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DITTERSDORF, Carl Ditters  (1739-1799)

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Dittersdorf, Karl Ditters von (original name, Karl Ditters) eminent Austrian composer and violinist; b. Vienna, Nov. 2 1739; d. Schloss Rothlhotta, Neuhof, Bohemia, Oct. 24, 1799 He played violin as a child; then studied with Konig and Ziegler the Prince of Sachsen-Hildburghausen made it possible fo him to take private violin lessons with Trani and to stu& composition with Bonno; he played in the Prince’s orch. fron 1751 to 1761. In 1761 he went to Vienna, where he was engage as a member of the Court Theater Orch. (until 1764). W was befriended by Cluck, who took him along on his Italiar journey, where he had an occasion to appear in public as violinist. In 1765 he assumed the post of Kapellmeister t the Bishop of Grosswardein in Hungary, where he remaincx until 1769. His career as a composer began in earnest at thi’ time; he wrote an oratorio, Isacco, fIgura del redentore; severa cantatas; and many pieces of orch. and chamber music. Ir 1770 he became Kapellmeister to the Prince-Bishop of Breslau Count von Schaffgotsch, at Johannisberg in Silesia. There h~ wrote mostly for the stage, bringing out 12 works betweer 1771 and 1776. However, he wrote his most important dramatk works in Vienna and for the ducal theater in Oels. He gained fame with his 1st singspiel, Doctor und Apotheker, produced in Vienna on July 11, 1786; it was followed by other successfu] stage works, Bett-ug durch Aberglauben, Die Liebe im Narrenhause, Das rote Ktippchen, and Hieronymus Knicker. He received several honors during his lifetime; in 1770 the Pope bestowed upon him the Order of the Golden Spur; in 1773 he was ennobled by the Emperor as von Dittersdorf. Upon the death of the Prince-Bishop in 1795, he was granted a small pension, and found himself in straitened circumstances until a friend, Baron von Stillfried, took him into his castle, Rothlhotta, where he remained until his death. Dittersdorl was an important figure in the Viennese Classical school of composition, although he lacked the genius of Haydn and Mozart. He was able to fuse the common folk-song elements of the period with brilliant ensembles characteristic of opera buffa. His singspiels reveal a jovial humor, melodic charm, and rhythmic vitality. His syms. and concertos are also of interest as characteristic specimens of the period.
Works:    STAGE: II viaggiatore americano in Joannesberg, farce (Johannisberg, May 1,1771; not extant); L’amore disprezzuto (Pancratio; Amore in musica), operetta buffa (Johannisberg, 1771); II flnto pazzo per amore, operetta giocosa (Johannisberg, June 3, 1772); II tutore e La pupilla, dramma giocoso (Johannisberg, May 1, 1773); Lo sposo burlato, operetta giocosa (Johannisberg, 1773 or 1775; another version as Der gefoppte Brautigarn); Ii tribunale di Giove, serenade with prologue (Johannisberg, 1774); II rnaniscalco, operetta giocosa (johannisberg, May 1, 1775); La contadina fedele, opera giocosa (Johannisberg, 1776); La rnoda ossia Oh scorn pigli dornestici, drainma giocoso (Johannisberg, June 3, 1776); L’Arcifanfano, re de’ matti, opera giocosa (Johannisberg, 1776); II barone di Rocca Antica, operetta giocosa (Johannisberg, 1776); 1 visionari (Johannisberg, 1776; not extant); Doctor und Apotheker (DerApotheker und der Doctor), singspiel (Vienna, July 11, 1786); Betrug durch Aberglauben oder Die Schatzgraber (Der gluckhc& Betrug; Die dienstbaren Geister), singspiel (Vienna, Oct. 3, 1786); Democrito corretto, opera giocosa (Vienna, jan.24, 1787; performed under various titles); Die Liebe irn Narrenhause, singspiel (Vienna, April 12, 1787); Das rote Kappchen oder Hi/ft’s nicht so schndt’s nicht (Die rote Kappe; Das Rotkiippchen), comic operetta (Vienna, 1788); lm Dunkeln ist nicht gut rnunkeln oder lrrung uber li-rung (25,000 Cu/den), comic opera (Vienna, Feb. 1789); Hieronymus Knicker (Lucius Knicker; Chrisostomus Knicker; Hokus Pokus oder Die Lebensessenz), singspiel (Vienna, July 7, 1789); Die Hochzeit des Figaro, sing- spiel (Brünn, 1789?; music not extant); Der Schiffs patron oder Der neue Gutsherr, singspiel (Vienna, 1789); Hokus-Pokus oder Der Gaukelspiel, comic opera (Vienna, 1790); Der Tea fei em Hydraulikus, comedy (Gratz, 1790); Der Furst und sein Vol/c, pasticcio (Leipzig, March 5?, 1791; music not extant; in collaboration with F. Piterlin and F. Bertoni); Das Gespenst mit der Trommel (Oeisterbanner), singspiel (Oels, Aug. 16,1794); Don Quixote der Zweyte (Don Chisciotto), singspiel (Oels, Feb. 4, 1795); Oott Mars und der Hauptmann von Barenzahn (Coil Mars oder Der eiserne Mann), singspiel (Oels, May 30, 1795); Der Durchrnarsch, an arrangement of J. Paneck’s Die christlich.e Judenbraut (Oels, Aug. 29, 1795); Der Schach von Schiras, singspiel (Oels, Sept. 15, 1795); Die befreyten Owelfen (Die Cue/fan), prologue (Oels, Oct. 29, 1795); Ugolino, serious sing- spiel (Oels, June 11, 1796); Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, singspiel (Oels, June 25,1796); Der schöne Herbsttag, dialogue (Oels, Oct.29, 1796); Der Ternengewinnst oder Dergedemiitigte Stolz (Terno secco), singspiel (Oels, Feb. 11, 1797); Der Madchenmark, singspiel (Oels, April 18, 1797); Die Opera buffs, comic opera (Vienna, 1798); Don Coribaldi ossia L’usurpata prepotenza, drama (Dresden, 1798?); Em Stuck mit k/einen Liedern, opera based on Frau Sybil/a trinkt keinen Wein and Das Reich der Toten; comic opera version based on Amore in rnusica (Grosswardein, 1767?; not extant); etc.
OTHER VOCAL: Isacco, flgura del redentore, oratorio (Grosswardein, 1766); II Davide ne/la Valle di Terebintho (Davidde penitente), oratorio (Johannisberg, 1771); L’Esther ossia La Liberatrice del popoio giudaico ne/la Persia, oratorio (Vienna, Dec. 19, 1773); Giobbe (Hiob), oratorio (Vienna, April 8-9, 1786); also several cantatas, both sacred and secular; masses; offertories; graduals; motets; etc.
ORCH.:    A great number of syms. have been attributed to Dittersdorf, with over 100 being most likely by him. Most famous are the 12 syms. on Ovid’s Metamorphoses; only Nos. 1-6 are extant, although Nos. 7-12 have survived in arrangements for Piano, 4-hands, by Dittersdorf. He also composed many concertos, including 18 for violin, 3 for 2 violins, I for cello, 5 for viola, 4 for oboe, 5 for harpsichord, and I for flute.
CHAMBER:  15 divertimentos, including Il combattimento dell’umane passioni; 4 string serenades (with 2 horns); numerous string quartets; many sonatas for 4-hands; preludes; etc.
WRITINGS:  “Briefe Ober Behandlung italienischer Texte bei der Composition,’ Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (Leipzig, 1799); an autobiography publ. as K. v. D.s Lebensbeschrei bang, Seinern Sohne in die Feder diktiert (Leipzig, 1801; Eng. tr., London, 1896; new ed. by N. Miller, Munich, 1967).