Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881


Václav Jan Křtitel Tomášek

Wenzel Johann Tomaschek

Tomášek, Václav Jan Křtitel (1774-1850). Czech composer. Provincial music education, moved to Prague in 1790 where he attended first the Higher Gymnasium and then the University. He became in essence the first of a whole clutch of artists belonging to a particular early nineteenth-century Prague phenomenon, that of the lawyer and philosophy trained individual who proceded to develop a career as a composer and musician. He worked as a pianist, composer and teacher to the aristocracy in Prague, gradually gaining a formidable reputation and influence on local musical life, and eventually elevating himself to the level of  what Hanslick described as the ‘Dalai Lama or musical Pope of Prague’. His most important compositions were his imaginative piano works, pioneering early romantic quasi-programmatic genres. He also wrote many songs and choral settings, the former including examples in the Czech language.