Josef Mysliveček, ‘Il Boemo’ The Man and His Music
By Daniel E. Freeman
2009, Harmonie Park Press, Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA In English; a Czech translation is currently in production.
You may have noticed works by Josef Mysliveček (1737-1781) gradually appearing in more repertoires both here in the Czech Republic and abroad. The importance of this old Czech composer’s modern “discovery” is clearly explained in this carefully researched and very interesting book by Dr Daniel Freeman.
Up to now, Mysliveček has largely been ignored. Baroque music has only recently regained a serious place in today’s concert halls; and recent music history has rather more often reserved the spotlight for Mysliveček’s contemporaries, Mozart, Haydn, JC Bach. Ironically, research even in the 20th century has sometimes given credit to Mozart for works actually written by Mysliveček.
But, as the author explains, new evidence further shows that it was from his friend and teacher Josef Mysliveček that Mozart learned some of his compositional techniques. Among Mysliveček’s signature contributions are more finely developed, creative variations in syncopation, adoption of a new sonata form, handing off the melody line back and forth among instruments, and writing phrases fitted precisely to Italian rhythms of speech.
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Photo Credits: All images: Dr Daniel Freeman, 'Mysliveček, Il Boemo'