Haack [Haacke, Haak, Haake], Friedrich Wilhelm

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Holzbauer, Ignaz (Jakob)

(b Vienna, 17 Sept 1711; d Mannheim, 7 April 1783). Austrian composer. He contributed significantly to 18th-century musical life in Mannheim, where he was Kapellmeister at the famous electoral court for 25 years (1753–78), and in Vienna.

1. Life.

An autobiographical sketch, written apparently in 1782 and first published in 1790, provides basic information about Holzbauer’s life but few reliable dates. He was attracted to music at an early age, but this inclination received no support from his father, a Viennese leather merchant, who wanted him to study law. Pursuing musical training nevertheless, he applied to the young members of the choir at the Stephansdom for instruction in singing, piano, violin and cello. In return, he provided them with his new compositions. He studied Fux’s Gradus ad Parnassum on his own initiative and eventually arranged a meeting with Fux, who, after examining a sample exercise, declared him an innate genius and recommended a journey to Italy as a means of refining his musical knowledge.

Following a short term of employment with Count Thurn-Valsassina of Laibach (Ljubljana), and a brief excursion to Venice, he was appointed Kapellmeister to Count Rottal of Holešov in Moravia. There his opera Lucio Papirio dittatore was staged in 1737; that same year he married the singer Rosalie Andreides. According to the autobiography, the couple left Holešov for Vienna a year later. Subsequently, they journeyed to Italy, where they remained for three years, travelling to Milan, Venice and other cities. In 1744 Holzbauer collaborated with Franz Hilverding in creating ballets for a Viennese performance of Hasse’s Ipermestra, and from 1746 to 1750 he was engaged in Vienna to compose ballet music for the Burgtheater; in 1746 his name was also associated with the Viennese popular theatre.

In 1751 Holzbauer succeeded Brescianello as Oberkapellmeister at Stuttgart, where he and his wife became ensnared in court intrigue. Fortunately, following the successful 1753 performance of his opera Il figlio delle selve at Schwetzingen (Elector Carl Theodor’s summer residence), he was appointed ‘Kapellmeister für das Theater’ at Mannheim, where his own works dominated the stage until 1760. Several excursions – to Rome (1756), Turin for the performance of his Nitteti (1758), Paris (1758) and Milan for the production of his Alessandro nell’Indie (1759) – helped to expand his artistic horizons but failed to secure him a lasting international reputation.

Early in the next decade Holzbauer evidently cultivated musical ties with Vienna: his name appeared in connection with Burgtheater orchestral concerts (1761–3), and his oratorio La Betulia liberata received several performances. In Mannheim, where he assumed duties as director of the Hofkapelle following Carlo Grua’s death in 1773, his activities had shifted from theatre to sacred music, but he did not turn his back on opera permanently: his greatest success came early in 1777 with the favourable reception of his German opera Günther von Schwarzburg. Declining to follow the electoral court to Munich, he remained at Mannheim, where his one-act opera La morte di Didone was produced in 1779. Though suffering acute hearing loss and other ailments, he managed to complete another opera, Tancredi, for the court theatre in Munich shortly before his death.

2. Works.

Most of Holzbauer’s Italian operas for the Mannheim court have disappeared, though some arias survive (in D-Bsb). His Milan opera, Alessandro nell’Indie, demonstrates melodic fluency and a generally confident mastery of mid-18th-century opera seria style. In the da capo arias the orchestral accompaniments typically double the singer, while nevertheless displaying a wealth of embellishments and independent, subsidiary lines. Holzbauer’s most famous work, Günther von Schwarzburg, overcomes deficiencies of its patriotically inspired but static, tradition-bound libretto by engaging a rich palette of instrumental colours, making extensive use of orchestrally accompanied recitative and moulding the action into extended dramatic complexes. Mozart praised the work; its influence may be heard in his Idomeneo.

Holzbauer’s earlier sacred vocal music, grounded in Viennese tradition, typically incorporates both Fuxian counterpoint and a florid, Italian operatic style. His later Mannheim masses draw on a modern symphonic language, integrating chorus and solo voices in a varied, motivically dense orchestral texture.

Extant examples of the 205 symphonies, concertos and related works that Holzbauer claimed to have written range in size from modest trio symphonies (two violins and bass) in three movements, to large-scale, four-movement works scored for winds and strings. Typical features include simple textures with violins moving in unison or parallel thirds, thematic construction based on repetition and sequential treatment of short melodic figures, frequent alternation between forte and piano, and intense surface activity, with bass lines and accompanying parts maintaining a continuous quaver pulse. Fugal movements in some works suggest a conservative Viennese idiom; elsewhere, rhythmic variety, soloistic wind writing and dramatically effective crescendos reflect a more advanced Mannheim style. The synthesis of symphonic and concerto elements in works with soloistic concertante parts, and the suggestive label ‘simphonie conçertée’ given to Holzbauer’s works heard at Burgtheater in the early 1760s, suggest a precedent for the later Parisian fashion of the symphonie concertante.

Chamber works constitute a small but important part of Holzbauer’s output. They emphasize textural variety, dynamic nuance and harmonic colour more than the symphonies; in some pieces, most notably the quintets, melodic dialogues give special thematic prominence to inner parts of the ensemble.


printed works published in Paris unless otherwise stated

Thematic catalogues: DTB, iv, Jg.iii/1 (1902) [partial index of symphonies]; DTB, xxviii, Jg.xvi (1915) [chamber]; Lehmann (1953) [chamber]; Bush (1982) [masses]; DTB, new ser., ii (1982) [sacred]

Editions: I. Holzbauer: Instrumentale Kammermusik, ed. U. Lehmann, EDM, 1st ser., xxiv (1953) [L]The symphony 1720–1840, ser. C, iv (New York, 1983) [S]Ignaz Jacob Holzbauer: an Edition of Five Symphonies and Commentary, ed. D. Thompson (M.A. thesis, U. of Wales, Cardiff, 1983) [T]



dramma per musica

Lucio Papirio dittatore (dm, A. Zeno), Holešov, 12 Oct 1737, lib Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera

La fata meravigliosa (dm), Vienna, Burgtheater, 1748

Il figlio delle selve (favola pastorale, 3, C.S. Capece), Schwetzingen, 15 June 1753, lib US-Wc; rev. Mannheim, Hof, 1771, lib D-MHrm; pts Bsb

Chacun à son tour (pantomime, 3, A. d’Inzeo), Mannheim, Hof, 16 Jan 1754

L’isola disabitata (azione comica per musica, 2, P. Metastasio), Schwetzingen, 16 June 1754, arias Bsb

L’Issipile (dm, 3, Metastasio), Mannheim, Hof, 4 Nov 1754, arias Bsb

L’allégresse du jour (pantomime, ?E. Lauchery), Mannheim, Komödiensaal, 16 Dec 1754

Don Chisciotte (opera serio-ridicola, 2, after M. de Cervantes), Schwetzingen, 16 June 1755, lib DI

I cinesi (componimento drammatico, 1, Metastasio), Mannheim, Hof, spr. 1756, lib HEu, MHrm

Le nozze d’Arianna (festa teatrale, 2, M. Verazi), Schwetzingen, 29 Aug 1756, lib HEu, MHrm

La clemenza di Tito (dm, 3, Metastasio), Mannheim, Hof, 4 Nov 1757, arias Bsb

Nitteti (dm, 3, Metastasio), Turin, Regio, carn. 1758; rev. Mannheim, Hof, 5 Nov 1758, Rp, P-La

Alessandro nell’Indie (dm, 3, Metastasio), Milan, Regio Ducal, carn. 1759, arias and sinfonia I-Nc (R1982: IOB, lxxix), P-La

Ippolito ed Aricia (dm, 5, C.I. Frugoni), Mannheim, Hof, 5 Nov 1759, lib D-HEu, MHrm, US-Wc [?rev. of T. Traetta’s Ippolito ed Aricia, 1759, Parma]

Adriano in Siria (dm, 3, Metastasio), Mannheim, Hof, 5 Nov 1768, libs D-MHrm, US-Wc

Günther von Schwarzburg (Spl, 3, A. Klein), Mannheim, Hof, 5 Jan 1777, D-Bsb (Mannheim, 1777); ed. in DDT, viii–ix (1902)

La morte di Didone (dm, 1, Metastasio), Mannheim, National, 6 July 1779, Bsb; rev. as Der Tod der Dido (Klein), 1780, US-Wc

Tancredi (dm, 3, Balbis, after Voltaire), Munich, Residenz, Jan 1783, lib Wc; aria GB-Lbl

Music in Euridice (favola pastorale), Vienna, 26 July 1750, A-Wn (R1982: IOB, lxxv)


Ballets (in ops by J.A. Hasse): Ipermestra, Vienna, court, 8 Jan 1744; Arminio, Vienna, 13 May 1747

other vocal

Orats: La Passione de Gesù Cristo (Metastasio), Good Friday, 1754, CZ-KRa; Isacco (Metastasio), Good Friday, 1757, lost; La Betulia liberata (Metastasio), Good Friday, 1760, D-Mbs; Il guidizio di Salomone (M. Verazi), Good Friday, 1765, A-Wn; Giefte (Verazi), lost

Masses: c30 Latin, 3 lost, 2 ed. in Bush (1982), 1 ed. J. Reutter (Stuttgart, 1995); 2 German, E (Mannheim, 1779), F, lost; 2 Requiems, E, C minor, both doubtful

2 Christmas cants., 1 ed. O. Biba (Altötting, 1975); Christmas motet, Salve regina, 2 Miserere, 2 TeD, lit, Vespers, c36 other works, incl. offs, motets, sacred arias

Secular cants.: Adulatrice, c1755, D-Bsb; La tempesta, Bsb


Br. cat

listed in Breitkopf catalogue(s)

Syms.: 6 simphonies à 4 parties, op.2 (n.d.); 6 simphonies à 8 parties, op.3 Br. cat (1769); 3 simphonies à grand orchestre, op.4 Br. cat (1769), 1 ed. in S, 1 (La tempesta), ed. in DTB, xiii, Jg.vii/2 (1906), and ed. G. Kehr (Mainz, 1970); c144 others in contemporary anthologies, MSS or cited in catalogues, 5 ed. in T, 2 ed. in S, 1 ed. in L, 1 ed. E. Rabsch (Hamburg, 1932), 1 ed. F. Schroeder (Vienna, 1968)

Concs.: 1 for vn, B-Bc; 1 for fl, D-KA, ed. I. Gronefeld (Munich, 1958); 1 for va and vc, A-Wgm, ed. U. Drüner (Zürich, 1976); 1 for vc, D-Bsb, Br. cat (1771); 1 for ob, KA, ed. W. Lebermann (Frankfurt, 1975); 1 for kbd, Br. cat (1770)

Chbr: 24 menuetti, 2 vn, b, 1740–50, A-Wgm; 3 qnts, 2vn, 2 va, b [also arr. as Nocturni, fl, ob, vn, va, bn/vc, b], A-Wgm, ed. in L, 3–5 and suppl. ii, 1 ed. in DTB, xxvii, Jg.xv (1914), 1 arr. ed. E. Bodensohn (Baden-Baden, 1983); 2 qnts, kbd, fl, vn, va, vc/b, D-Bsb, 2 ed. in L, 1 ed. F. Schroeter (Wiesbaden, 1963); 4 qts, 3 ed. in L; Trios, 2 vn, b, op.4 (n.d.), lost; 2 trios, Br. cat (1762); 1 trio, ed. M. Weyer (Bad Godesberg, 1983); Divertimento, 2 vn, b; Partita, 2 vn, b; Duo, 2 fl, Br. cat (1763)






GroveO (P. Corneilson) [incl. further bibliography]


Pfälzisches Museum, ed. A. Klein, i (Mannheim, 1783–4), 460–77 [autobiographical sketch]

C.F. Cramer, ed.: Magazin der Musik (Hamburg, 1783–6/R), i, 546; ii, 921b

F. Waldkirch: Die konzertanten Sinfonien der Mannheimer im 18. Jahrhundert (Ludwigshafen am Rhein, 1931)

H. Werner: Die Sinfonien von Ignaz Holzbauer (diss., U. of Munich, 1942)

E. Schmitt: Die Kurpfälzische Kirchenmusik im 18. Jahrhundert (diss., U. of Heidelberg, 1958)

R. Münster: ‘Mozart und Holzbauer: die Miserere-Bearbeitung KV. Anh. 1/297a’, MJb 1959, 234–46

H. Engel: Das Instrumentalkonzert, i: von den Anfängen bis gegen 1800 (Wiesbaden, 2/1971)

P. Branscombe: ‘Music in the Viennese Popular Theatre of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’, PRMA, xcviii (1971–2), 101–12

E.K. Wolf: The Symphonies of Johann Stamitz: a Study in the Formation of the Classic Style (Utrecht, 1981)

K. Altmann: ‘Ignaz Holzbauer als Messenkomponist’, Mannheim und Italien: Mannheim 1982, 223–43

D. Bush: The Orchestral Masses of Ignaz Holzbauer (1711–1783): Authenticity, Chronology, and Style, with Thematic Catalogue and Selected Transcriptions (diss., Eastman School of Music, 1982)

P. Corneilson: ‘Die Oper am Kurfürstlichen Hof zu Mannheim’, Die Mannheimer Hofkapelle im Zeitalter Carl Theodors, ed. L. Finscher (Mannheim, 1992), 113–29

J. Reutter: ‘Die Kirchenmusik am Mannheimer Hof’, ibid., 97–112

P. Corneilson and E.K. Wolf: ‘Newly Identified Manuscripts of Operas and Related Works from Mannheim’, JAMS, xlvii (1994), 244–74


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