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A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Koželuch, Johann Anton

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KOŽELUCH (German Kotzeluch), Johann Anton, Bohemian musician, born Dec. 13, 1738, at Wellwarn; was Choirmaster first at Rakonitz and then at Wellwarn. Desirous of further instruction he went to Prague and Vienna, where he was kindly received by Gluck and Gassmann, was appointed Choirmaster of the Kreuzherrn church, Prague; and on March 13, 1784, Capellmeister to the Cathedral, which he retained till his death on March 3, 1814. He composed church-music, operas, and oratorios, none of which have been published. Of much greater importance is his cousin and pupil,

Leopold, born also in Wellwarn in 1754, or according to some 1748. In 1765 he went to Prague for his education, and there composed a ballet, performed at the national theatre in 1771 with so much success that it was followed in the course of the next six years by 24 ballets and 3 pantomimes. In 1778 he went to Vienna, and became the pianoforte master of the Archduchess Elizabeth and favourite teacher of the aristocracy. When Mozart resigned his post at Salzburg (1781) the Archbishop at once offered it with a rise of salary to Kozeluch, who declined it on the ground that he was doing better in Vienna. To his friends however he held different language—'The Archbishop's conduct towards Mozart deterred me more than anything, for if he could let such a man as that leave him, what treatment should I have been likely to meet with?' The respect here expressed was sadly at variance with his subsequent spiteful behaviour towards Mozart, the original cause of which is said to have been Mozart's reply to his remark on a passage in a new quartet of Haydn's 'I should not have written that so.' 'Neither should I: but do you know why! because the idea would never have occurred to either of us.' This reproof Kozeluch never forgot. He used to say that the overture to 'Don Giovanni' was no doubt fine, but that it was full of faults; and of that to 'Die Zauberflöte,' 'Well! for once our good Mozart has tried to write like a learned man.' At the coronation of the Emperor Leopold II. at Prague (1791) even his own countrymen the Bohemians were 'disgusted with his behaviour to Mozart, who was in attendance as court composer. He nevertheless succeeded him in his office (1792) with a salary of 1500 gulden, and retained the post till his death on May 7, 1811 (not 1814). His numerous compositions include 2 grand operas, 'Judith' and 'Debora und Sisara'; an oratorio, 'Moses in Ægypten'; many ballets, cantatas, about 30 symphonies, and much pianoforte music, at one time well known in England, but all now forgotten. His chief interest for us lies in his association with Mozart and Haydn.

[App. p.692 "As to the date of death the authorities are at variance, the date 1814 being supported by Dlabacz and Wurzbach, as well as by the less trustworthy evidence of Fétis and Mendel. The testimony of the first is especially weighty, since his dictionary was begun in 1815, when the date of so important a musician's death must have been well known. Almost all the authorities give May 8 as the day: Dlabacz's May 3 is probably a misprint for 8. It should be added that he arranged some Scotch songs for Thomson of Edinburgh, in allusion to which, Beethoven, in a letter of Feb. 29, 1812 (Thayer, iii. 449), whether inspired with disgust at Kozeluch's underselling him, or with a genuine contempt for his music, says, 'Moi je m'estime encore une fois plus supérieur en ce genre que Monsieur Kozeluch (miserabilis).' He again calls him 'miserabilis' (Thayer, iii. 200)."]

[ F. G. ]