, who actually wrote the music in the end), Haydn (No. 6) and Schulz (No. 7) a friend of Reichardt.

If a musician is interested in performing pieces by Paul Wranitzky, how is it possible to contact you and your project, to receive scores and further info on Wranitzky's works? You have developed also a certain activity of investigation on Anton Wranitzky, Kozeluch, Eberl and Kraus: at which point is your work on these composers? Are you going to create a dedicated section also to these composers on your main Site Wranitzky.com? What you projects for the future?
If you are interested in any particular work by Wranizky, just write to me at the email address given on the website and I will be happy to help you!

Adding information on Anton Wranitzky to the www.wranitzky.com website, is a long time goal that I hope to realize some day, but it is not a priority. While researching Paul, I have also taken notes and acquired music by Anton when possible.

For Kozeluch, Eberl and Kraus, my main focus has been Leopold Kozeluch. I have collected a majority of his works already, and have edited some for recordings and concerts. A few of these can be heard in the Naxos series dedicated to Leopold Kozeluch.

If I had the time, I would love to create a separate website dedicated to Kozeluch.

Living in Sweden, I'm also looking quite a bit into Swedish composers of the 18-19th century, though I have no specific plans for publications there at the moment.

L. Kozeluch, Joseph der Menschheit Segen, last Movement, ArcoDiva

Your favourite work by Mozart and your favourite work by J. Haydn.
I must admit I love The Marriage of Figaro. I just hope that at least once in my life I will manage to see a really good period staging of this marvellous opera. Also, I must mention that the Mozart's Piano Concerto no 23 in A Major is very dear to me.

As a cellist, I absolutely love Haydn's C major concerto. But really – oh, you cellists and orchestra managers out there! – there are other cello concertos from the classical era that should be heard as well!

By the way, Haydn wrote his cello concerto in ca. 1761/65 for Franz Joseph Weigl, his close friend and cellist, who was the father of the composer Joseph Weigl, we've talked about previously...

P. Wranitzky's Cello Concerto performed by Michaela Fukacová - Part I 

P. Wranitzky's Cello Concerto performed by Michaela Fukacová - Part II 

P. Wranitzky's Cello Concerto performed by Michaela Fukacová - Part III 

Unfortunately, what you say for Mozart's Figaro is true also for other marvellous Opera Productions of the 18th century. Probably stage directors should seriously consider the fact of a return to the purest origins of the theatre of the 18th century, instead of insisting on void and dramatically misleading provocations... and misinterpretations.

Do you have in mind the name of some neglected composer of the 18th century you'd like to see re-evaluated?
Pichl (1741-1805), Gyrowetz (1763-1850) and Krommer (1759-1831), to name only three that I would like to get to know better.
Name a neglected piece of music of the 18th century you'd like to see performed in concert with more frequency.
More or less anything not on the standard repertoire!

While we shouldn't abandon the tried and true masterpieces altogether, we could really need also some sort of break from these works...

... Why not a piano concerto by Kozeluch instead of a Mozart one?

Have you read a particular book on Mozart Era you consider important for the comprehension of the music of this period?
While not exactly Mozart Era, I would really like to recommend Empress Marie Therese and Music at the Viennese Court, 1792-1807 by John Rice, which gives fascinating insights into the music life of the imperial family.
The book has been extremely valuable for my research as well.

Name a movie or a documentary that can improve the comprehension of the music of this period.
I could easily respond with a couple of very famous movies, which de facto you should not really see, if you want to get a balanced view of the musical life of this period...

... Unfortunately I must say I haven't watched any documentaries or movies about music for quite some time. My other music activities take most of my spare time.

However, I think that the exploration of certain places in Sweden will certainly help to develop a better and more complete comprehension of the music life and of the actual music practice in the 18th century.

I may suggest:
1. The Drottningholm Royal Palace with his famous and marvellous Opera Theatre
2. The Skara Library Music Collection
3. The Official Site of the Swedish Musical Heritage, which has a rich collection of biographies, catalogues and also scores on the 18th century music composers, who lived and worked in Sweden in those years: among them certainly Kraus, the Sturm und Drang composer, friend of both Haydn and Mozart.

Ingmar Bergman's The Magic Flute (BFI Official Trailer), photographed by using a set recreating the Drottningholm Theatre peculiar environment

Ingmar Bergman's
The Magic Flute BFI official clip from The Magic Flute
Drottningholm Theatre, in particular, was the model (the original Theatre could not be used with a cinema/tv crew) for the set of Bergman's Mozart's The Magic Flute film, developed by trying to follow, here and there when possible, the few elements of evidence of scenography and costumes, as intended, for the Opera, by Schikaneder himself at the end of the 18th century!

Do you think there's a special place to be visited that proved crucial to the evolution of the 18th century music?
Vienna, absolutely!

But going there today you will get the impression that there were only our well known three composers active in the city during that time, whereas there were, in Vienna in the 18th century, other extremely good composers working, composing and performing in concerts every day...

... like Paul Wranitzky and the other composers we've talked about so far!

In Vienna you can explore the most important Haus- Hof- und Staatsarchiv, with its 18th century music collections et cetera:
https://www.oesta.gv.at/ [DE]
https://www.statearchives.gv.at/ [EN]
Thank you very much for having taken the time to answer our questions!
Thank you!