Dec 6, 2014

An Interpretation Issue in the Slow Movement of Mozart's String Quintet K. 516

Mozart's String Quintet in G minor, K. 516 is one of the greatest pieces of chamber music ever written. Its slow movement in E flat major has been described as "prayer" by Alfred Einstein. On 16 March 1878 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote to his patron Nadezhda von Meck concerning the Adagio ma non troppo of this quintet:
In his chamber music, Mozart charms me with his purity and distinction of style and his exquisite handling of the parts. Here, too, are things which can bring tears to our eyes. I will only mention the adagio of the D [sic] minor string quintet. No one else has ever known as well how to interpret so exquisitely in music the sense of resigned and inconsolable sorrow. Every time Laub played the adagio I had to hide in the farthest corner of the concert hall, so that others might not see how deeply this music affected me. [...] Previously I had only known the Italian Opera. It is thanks to Mozart that I have devoted my life to music. All these things have probably played a part in my exclusive love for him―and perhaps it is foolish of me to expect those who are dear to me to feel towards Mozart as I do. But if I could do anything to change your opinion―it would make me very happy. If ever you tell me that you have been touched by the adagio of the D minor quintet I shall rejoice.
The manuscript of K. 516, which today is held by the Biblioteka Jagiellońska in Kraków (Mus. ms. autogr. W. A. Mozart 516), is not completely written in Mozart's hand. Four leaves (folios 9, 10, 19 and 20) have been replaced with a copy written by Mozart's friend and pupil Franz Jakob Freystädtler, a fact that was first published in my article "Franz Jakob Freystädtler. Neue Forschungsergebnisse zu seiner Biographie und seinen Spuren im Werk Mozarts", Acta Mozartiana 44, Heft 3/4 (1997), 85-108. In the foreword of the pocket score of K. 516 (Taschenpartitur 159), which in 2001 was published by Bärenreiter, Manfred Hermann Schmid (then a subscriber of Acta Mozartiana) did not cite my article and presented the information concerning Freystädtler's copying in the manuscript of K. 516 as if he had discovered it himself. In the NMA's critical report, published in 2003, Schmid repeated this plagiarism and tried to cover it up by referring to the foreword of his own earlier edition of the Bärenreiter pocket score. When in 2005 in the second edition of this Bärenreiter score he ignored my article for the third time, I submitted a formal protest to the management of Bärenreiter and requested an apology. Schmid did not even think of apologizing and the excuse he presented was so lame that it made his behavior look even worse. He claimed that the information concerning Freystädtler's copying "had come from Ms. Ferguson of the NMA". Apart from the fact that it had been me, who in 1997 had told Faye Ferguson about Freystädtler's copying, Schmid hereby admitted that vital information in his critical report concerning the autograph of K. 516 was not based on bibliographical research, but on hearsay and unverified oral communication. Schmid also asked me to share information concerning some details he had missed in his report, but for obvious reasons I decided not to tell him anything about my research.

Freystädtler's copy on folios 9 and 10 of the manuscript consists of bars 86-90 of the Trio of the Menuetto and bars 1-65 of the Adagio. The original two leaves of the manuscript were eventually found in 1956 in Paris in the Pleyel collection. They originate from the estate of Johann Anton André, who in 1800 had received them from Constanze Mozart. Freystädtler's handwriting begins on folio 9r with the last five bars of the trio and ends at first leaf 11r, where at bar 66 of the Adagio Mozart's handwriting sets in again. Freystädtler inserted another six bars in the fourth movement. Mozart had already begun the Allegro on folio 12v, when he realized that on 12r there was not enough space for the ending of the Adagio introduction. Beginning at bar 33 Freystädtler by hand extended  the notation system by three bars. Next to the lowest stave he wrote "vide 0 13" and added the remaining three bars at the end of the third movement on folio 11v (i.e. the previous page). There, on the right margin of the page, he wrote "Volta sub[ito] 6/8 pag 14", referring to the beginning of the fourth movement. The foliation of the leaves copied by him is also written in Freystädtler's hand and so are the last 16 bars of the fourth movement. The original leaf of this ending once belonged to Clifford Curzon and was sold at Christie's after 1982.

The nine bars, presenting the Adagio's second theme in B flat major (which is related to the upward figure in bars 32ff. of the first movement), are usually performed as follows:


Bars 24-36 of the Adagio ma non troppo of K. 516 in Ernst Hess's and Ernst Fritz Schmid's 1967 edition for the NMA (VIII/19/Abt. 1, p. 77)

The Nash Ensemble's 2010 recording presents a similar (albeit slightly faster) interpretation of this passage:

The Nash Ensemble (2010): K. 516, 3rd movement, bars 24-33

The musical detail deserving special attention in the above passage is the upward phrase in the first violin in bar 27 which is subject of a downward sequence in the following bars and is then answered by the first viola:

Bars 27-32 of the first violin in the Adagio ma non troppo of K. 516

Bars 27-28 of the first violin in the Adagio of K. 516

There are three slurs in the first half of bar 27. The second one which connects the quarter note d''' to the following dotted sixteenth is usually played as a long note on one stroke, as if Mozart had written a quarter note with three dots. This is in my opinion not how Mozart wanted this passage to be executed. The second slur is a "score notation", not a performance notation. The separate third slur in bar 27 means that the quarter and the dotted sixteenth d''' ought to be separated from the preceeding quarter by a stop of the bow. Every classically trained string player should realize this. Analogous to this passage the third slur in the next bar also demands a separation of the quarter and the following dotted sixteenth. This is what Mozart had in mind when he applied a distinct third slur.

Bars 25-31 of the Adagio ma non troppo in Mozart's autograph (F-Pn, Collection Pleyel)

Bars 16-31 of the Adagio ma non troppo in Freystädtler's handwriting on fol. 9v of the manuscript of K. 516 (P-Kj, Mus. ms. autogr. W. A. Mozart 516)

In bar 27 of the first violin part Freystädtler's copy omits the second slur which is obviously an oversight.

Bars 27-28 of the first violin part in the Adagio in the handwriting of Franz Jakob Freystädtler whose copy replaces a missing part of the autograph. The original leaves today are held by the Collection Pleyel in Paris. In bar 28 Freystädtler erroneously wrote two e'''s and a d''' which he corrected with three small letters into c''' and b'''.

The perceptible distinction between the two notes – instead of the long maudlin single note that is usually played – should also be applied in the three analogous passages in the parts of the first violin (bars 66f. in the recapitulation) and the first viola (bars 30f. and 69f.).

Bars 66 and 67 in the violins of the Adagio of K. 516 (P-Kj, Mus. ms. autogr. W. A. Mozart 516, fol. 11r). After the four pages that were copied by Freystädtler Mozart's handwriting begins again with this passage in bar 66.

Played this way the two-bar-sequence suddenly acquires a different and more logical rhetoric, whose gesture homogenously corresponds with the series of similar upward figures in bars 30 and 31. Some early editions of K. 516 actually follow this different reading. For example Johann André's edition from 1825 (plate no. 4793):

Bars 27-30 of the Adagio in André's 1825 edition without the second slurs in the first violin in bars 27 and 28 and in the first viola in bar 30
Arthur Grumiaux (violin)
Georges Janzer (viola)
Eva Czako (cello)
Arpad Gérecz (violin)
Max Lesueur (viola) - See more at: http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-8036/#sthash.xUthLxnD.dpuf

In the repeat of the second theme André's 1825 edition surprisingly has no slurs in the second upward figure in the first violin and the first viola which means that the slur was obviously considered to have no effect at all on the bowing of this phrase.

Bars 65-73 of the Adagio in André's 1825 edition with an unexpected second slur in the violin in bar 67 and a second one in the viola in bar 71

Arthur Grumiaux, who in 1972 recorded K. 516 for Philips, realized that in bars 27 and 28 (and the analogous passages) the third note has to be audibly separated from the second one. Grumiaux (and Georges Janzer on first viola) achieved this by reducing the bow pressure after the quarter notes in bars 27 and 28 respectively:


When the original LP was released in 1973 no critic noticed this important detail. I know of only one recording of the quintet K. 516 that dares to follow what I consider the composer's true intention. In December 1991 the British chamber ensemble Hausmusik, lead by violinist Monica Huggett, recorded the quintets K. 515 and 516 for EMI Classics. The CD was released in 1992.


Monica Huggett and Roger Chase, who according to the booklet of the recording used the Neue Mozart Ausgabe, play the aforementioned two bar phrase in the Adagio as it is printed in André's 1825 edition:



The repeat in E flat major in bars 61-71 is played analogously:


Bars 61-73 of the Adagio in the NMA

Hausmusik's complete recording of K. 516 is available here on Youtube (the ridiculous "Mozart portrait" must be ignored). In spite of slight intonation problems Hausmusik's performance of the third movement of K. 516 fundamentally changes the quality of a classic "beautiful Mozart passage". The correct interpretation of the second theme in the Adagio is in my opinion so much better and more logical that it completely changes the listening experience and makes the traditional version unacceptable.

Nov 19, 2014

A Portrait Miniature of "virtually unparalleled" Importance

On 2 October 2014 the British newsaper The Guardian published an article that began as follows:


Contrary to the opinion of some commentators, who claimed that this painting was "never seen in public before", this miniature is well-known. It has been a long-time on loan exhibit at the Augsburg Mozarthaus and has been published many times, the last time in 1999 in Johannes Jansen's book Mozart (Köln: Taschen).


Sotheby's description of this miniature, which will be auctioned on 20 November 2014 at an estimated price of 200,000 - 300,000 GBP, indulges in unbridled hyperbole:
PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT LIKENESS OF THE COMPOSER EVER TO BE OFFERED AT AUCTION.
ONE OF ONLY A DOZEN OR SO AUTHENTIC PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS OF THE COMPOSER.
ONE OF ONLY TWO AUTHENTIC PAINTINGS OF THE COMPOSER ENNUMERATED BY THE MOZART ICONOGRAPHER OTTO ERICH DEUTSCH REMAINING IN PRIVATE HANDS.

The appearance at auction of this portrait by an anonymous artist of the twenty-one-year-old Mozart, a present to his first serious dalliance, his eighteen-year-old cousin (the Bäsle) Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, represents an opportunity to acquire a Mozart object of stunning and virtually unparalleled significance.
The portrait is of touching simplicity and freshness. Wearing a red coat similar to that in the famous della Croce family portrait of 1780, his fine blond hair powdered and tied fashionably with a large black bow (one recalls a later letter from Vienna, that of 22 December 1781, relating how the fastidious composer's day would begin with a visit at six o'clock in the morning from his hairdresser), Mozart gazes directly at the viewer with intelligent, large blue eyes, a playful and open expression on his features. No other portrait of the composer perhaps conveys as this does what might be called Mozart's most defining characteristic, above and beyond his feeling for form and beauty: his genius for humour.

IT IS PROBABLE THAT THE QUALITIES OF THE MINIATURE ARE NOT AS WIDELY KNOWN OR APPRECIATED AS THEY SHOULD BE, ON ACCOUNT OF THE FACT THAT THE PORTRAIT HAS NEVER BEEN REPRODUCED IN COLOUR IN THE STANDARD MOZART LITERATURE
Some of these statements are so absurdly exaggerated that they barely deserve a comment. Especially telling (and funny) are the  phrases "one of only a dozen or so[sic!] authentic paintings", "a Mozart object of stunning and virtually[sic!] unparalleled significance", "the portrait is of touching simplicity and freshness" and especially, "no other portrait of the composer perhaps conveys as this does what might be called Mozart's most defining characteristic". The last statement which claims that "the portrait has never been reproduced in color in the standard Mozart literature", is a lie that is supposed to mislead the customers. The portrait has been reproduced in color in 1999 in the aforementioned book by Jansen which is certainly part of the standard Mozart literature.

The continuing presentation of new supposed "Mozart portraits" on a strange flea market of vanities has lead to a situation where the experts of one of the world's leading auction houses do not know the exact number of authentic Mozart portraits. It does not increase the credibility of these experts that they present a list of twelve portraits – which they call "the canon according to Deutsch" –  but fail to mention that in his 1956 article "Mozart Portraits" (in The Mozart Companion, H. C. Robbins Landon & Donald Mitchell eds., London: Faber and Faber) Deutsch counted the 1777 miniature among the "spurious anonymous portraits". Deutsch described it as "formerly in the possession of Mozart's cousin, 'Bäsle', Mannheim, November 1777" and yet he considered it spurious. To anybody with a training in history of art the reasons for Deutsch's decision are perfectly obvious. The 1777 Mozart miniature – albeit genuine – is not of "virtually unparalleled importance". Neither is it "the most important likeness of the composer ever to be offered at auction". The miniature is of almost no iconological value at all. It is a classic 18th-century "porcelain doll head miniature", a stylized type of portrait of which huge numbers were produced in Mozart's time. Similarity with the sitter was not the purpose of these pictures. Some authors who described the 1777 miniature realized and acknowledged this simple fact. In his biography of Mozart Robert W. Gutman writes: "It stands within the bounds of possibility that the portrait of Mozart he himself commissioned for her survives as the miniature in Augsburg's Mozarthaus. Yet, the physiognomy troubles: if it is Mozart's, the artist has much refined the cast of the features; but Mozart may have insisted on an idealized image." Of course the people at Sotheby's have to boost the sale price and thus cannot afford to assume the more restrained perspective of impartial art historians. How they describe the lack of technical quality in a poorly executed mass product as "the portrait is of touching simplicity and freshness", is very amusing. The "genius for humour as Mozart's most defining characteristic" that these experts claim to see, simply results from the light smile which was supposed to always appear on these standardized portraits.

Here is another "never before seen Mozart portrait of virtually unparalleled importance. Mozart gazes directly at the viewer with intelligent, large blue eyes, a playful and open expression on his features. No other portrait of the composer perhaps conveys as this does what might be called Mozart's most defining characteristic, above and beyond his feeling for form and beauty."


Of course this is not a Mozart portrait. It is a portrait of Joseph II in the popular tradition of Joseph Ducreux which recently was on sale at an auction at the Salzburg Dorotheum. I am using it here, because it is the same type of a stylized mass product as the doll-like face on the Mozart miniature.

Sotheby's overblown marketing campaign for the sale of this miniature is an embarrassment for the company. The owner of the painting deserves to get a reasonable sale price. But the methods that were applied in this case do not belong into the more glorious chapters of art-dealing.

"Don't worry, ivory Mozart portraits are not affected by gravity!" (a picture published in the Salzburger Nachrichten on 20 October 2014)



Update (20 November 2014): The miniature did not reach the lowest estimate price and was sold for 180,000 GPB (218,500 GBP with buyer's premium).

Nov 16, 2014

"The Young Franz Schubert": An Ineradicable Misidentification

In June 2014 Sony Music Japan released the following recording of music by Franz Schubert:


The source for the picture on the cover of this CD is the following curiosity from the database of the Lebrecht Music & Arts picture library:


The misspelling of Leopold Kupelwieser's name already shows that as far as the attribution of this portrait is concerned Lebrecht's database is not to be trusted. This picture is not a portrait of Franz Schubert. It is one of two existing portraits of the Austrian physician Karl Joseph Maria von Hartmann (1793-1876).

The misidentification has been revealed decades ago in several scholarly articles all of which have been thoroughly ignored by Schubert scholarship and even more consistently by the general public. When you publish an article in German in the journal of the International Schubert Institute, you might as well not publish anything at all, because 95 percent of Schubert scholars do not understand Schubert's language. So much for the "proper dissemination" of scholarly work by publishing articles in print. The essential literature concerning the false Schubert portrait consists of the following articles:
  • Deutsch, Otto Erich. 1961. "Zum angeblichen Schubert-Bildnis von 1813". In Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Galerie 49. Vienna: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere 1961, 24.
  • Barchetti, Theodor. 1981. "Die Familien v. Hartmann und v. Barchetti. Eigentümer des Hauses Wels, Pfarrgasse 15, im 19. Jahrhundert". In Festschrift Kurt Holter. 23. Jahrbuch des Musealvereines Wels. Wels: Verlag Welsermühl 247-269.
  • Steblin, Rita. 1992. "Die Atzenbrugger Gästelisten - neu entdeckt". In Schubert durch die Brille 9 (Mitteilungen des Internationalen Schubert Instituts 9). Tutzing: Schneider, 65-80.
  • Steblin, Rita. 1993. "Nochmals die Atzenbrugger Gästelisten". In Schubert durch die Brille 10. Tutzing: Schneider 1993, 35-41.
  • Worgull, Elmar. 1996. "Zwei Fehlzuschreibungen in der Schubert-Ikonographie". In Schubert durch die Brille 16/17. Tutzing: Schneider, 158-171.
  • Worgull, Elmar. 1999. "Kunsthistorische Untersuchungsmethoden als ein interdisziplinärer Aspekt in der Schubert-Ikonographie". In Schubert und seine Freunde. Eva Badura-Skoda (ed.), Wien-Köln-Weimar: Böhlau, 343-360.
  • Worgull, Elmar. 2001. "Schuberts unbekannter Nachbar in Kupelwiesers Aquarell 'Der Sündenfall'". In Schubert durch die Brille 26. Tutzing: Schneider, 101-108. 
  • Lorenz, Michael. 2001. "Erwiderung auf Elmar Worgulls Replik". In Schubert durch die Brille 26. Tutzing: Schneider, 109f. 

The Origin of the Misidentification

The false Schubert portrait was first published by Otto Erich Deutsch in 1913 as "Angebliches Schubert-Bildnis von Leopold Kupelwieser [?] aus dem Jahre 1813" ("supposed Schubert portrait by Leopold Kupelwieser [?] from 1813") in the book Franz Schubert. Sein Leben in Bildern.

 

The basis for the identification of this drawing, which in 1891 was bought at an auction by Prince Johann von Liechtenstein, is an inscription on its back which between 1888 and 1891 was applied by two of Schubert's half-brothers. Its translation reads as follows: "Franz Schubert in the 16th year of his life. Original chalk drawing by the friend of his youth Leopold Kuppelwieser (anno 1813). P. Hermann Schubert mp Curate and preacher at the Schottenstift. Andreas Schubert mp Senior accountant in the I&R Ministry of Finance as Franz Schubert's brother". Deutsch was very sceptical concerning the credibility of this testimony. After all at the time of Schubert's death his half-brothers Eduard (the future Pater Hermann) and Andreas had only been two and five years old. The attribution to Kupelwieser was dubious as well, because Schubert became acquainted with the painter only around 1820. In spite of Deutsch's doubts and the fact that it had never been reliably attributed, the drawing was accepted as Schubert portrait by the general public. This error was also promoted by several authors of popular books – such as Kurt Pahlen in his Die Große Geschichte der Musik – where the portrait is described as "Porträtskizze[sic!] des jugendlichen Franz Schubert von dem Wiener Maler Leopold Kupelwieser".

The Man at the Piano

The opinion regarding the supposed Schubert portrait experienced a fundamental change, when in 1996 the German painter and art historian Elmar Worgull in his article "Zwei Fehlzuschreibungen in der Schubert-Ikonographie" pointed out that a man with the face of the supposed "young Schubert" appears somewhere else on a painting connected with Schubert's circle: on Kupelwieser's 1821 watercolor "Der Sündenfall" ("The Fall of Man"), which shows a game of charades being played by Schubert and his friends in Atzenbrugg, where a man is sitting on the far left at the piano who is resting his arm on the instrument and putting his left hand to his chin.

Leopold Kupelwieser: Gesellschaftsspiel der Schubertianer in Atzenbrugg 1821 (Wienmuseum)

The man sitting at the piano on the far left of Kupelwieser's 1821 watercolor

Who is this man? In his 1913 book O. E. Deutsch, who obviously knew only one sentence of an entry in Franz von Hartmann's family chronicle, made a hasty and uninformed guess. He identified the "Hartmann" at the piano with the only Hartmann, who according to Deutsch's knowledge could have been present in 1821 in Atzenbrugg: the German physician Dr. Philipp Karl Hartmann (1773-1830) who was acquainted with Ernst von Feuchtersleben and at some time was involved in the medical treatment of Johann Mayrhofer and Franz von Spaun. The other Hartmann among Schubert's friends, Franz von Hartmann could be ruled out, because he was born in 1808. In his 1964 edition of the Schubert Dokumente Deutsch repeated this misidentification which is a classic example of Deutsch's way of jumping to an unfounded conclusion without a bit of scientific evidence and repeating it as if he were an infallible oracle.

The false identification of the man at the piano as Philipp Karl Hartmann in Deutsch's 1913 book Franz Schubert. Sein Leben in Bildern. The name of Kupelwieser's dog was Drago.

Franz von Hartmann's Testimony

Deutsch took the information concerning the name of the man sitting at the piano from a passage in the first volume of Franz von Hartmann's "Familienchronik" (A-Wst, Jc 73234). But Deutsch – who in the preface of the first edition of the Dokumente claimed that "he had in all cases gone to the sources proper" – probably never consulted the original of Hartmann's chronicle, because he published only one sentence of Hartmann's entry and failed to include the subsequent important information concerning the mysterious "Welser v. Hartmann". Summarizing and commenting his original diary from 1826 in his "Familienchronik" Franz von Hartmann writes the following:
     Den 12. [Dezember 1826] führte uns Pepi Spaun ins Burgtheater, wo wir "Der Erbvertrag" sahen, am 19. ins "Käthchen von Heilbronn" wo das Anschützsche Ehepaar so herrlich spielte.
    Am 13. besahen wir bei Schober Bilder, darunter ein schönes Aquarell von Kuppelwieser, wo Schubert am Klavier, einige Freunde, darunter Kuppelwieser selbst, dann über das Klavier gelehnt, der Welser v. Hartmann, Professor der Naturgeschichte in Olmütz, welcher später irrsinnig wurde. Als derselbe im Sommer 1825 im Irrsinn aus Olmütz fort gegangen war, kam zu mir in die Wohnung in der Jägerzeile ein Vertrauter der Polizei, und wollte von uns, da wir den gleichen Namen trugen, wissen wohin sich dieser Hartmann gewendet habe. Diese Welser Hartmann stammten aus Bayern, ihr Vater oder Großvater war ein Protomedicus in Linz gewesen u. in der Vorstadt in Wels war das schöne Haus der Familie mit großem von der Stadtmauer eingerahmten Garten, wohin ich während meiner Welser Dienstzeit 1854-1865 oft kam, zu Bar.[on] Pilati u. zum Kreisingenieur Hackher.
On December 12th, 1826 Pepi Spaun led us into the Burgtheater where we watched "Der Erbvertrag", on the 19th to "Käthchen von Heilbronn" where the Anschütz couple acted so marvelously.
       On December 13th at Schober's we looked at paintings, among them a beautiful watercolor by Kupelwieser, where Schubert is at the piano, a number of friends, among them Kupelwieser himself, then, leaned over the piano, von Hartmann from Wels, the professor of natural history in Olmütz, who later went insane. After in summer of 1825 this man had left Olmütz in insanity, a police confidant came to my apartment in the Jägerzeile and, because we had the same family name, wanted to know from us, where this Hartmann had gone. These Hartmanns in Wels hailed from Bavaria, their father or grandfather had been a protomedicus in Linz and the family's beautiful house with a garden surrounded by the town wall was located in the suburb in Wels, where during my service in Wels between 1854 and 1865 I went many times, to Baron Pilati and to the county engineer Hackher.

The passage in Franz von Hartmann's "Familienchronik", dealing with his visits to the Burgtheater and to Franz von Schober's apartment on 13 December 1826 where he saw Kupelwieser's watercolor from 1821 (A-Wst, Jc 73234, vol. 1, 339-40)

Moritz von Schwind: Franz von Hartmann (sketch for one the lunettes in Schwind's illustrations of "Die Sieben Raben)

In 1981 the judge, amateur historian and genealogist Theodor Barchetti (1931-2006) published an article in the Jahrbuch des Musealvereines Wels, titled "Die Familien v. Hartmann und v. Barchetti. Eigentümer des Hauses Wels, Pfarrgasse 15, im 19. Jahrhundert" ("The Families von Hartmann and von Barchetti. Owners of the House Wels, Pfarrgasse 15 in the 19th Century"). Barchetti, whose ancestors had once owned the house in Wels which Franz von Hartmann refers to in his chronicle, drew up a detailed history of the house and a meticulous genealogy of the von Hartmann family in Wels. Being aware of Kupelwieser's watercolor and the entry in Hartmann's Familienchronik (as published by Deutsch), Barchetti easily identified "the man at the piano" as the physician Karl Joseph Maria von Hartmann (1793-1876). This major achievement was ignored by Schubert scholarship until 1992, when Rita Steblin referred to Barchetti's research in her article "Die Atzenbrugger Gästelisten - neu entdeckt" in Schubert durch die Brille 9. Steblin pointed out Deutsch's misidentification. She noted that the man at the piano cannot be Philipp Karl Hartmann, because not only does he look much too young, he also shows no resemblance to any of Philipp Karl Hartmann's known portraits. In one point Steblin was wrong however, when she wrote that "Hartmann died in madness". Hartmann became a taciturn recluse, but the lawsuit he filed in 1870 against his brother's estate proves that he was still in possession of his mental powers.

Karl Joseph Maria von Hartmann

Karl von Hartmann's father Dr. Johann Baptist Hartmann was born on 19 June 1752 in Reichenau an der Knieschna (today Rychnov nad Kněžnou). In 1777 he received his medical doctorate from the University of Vienna and moved to Wels, where he was appointed "landschaftlicher Physikus" (public health officer). On 24 July 1786 in the chapel of Feyregg Castle Dr. Johann Hartmann married Maria Anna Alterdinger with whom between 1787 and 1805 he would father nine children.

The entry concerning the wedding of Johann Baptist Hartmann 24 July 1786 (A-Wep, Tom 6, p. 25)

On 10 February 1789 Dr. Hartmann bought the house Pfarrgasse 15 in Wels, the building that is referred to as "das schöne Haus" in Franz von Hartmann's Familienchronik. In 1792 Dr. Hartmann made use of the vacancy of the Imperial throne after the death of Leopold II and sucessfully applied for a hereditary knighthood to Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, who until the accession of Francis II ran a profitable business, passing out titles without any serious examination of merits. For a fee of 450 gulden Dr. Johann Hartmann earned the right to call himself "Hartmann Edler von Sternfeld". 

Karl Joseph Maria von Hartmann – the man whose portrait gained coincidental prominence and was to grace many CD covers – was born on 29 March 1793 in Wels, the fifth child of Dr. Johann Baptist von Hartmann. His godfather was his father's best man Anton Schlossgängl von Edlenbach.

The entry concerning the baptism of Karl Joseph von Hartmann on 29 March 1793 (A-Wep, Tom. 10, p. 10)

Since Theodor Barchetti's excellent research on Karl Joseph von Hartmann (in spite of having been "disseminated properly") is still completely unknown, I hereby present a translation of the chapter in Barchetti's article that deals with Karl Joseph von Hartmann's life.
Karl Josef María [von Hartmann] is probably the most interesting, but also most tragic figure of the family. Like his brother Anton, he apparently also suffered from a psychopathic disposition which must have been hereditary in the Hartmann family. From 1806 until 1810 he attended  the gymnasium at Kremsmünster Abbey, where he lived in the seminary; There he met Franz von Schober who from 1808 until 1812 also was a student in Kremsmünster. When in 1810 Karl von Hartmann began studying medicine at the University of Vienna, he met Schober again, who at that time also lived in Vienna. This acquaintance lead to Karl von Hartmann becoming a member of the circle of "Schubertians" where Schober as one of Franz Schubert's closest friends played an important role. Thus Karl von Hartmann – who by now on 30 August 1817 had received his doctorate of medicine in Vienna – took part in the "Atzenbrugg festivals" of this circle of friends where in July 1821 he was captured in the famous watercolor by Leopold Kupelwieser "Charades in Atzenbrugg" which now is on exhibition at Schubert's birthplace. As a part of a game of charades the Schubertians reenact the Fall of Man. At the left Schubert is sitting at the piano and melodramatically accompanies the scene with his left hand. To his left, at the very edge of the picture, Dr. Karl von Hartmann sits leaning against the piano, the left hand on the chin. It is very likely the only surviving portrait of a member of this family.
      After receiving his doctorate in 1817 Dr. Karl von Hartmann – he had also trained as an ophthalmologist – worked as assistant at the chair for special natural history at the University of Vienna under Professor von Scherer; in 1818 he had applied unsuccessfully for professorships in Innsbruck and Olomouc and in 1819 in Prague. Finally, on 15 September 1821, by Imperial decree, based on unanimous recommendation by the University of Vienna he was appointed professor for general natural history and technology at the Lyceum in Olomouc which at that time, however, did not have university status. But already with Imperial decree of 9 December 1824 he was relieved of this teaching position, because "it had become apparent right after the start of the term that he lacked all gifts of communication and the ability of ordinary lecture, because of reticence and seclusion from all company of such a high degree that there is doubt whether he is still in command of his mental powers". The University of Vienna was reprimanded as to why it had proposed Dr. Karl von Hartmann primo loco, although his uncommon shyness, taciturnity and the traces of mental disturbance must have been recognizable.
      Dr. Karl von Hartmann never recovered from this blow and like his brother Anton he now led the life of an unmarried man of private means. He showed querulative inclinations when he – as Aspernig reports in 1831 – refused to transfer his eighth of his mother's house like his siblings, and did so only shortly before her death on May 1st, 1846; that he was not on good terms with his family in other matters as well, can be seen from his mother's codicil of 10 November 1839, where his inheritance was reduced to the statutory share, if he would not acknowledge the maternal will, not treat his mother and his siblings with the deserved respect or get involved in a legal dispute with the latter. After the death of his brother Ludwig he tried to use a provision in Ludwig's will that after Ludwig's death the known children of his brother Karl should receive the securities from the estate, to achieve a substitution by an entailed estate in his favor. But he lost the case that he had brought to the supreme court in 1870.
      At first Dr. Karl von Hartmann seems to have returned to Wels. But in 1854 and 1869 he also lived in Steyr in the former Capuchin monastery, outside of the city. He spent his final years at Pochendorf No. 22 near Kremsmünster, where he died on 13 January 1876 of old age. He was buried in the family vault in Wels which in 1887 fell victim to the closing of the old Wels parish cemetery. With him the family became extinct.
In the death records of the Kremsmünster parish Karl Hartmann Ritter von Sternfeld is listed as having died at the age of 83 in 1876 at Pochendorf 22. But on 25 May 1875 an Antonia Hartmann ("led. Private") also died at Pochendorf 22 at the age of 67. Was she Karl von Hartmann's housekeeper?

The entry concerning Karl von Hartmann's death on 13 January 1876 at Pochendorf 22. The deceased is described as "Dr. der Medizin, pens. kk. Lycenal Proffessor in Olmütz". The given cause of death is marasmus (A-Lla, K23, 306/1876, p. 1).

The entry concerning the death of Antonia Hartmann ("led. Private") on 25 May 1875 at Pochendorf 22. (A-Lla, K23, 306/1875, p. 3).

Discoveries and Delayed Insights

After the publication of Theodor Barchetti's research and its introduction to Schubert scholarship by Steblin the most important progress that was to be made, was to realize the resemblance between the portrait of Karl Joseph von Hartmann on Kupelwieser's Atzenbrugg watercolor and the face on the supposed "young Schubert in 1813" drawing in the Liechtenstein collection. The merit of having established this pathbreaking connection belongs to Elmar Worgull, who in his 1996 article "Zwei Fehlzuschreibungen in der Schubert-Ikonographie" (Schubert durch die Brille 16/17) dealt with the authenticity of the supposed portrait of "young Schubert". Worgull pointed out the fact that the only person on a painting from Schubert's circle that resembles the supposed portrait of "young Schubert", is the man who is leaning on the piano in Kupelwieser's watercolor of the charades at Atzenbrugg. As a matter of fact the resemblance between these two faces is so strong that it is surprising that it had not been noticed much earlier. Worgull writes: "When the two portraits which are to be compared are reduced to outline drawings, juxtaposed and then projected over each other, the congruences between the two heads are unmistakable, in spite of different drawing techniques and original sizes. To assess them as (almost) identical, will hardly provoke contradiction." Worgull called this method "isoproportional picture analysis".

Elmar Worgull's outline drawings of the two heads juxtaposed and projected over each other (Schubert durch die Brille 26, p. 108.)

Worgull continues: "Since on Kupelwieser's watercolor Schubert is unquestionably sitting at the piano and the person that is portrayed on the chalk drawing appears beside him, the chalk portrait [i.e. the "young Schubert"] cannot be a portrait of Franz Schubert. Otherwise Schubert would be sitting opposite his own dissimilar portrait." Worgull was able to prove that the supposed "young Schubert" is not a portrait of Schubert. He also presented credible arguments for a redating of this drawing from 1813 to a much later date. As far as the identity of the person on this portrait was concerned, Worgull was unable to expand our knowledge. He could not proceed further in this regard, because he had obviously failed to read Barchetti's 1981 article, where the man at the piano opposite Schubert had been conclusively identified as Dr. Karl Joseph von Hartmann. Therefore Worgull still indulged in random speculations concerning the identity of the man on the Atzenbrugg painting and presented various "Lösungsmöglichkeiten" (possibilities of a solution). He claimed that "a trace leads to Karl-Philipp Hartmann" which is of course a mistaken perspective, because an old error by O. E. Deutsch is not a trace that deserves to be followed. Based on a suggestion from Eva Badura-Skoda Worgull considered it possible that the man at the piano may be the young Moritz von Schwind and included Johann Mayrhofer and even Kupelwieser into the circle of candidates. But of course Kupelwieser can be ruled out, because he is the man in the background who personifies the tree in the ongoing game of charades.

In his 1999 article "Kunsthistorische Untersuchungsmethoden als ein interdisziplinärer Aspekt in der Schubert-Ikonographie" Worgull more or less republished his findings regarding the resemblance between the supposed "young Schubert" and the man at the piano in Atzenbrugg. He also repeated his suggestion as to the identity of this individual: "We could argue splendidly about the identity of the witness of the well-known Schubertiade which is leaning on the piano. My working hypothesis proposes (among others) Philipp Hartmann." In 2000, in my article "Dokumente zur Biographie Johann Mayrhofers" (Schubert durch die Brille 25) I took issue with Worgull's persistent error and pointed out that "his presumption (based on Deutsch) that the man at the piano on Kupelwieser's 'Fall of Man' is Philipp Hartmann, is wrong." This lead to a response from Worgull in Schubert durch die Brille 26. Worgull was unwilling to admit that he had never read Barchetti's article and claimed that "he had been aware of Steblin's research concerning the Atzenbrugg guest lists". He also retracted his long-standing "Philipp Hartmann working hypothesis" and presented the following tortuous excuse: "I was aware of the fact that the young man beside Schubert cannot be Philipp Karl Hartmann, because his biographical dates are already at odds with this presumption that can be found in the Schubert literature. That in my later text the name [Karl] Philipp Hartmann still appears, instead of for example Karl Josef Maria Hartmann, can be explained by a regrettable oversight of an error that can now be easily corrected. Because my primary concern in 1997 was not to definitely identify Schubert's neighbor on Kupelwiesers group picture, I restricted my published lecture to the aforementioned working hypothesis which included the overlooked careless mistake." In my reply to Worgull's response in Brille 26 I cast doubt on Worgull's excuse and reminded the readers that Worgull had ignored Steblin's and Barchetti's research in three of his earlier publications. I also pointed out that there is absolutely no reason to doubt the testimony of Franz von Hartmann who conclusively identified his namesake, the medical doctor from Wels on Kupelwieser's painting.

Karl Joseph von Hartmann is the only one of Schubert's friends who made it on CD covers without having written the words to a single Schubert song. Hyperion Records contributed even two releases to (what I chose to call) The Dr. Karl Joseph von Hartmann Memorial Project. It must be noted that these CDs were issued after Dr. von Hartmann had been identified as the man on the misattributed "young Schubert" portrait.



In 1997 Karl Joseph von Hartmann even appeared on a German stamp that was issued on the occasion of Schubert's 200th birthday.


Nov 14, 2014

The Continuing "Jeunehomme" Nonsense

In October 2014 Warner Classics released the following CD:


In the booklet of this recording the musicologist Nicolas Southon lets his stunning ignorance run wild as follows:
Did the composer originally intend to perform it himself or did he write it specifically for Miss Jeunehomme? It was certainly she who gave the work its first performance when she was in Salzburg at the end of January 1777. Little is known about this French pianist referred to in Mozart family correspondence as Jenomy or Jénomé. She came from Paris and, as such, probably embodied the broader horizons for which the composer was yearning.
No "Miss Jeunehomme" ever existed, the name being a deliberate early 20th-century invention. The nickname of Mozart's piano concerto K. 271 has been corrected to "Jenamy" since my discovery in 2004 of the identity of the person for whom Mozart wrote it. Further discussion concerning the name has become pointless, as "Jeunehomme" is a fantasy appellation invented by Théodore Wyzewa and Georges de Saint-Foix, who simply transferred «le jeune homme», their favorite place-holder for «Mozart», to a pianist whose real identity they were unable to determine. Jenamy on the other hand is what the real woman who commissioned and premiered the work was actually called, and I think one can fairly expect musicians and record producers to replace a spurious name with that of the flesh-and-blood musician for whom the concerto K. 271 was actually written.

Victoire Jenamy's death certificate (she died on 5 September 1812), issued by the City of Clermont-Ferrand for Joseph Jenamy who wanted to get married again (A-Wstm, St. Peter, Verkündakte 11/1813). The deceased, who around 1776 had left her husband, had taken her maiden name again.

The transcription of Victoire Jenamy's death certificate (with thanks to Ian Allan)

I recently had a little discussion with the embarrassingly cocky deputy editor of the BBC Music Magazine Jeremy Pound, who told me that "my work might enjoy a wider audience if I made a greater effort to publish and disseminate it properly" – the word "properly" of course referring to publications in print which (at least in the world of some bemused journalists) will always be taken into consideration by other scholars und eventually by the public. But of course this is not how things work in the real world, where people cannot be made to read scholarly articles and accept scientifically proven facts as the truth. The continuing "Jeunehomme" nonsense spread by ignorant musicologists and the recording industry is a case in point. In 2010 one clueless producer even went so far as to tweak the fantasy name "Jeunehomme" into something new:


My identification of the French pianist Victoire Jenamy (1749-1812) as dedicatee of Mozart's piano concerto K. 271 was published and disseminated as follows:
  • Lorenz, Michael. "Altes Mozart-Rätsel gelöst". In Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, 3-4/2004, 78.
  • Van Gelder, Lawrence. "Mozart by Its Rightful Name". The New York Times, 15 March 2004.
  • Lorenz, Michael. Program note for Robert Levin's and Roger Norrington's concert with the RSO Stuttgart on 18 March 2004 at the Wiener Konzerthaus.
  • Lorenz, Michael. An online publication of an English translation of this program note (March 2004).
  • Lorenz, Michael. "The Jenamy Concerto". In Newsletter of the American Mozart Society, vol. IX (January 2005), 1-3.
  • Lorenz, Michael. "»Mademoiselle Jeunehomme«. Zur Lösung eines Mozart-Rätsels". In Mozart Experiment Aufklärung. Essays for the Mozart Exhibition 2006, (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, Da Ponte-Institut 2006), 423-29.
  • Lorenz, Michael. "Wolfgang Amadé Mozart. Klavierkonzert Es-Dur KV 271 »Jenamy«. Program note for Alfred Brendel's final concert (with the VPO conducted by Charles Mackerras) at the Vienna Musikverein on 18 December 2008.
  • Lorenz, Michael. "Alfred Brendel's Final Program Note" (English translation of the original program note, published online on 26 August 2012). 


The name "Jeunehomme concerto" did not originate in a misunderstanding or through "a corruption of a name" (as some ignoramuses claimed). The name is a total fabrication. Most authors who dealt with this issue in the last decade, either did not read my publications, or simply did not understand this central point. Some Mozart handbooks which were published in the 2006 Mozart Year included my discovery, some authors included it – for reasons of jealousy – without giving my name (as if the truth had dawned on Mozart scholarship based on some mysterious "collective wisdom") and some of them ignored it altogether.

The "Jenamy" entry on p. 232 of The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia (Cambridge University Press 2006). The author does not provide a bibliographic source, because he has obviously received his knowledge from a messenger that visited him in a dream.

On the occasion of the publication of his book Über Musik. Sämtliche Essays und Reden in 2005 Alfred Brendel, who of course is far above the pettiness of some scholars, even updated his 1985 essay "Ermahnungen eines Mozartspielers an sich selbst" ("Admonitions of a Mozart Performer to Himself") to include my discovery. In this essay Brendel writes:
Wer die mysteriöse »Mlle Jeunehomme« war, ist dank der Nachforschungen von Michael Lorenz inzwischen geklärt: Sie hieß Victoire Jenamy, wurde in Straßburg 1749 geboren und war das älteste Kind des Tänzers Jean Georges Noverre. Mysteriös geblieben ist die plötzliche höchste Meisterschaft, die sich in dem für sie komponierten Werk entfaltet.
Thanks to the research of Michael Lorenz the identity of the mysterious »Mlle Jeunehomme« is now clarified: Her name was Victoire Jenamy. She was born in 1749 in Strasbourg and was the eldest child of the dancer Jean Georges Noverre. What remains mysterious however, is the sudden highest mastery that unfolds in the work composed for her.


Very soon after in May 2003 I had discovered the truth about K. 271 and Madame Jenamy I decided not to become the "Jenamy police" who would call out all the uninformed musicians and recording producers who refuse to accept the historical facts. After all I have more important things to do than to pursue this kind of propaganda work. But as time went by I had to realize that the continuing use of the nonsensical fantasy name "Jeunehomme" is a grave injustice towards the artist who paid Mozart good money for composing one of the greatest masterpieces of classical music. We simply owe it to Victoire Jenamy to give her name together with the concerto that she commissioned.

The signatures on Joseph Jenamy's and Victoire Noverre's 1768 marriage contract (A-Ws, Merkantilgericht, Fasz. 3, 1. Reihe, lit J, Nr. 2). The undersigned persons are: Joseph Jenamy (1747-1819), Victoire Noverre, the guardian of the groom and merchant Leopold Wührer (1712-1776), Noverre's landlord Franz Xaver von Stegnern (1704-1772), the jeweler and brother-in-law of the groom's stepmother Joseph Fleischhäckl (1700-1795), the state official and poet Franz Heufeld (1731-1795) and "comme pere de l’epousée“ Jean Georges Noverre. This document was first published in my article "»Mademoiselle Jeunehomme«. Zur Lösung eines Mozart-Rätsels". In Mozart Experiment Aufklärung. Essays for the Mozart Exhibition 2006.

The 1768 marriage entry of Joseph Jenamy and Victoire Noverre (A-Wd, Tom. 64, fol. 206v)
dispensati in tribus
Denunc:
[iationibus] et Sp[on]sa etiam
in defu domicilij
depos:
[ito] lib:[ertatis] juram:[ento]
cop:
[ulati] sunt 11. Sept:[embris] [1768]
a C
[hori]m[a]g[i]stro.

Der Wohl Edle H:[err] Joseph Jenamÿ Bürg:[erlicher] Handels
Man led:[igen] St.[ands] geb: alhier des Hl: Franz Jenamÿ
Bürgl: Handelsmans et Franciscæ Ux:[oris] ehl: H:[err] Sohn
obtinuit veniam ætatis et declarationem fuit majorrenis
ab Aug
[ustissi]mo teste Leopoldo Wirer. Cambij Judice
et ejus majore.

    Mit der Wohl Edlen J:[ungfer] Victoria Noverre geb:[ürtig]
Von Straßburg. durch 15. Monath allhir des Johan Georg
Noverre K K: Ballet M[ei]st[e]rs Ludovicæ Ux:[oris] ehl:[iche] T:[ochter]
P:P:[arentes] sponsæ ambo adfuerunt in copulatione.
Testes. H:[err] Joseph Fleischhackel K: K: Jubilir
Hl: Baron Xaverius Freÿher V. Stenger[sic]. H:[err]
Franz Heüfeld K: K: Rechnungs officir.

And by the way: there is no proof that Victoire Jenamy ever visited Salzburg.



Note to journalists: owing to lack of time and peers this post was not peer-reviewed.

Nov 6, 2014

Mathias Jakesch's Place and Date of Birth

It is sometimes intriguing to figure out how certain errors find their way into biographical research. According to the standard literature on Viennese instrument makers the piano builder Mathias Jakesch was born "ca. 1783 in Loschin (Moravia)":

The beginning of the entry about Mathias Jakesch on p. 228 of Rudolf Hopfner's book Wiener Musikinstrumentenmacher 1766 – 1900 (Tutzing: Schneider, 1999)

This information is based on an entry on p. 147 of Helga Haupt's Wiener Instrumentenbauer von 1791 bis 1815 (Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 24, Vienna 1960).


"Loschin in Moravia" as Jakesch's place of birth is given on several web sites. In 2001 the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San José State University acquired an original Jakesch piano from 1827 which is presented on the Center's homepage as follows.

The Ira F. Brilliant Center's presentation of Mathias Jakesch's 1827 piano, giving "Loschin near Brno" as Jakesch's place of birth. Contrary to the information on this page Jakesch's uncle Johann was not born in 1763, but in 1755. The typo "Mathais" in the headline is symptomatic.

The Beethoven Center's 1827 piano by Mathias Jakesch

On the American Beethoven Society's website we read: "A piano and organ maker, Mathias Jakesch was born around 1783 in Loschin near Brno, Moravia. He died 14 July 1828 in Vienna at age 45. He lived in Vienna auf der Wieden, Kirchengasse 182." There is one small problem with Mathias Jakesch's supposed place of birth: a Moravian village named "Loschin" does not exist.

When Helga Haupt tried to identify Mathias Jakesch's place of birth she checked the death register of the Vienna City Council and found the following entry:

The entry concerning Mathias Jakesch's death in the Vienna death register (A-Wsa, TBP 163, IJ, fol. 7v). The house Wieden 187 (today Neumanngasse 4) belonged to Beethoven's publisher Sigmund Anton Steiner and his wife Anna.
                                     14t [Juli 1828]
Jackesch H[err] Mathias, bgl Instrumentenmacher v. Losch in / Mähren geb.[ürtig] im Stein[erischen]h:[aus] N 182. a[uf] d Altwieden / a.[n] d. Lungenschwinds:[ucht] alt 45 Jr. Konstantin
Jackesch Mr. Mathias, civil maker of musical instruments, born in Losch in Moravia in the house of Mr. Steiner No. 182 on the Old Wieden of pulmonary consumption, aged 45 years. Konstantin [coroner]
This document shows that the mysterious village "Loschin" in Moravia is what Helga Haupt made of "Lösch in Mähren" (today Líšeň which in 1919 became a district of Brno).

The words "Losch in" in the Totenbeschauprotokoll which Helga Haupt turned into "Loschin"

The flawed "Loschin" information has been corrected by Rudolf Hopfner in his article on the  Jakesch family in the Österreichisches Musiklexikon. But this encyclopedia is only available in few libraries outside of Austria and it is rarely taken into account by musicologists, because of the huge number of errors it contains.

The entry concerning Mathias Jakesch's christening at St. Giles' Church in Líšeň shows two things:
  1. Mathias Jakesch was born on 15 February 1784, son of the "Straßenaufseher" (street custodian) and "Häusler" Franz Jakesch (b. 1759) and his wife Catharina, née Noß (b. 1766).
  2. Mathias Jakesch was not born in Lösch (where he was baptized), but in the house No. 190 of the neighboring village of Latein (Slatina which today is also a district of Brno).
Mathias Jakesch's baptismal entry in the Líšeň church records (Moravský zemský archiv Brno, Brno-Líšeň 17604, pag. 295). Note the location "Lateinae".

There is still no docuimentary proof that the piano builder Johann Jakesch (1755-1840) was really Mathias's uncle, although a family relationship seems to have existed, because in 1837 Johann Jakesch (together with the piano builder Kaspar Lorenz) served as best man at the wedding of Mathias's younger brother, the piano builder Franz Jakesch (b. 10 October 1803) in the parish church of Schottenfeld (Pfarre Schottenfeld, Tom. 15, fol. 26). Johann Jakesch was born on 6 June 1755 in Malostowitz (today Malhostovice) near Brno and was baptized in Tschepin (today Čebín).


The entry concerning Johann Jakesch's baptism on 6 June 1755 in Malostowitz. Johann's father Lorenz Jakesch was a weaver. (Moravský zemský archiv Brno, Čebín 1059, p. 159).

We do not know if Johann was a brother of Mathias's father, the street custodian Franz Jakesch who 30 years later lived about 15 kilometers away in Latein near Brno. The alleged family relation was put into existence by Franz Gräffer in vol. 3 of his 1845 book Kleine Wiener-Memoiren, where he describes how the samaritan Johann Jakesch adopted his brother's nine children:

 Franz Gräffer's description of Johann Jakesch's exemplary behavior. The "gottergebene Frau Buchholz" ("the pious Mrs. Buchholz") referred to at the beginning is Anna Buchholz who in 1809 inherited 100 gulden from Joseph Haydn.
Jakesch.
If we already had the Bürger-Plutarch, whose creation has been suggested many times (the life and deeds of deserved Viennese citizens from the middle class), some substitutes and a number of new heroes would be in store. [...] Many new individuals could be added. Among them the piano maker Johann Jakesch, who died on 25 March 1840 at the age of eighty-seven. Born in the area of Brno, he came to Vienna as a poor apprentice carpenter. He was industrious, frugal, God-fearing and righteous; he learned the art of piano making, excelled in his craft, received many orders. Haydn and Mozart became his friends; had their pianos made by him, recommended him everywhere. In spite of being illiterate, he advanced his business in such a way that he came into the possession of two houses. He was cheerful, friendly, obliging, liked to tell stories from his life, and loved to speak in doggerel. He was cordial and sympathetic, but harsh against his closest relatives, for which he might well have had his reasons. As far as his serious duty as a Christian was concerned, he did not fail and showed himself to be noble and generous. Worthy of praiseful recognition and everlasting memory, as a shining example for many well-off family members is the following feature: His brother, a poor fellow, died in Moravia. He left nine children, of whom the oldest was eleven years old. What should become of these deplorable orphans? Instantly Jakesch hurries to Moravia, settles the domestic affairs, and takes all nine children with him as a father, as a tender father. He has them educated; he teaches the boys his craft; establishes and secures their future. Indeed, such characters should not fall into oblivion!
 Johann Jakesch's signature and seal (A-Ws, Mag. ZG, A2, 4819/1811)

What Gräffer of course could not know was the fact that seven months after the death of his first wife Anna in 1811 Johann Jakesch had made the mistake of marrying again. His second wife was the widow Elisabeth Fingerl, a sister of the capellmeister Johann Georg Lickl. The marriage turned out to be a disaster and when Jakesch's second wife died on 24 March 1815, the couple had already separated and was in the final stage of a divorce. The rift between them was so deep that the widower refused to sign  his deceased wife's probate papers.

A note on the probate records of Johann Jakesch's second wife: "To be noted: the signature of the widower is missing, because he refused to sign." (A-Ws, Mag. ZG, A2, 3601/1815)

As far as Johann Jakesch's adoption of his brother's nine children is concerned, part of Franz Gräffer's story is corroborated by the sources. Mathias Jakesch's younger siblings were orphaned in 1809, when their parents died within five days. Catharina Jakesch died on 6 October 1809 of exhaustion, her husband Franz died on 11 October 1809 of dropsy.

The entry concerning the death of Mathias Jakesch's mother Catharina on 6 October 1809 of "Abzehrung" (Moravský zemský archiv Brno, Brno - Líšeň, sv. Jiljí 17625, p. 136)

The entry concerning the death of Mathias Jakesch's father Franz on 11 October 1809 of "Wassersucht" (Moravský zemský archiv Brno, Brno - Líšeň, sv. Jiljí 17625, p. 137)

A conscription sheet of Johann Jakesch's house Wieden No. 78 (today Wohllebengasse 15) from between 1805 and 1811 lists several of Johann Jakesch's adopted relatives. At the top left Johann Jakesch is given as owner of the house. Then follows Jakesch ("v Malostowitz in Mähren") and the names of his two wives (the second one described as "getrennt gestorben"), his only son Georg ("Instrumentenmacher v Alstergasse, verh., komt vor, mittl[erer] Schwächling"). Mathias Jakesch is listed twice, once as "Ziehsohn", "Bruders Sohn" and "Instrumentenmachergesell von Frauenfels in Mähren", once as "Bruders Sohn Instrumentenmachergesell mittl. v Lösch b Brünn, angenommen [adopted]"). Then follow Ignaz ("Angenommen"), Anna Franziska ("Ziehtochter"), Martin ("Anverwandter in d Lehr bey Militär gestorb[en] in Italien"), Franz ("d[etto] in d Lehr"), Apolonia ("in d Kost") and what seems to be a Veronica Jakesch. The years of birth of some children prove that Gräffer's information concerning the age of the youngest child was correct.

The family of Johann Jakesch and his adopted children on a conscription sheet of the house Wieden No. 78. The children's names are crossed out because ar some time they moved out from their uncle's house. (A-Ws, Konskriptionsamt, KB Wieden 78/1r)

After having received the City's official permission to work as a piano builder, Mathias Jakesch on 21 October 1811 married Walburga Kreb, the daughter of a state official from Burgau in Bavaria. His marriage contract shows that he was unable to even write his name. Jakesch signed with three Xs and his name was written by Karl Klose "als ersuchter Namensunterschreiber des H[errn] Mathias Jackesch und Zeuge".

The seals and signatures on Mathias Jakesch's and Walburga Kreb's 1811 marriage contract (A-Ws, Mag. ZG, A10, 407/1828)

Between 1812 and 1826 Mathias Jakesch and his wife had seven children of whom five were still alive at the time of Jakesch's death on 14 July 1828. Conrad Graf became the guardian of those children and Walburga Jakesch continued to run her husband's business until 1839. But a detailed biography of Mathias Jakesch is not the main topic of this blogpost.