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Jan Vaclav Antonin Stamic

born: 1717-06-19
died: 1757-03-27
birthplace: Nemecky Brod
diedplace: Mannheim

(German form of the name: Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz) - excellent Czech composer and violinist of worldwide importance. Thanks to his innovative approach he anticipated the new coming musical period and became a co-founder of the classical style. His colourful music and fresh and courageous ideas were admired by W.A.Mozart himself. He was also regarded as the best conductor of his times. Founder of so-called Mannheim School which raised other important composers of classical period.

The Stamic Family came from Maribor, Slovenia. The composer's grandfather came to Bohemia and settled in Pardubice in the beginning of 1660's. The composer's father was the first professional musician of the famous Stamic Family. He was organist, choirmaster and teacher at the decanal church in Nemecky Brod (today's Havlickuv Brod). Jan Vaclav Stamic was the first of 11 children. His father soon recognized his talent and became his first teacher. He elaborated his musical education in 1728-34 on his studies at the jesuit college in Jihlava. In 1735 he started studying at the University of Prague. He finished his first year of Philosophy but music was the true center of his life. Probably in 1741 during Bavarian invasion to Prague he left to Germany. In 1745 he became the first violinist and conductor of the prince elector's orchestra in Mannheim. He gathered a number of prominent musicians in his orchestra and soon it became famous all over Europe. In 1754-55 Stamic lead the orchestra to a mastership unheard ever before. At the same time, he wrote outstanding symphonic works. At the top of baroque period represented by Bach and Händel, Stamic was able to put new musical elements (that already appeared in the works of Italian, Austrian, German and old Czech masters) together and create a new artificial form.
The composer's contribution was many-sided. The synthesis, dynamics and contrast became important building elements of his works. His style includes mighty crescendos and decrescendos and he works with the contrast of two different musical ideas to develop classical sonata form. In his symphonies he also included menuet between the usual second and third part, forming standard four part cyclic sonata scheme. In the instrumentation, he extensively used wind instruments (horns and clarinet, later used by Mozart in a similar way). He also abandoned the common General Bass line and gave the Bass part the full-value role in the orchestra. His musical ideas were often influenced by Czech traditional folk music. Stamic wrote about 74 symphonies (58 of which passed on), over 100 sonatas, 14 violin and 11 flute concertos, more concertos for clarinet, tubes etc. He also composed spiritual works (masses, arias, rogations).

Work: (Selected works)
  • Missa solemnis for solo, choir and orchestra
  • Mass D-major
  • Symphony D-major
  • Symphony A flat-major
  • Symfonie avec clarinets et cors de chasse (Symfhony with clarinets and horns)
  • Six sonates choisies pour le clavecin avec un violon (6 sonatas for clavecin and violin)
  • Six sonates choisies pour violon et basse (6 sonatas for violin and bass)
  • Concert for clarinet and violin orchestra
  • Concert for tube D-major
  • Concerts pour violon et orchestre (Concerts for violin and orchestra)
  • Six trios pour deux violons et basse (6 trios for two violins and bass)
  • Six sonates a trois parties concertantes (six 3-part sonatas)
  • Trios No.1-3 (C, A and F-Major)
  • Litaniae Lauretanae C-Major for solos, choir and orchestra


Mala encyklopedie hudby (book by dr. Jar. Smolka; &kolektiv, Supraphon 1983)


Symfonie D dur "Pastoral" (MP3) (Virtuosi di Praga, cond. Oldrich Vlcek, rec. 1993, CD Universal 2004)

Last update 2012-07-03