MYSLIVECEK KEYBOARD CONCERTOS

Josef Myslivecek (1737-1781) was a Czech composer, spent most of his career in Italy and Germany, and was an important mentor to Mozart. The two met in Bologna in 1770 when Mozart was 14 and became close friends. His music is currently enjoying a revival and Clare recently released a disc of his Complete Music for Keyboard on BIS Records.

The disc includes two concertos, one of which has never been published, and a series of Divertimenti and Sonatas. Clare created editions of both concertos from Myslivecek's autograph manuscripts and toured the first concerto in Poland in 2016. In 2018, she recorded both with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and conductor Nicholas McGegan. Her disc is the world premiere recording of the second concerto, and the first time that Myslivecek's Complete Keyboard Works have been presented together.

Known by many simply as ‘Il Boemo’ (‘The Bohemian’), Myslivecek lived a life so scandalous that at times he shocked even Mozart himself. He enjoyed great success on the international stage, both as an operatic and a symphonic composer, and his influence is apparent in Mozart’s early operas, violin concertos, symphonies and keyboard music.

Myslivecek contracted syphilis later in life and lost his nose during the course of a botched operation. After deceiving Mozart’s father in a business transaction, Myslivecek and the Mozart family became estranged and Myslivecek ultimately died disfigured and in poverty. His music fell out of fashion and was neglected by twentieth-century scholars who were biased towards German composers. Once Communist rule was established and Czech scholars were unable to travel freely, the barriers to a resurgence of Myslivecek’s music in the West became even greater. It is only in the past few decades that his music has been revived.

“I should advise my sister to play Myslivecek’s sonatas with plenty of expression, taste and fire, and to learn them by heart. For they are sonatas which are bound to please everyone, and very effective when played with proper precision.” (Mozart, in a letter to his father, 1777)

“There is no other composer in his entire life for whom Mozart expressed such affection and respect.” (Daniel Freeman, scholar and biographer of Myslivecek)

Gallery