(b Kiev, 31 March 1922). Naturalized Canadian composer of Ukrainian birth. Between 1939 and 1948 he studied composition, musicology and conducting at the Kiev Conservatory, the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin and the Brussels Conservatory. In 1949 he settled in Montreal, where he has been active as a composer, pianist and organist, and in 1955 he became a Canadian citizen. From 1967 to 1987 he was an announcer and music producer for the Russian section of Radio Canada International, and in that capacity wrote over 1000 scripts for his radio programmes ‘Canadian Music Journal’ and ‘Jazz in Canada’. He was invited to Kiev for concerts of his music in 1990 and, to celebrate his 70th birthday, in 1992. Fiala is categorical in his rejection of avant-garde idioms and insists upon the controlling logic of tonality. Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Khachaturian, all of whom he met in Kiev, were formative influences. On occasion he has drawn upon musical elements from his native Ukraine, from jazz (which he admires), and, in a handful of works written in the 1960s, from serialism. A hard working and fluent composer, Fiala had written over 250 compositions by 2000. His personal papers are at the University of Calgary and his music is available from the Canadian Music Centre. (EMC2, G. Potvin)
Publishers: BMI Canada/Bernandol (Toronto), Gordon V. Thompson (Toronto), and Waterloo Music Co. (Waterloo, Ont.)
(b Lochovitz [now Lochovice], western Bohemia, 2 March 1748; d Donaueschingen, 31 July 1816). Bohemian composer, oboist, cellist and viol player. In his youth he was bound to the service of Countess Netolická (Netolitzky) and studied the oboe in Prague with Jan Št'astný (i) and the cello with Franz Joseph Werner, who also taught Josef Reicha. There are divergent accounts of his precipitous departure from Prague and his visits to Regensburg and Vienna. From 1774 Fiala was an oboist in the Kapelle of Prince (Fürst) Kraft Ernst von Oettingen-Wallerstein in Swabia, where his colleagues included Ignaz von Beecke, Josef Reicha and Antonio Rosetti. The Wallerstein parish records mention the baptism of an illegitimate son, ‘Franciscus Xav. Josephus’, on 26 October 1776, the father being described as ‘Josephus Viola Musicus auliens’.
In 1777 Fiala was appointed oboist in the Munich Hofkapelle of Elector Maxmilian III Joseph. He met Mozart in Munich, and a lifelong friendship between the Fiala and Mozart families developed. Also in 1777, he married Josepha Prohaska, daughter of a horn player in the Munich Hofkapelle. Of their several children the sons Franz and Maximilian became musicians in the Badische Hofkapelle in Karlsruhe.
At the end of 1778 the Fialas went to Salzburg, where they stayed in the house of Mozart's birth in the Getreidegasse and Fiala became first oboist in the Kapelle of Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo. However, he was turning increasingly to the cello and the viol; he played the solo cello in the first performance in Salzburg of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail. After a ‘chest ailment’ prevented Fiala from playing the oboe for some time, the Archbishop dismissed him summarily on 31 August 1785.
Fiala now went to Vienna. According to an unsubstantiated report, one ‘Joseph Fiala’ was conductor of Prince Esterházy's wind band at this time. In 1786 he took up an invitation to visit St Petersburg, where he set up a Kapelle for Prince Orlov. On his return from Russia he made concert tours to cities including Prague, Berlin and Breslau, where he played before King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia. In 1792 Fiala became a virtuoso cellist in the Kapelle of Prince Joseph Maria Benedikt zu Fürstenberg at Donaueschingen, where the Kapellmeisters were Wenzeslaus Nerlinger (Nördlinger) and Karl Joseph von Hampeln, not Fiala himself, as has often been incorrectly stated. J.F. Reichardt described him in 1792 as ‘the best living player of the viol’.
Fiala's versatility as a composer was characteristic of the musical virtuosity of his native Bohemia. The influence of Mozart is also unmistakable, particularly his chamber music. Four string quartets formerly attributed to Mozart (ka 210–13/C20.01–20.04) and now attributed to Joseph Schuster were once thought to be by Fiala. Mozart himself was enthusiastic about Fiala's compositions. He wrote of a group of wind players in Munich: ‘You can easily tell that they were trained by Fiala. They played some of his works, and I must say they are very pretty. He has very good ideas [er hat sehr gute gedancken]’.
Thematic catalogue: C. Reinländer: Joseph Fiala: Thematisches-systematisch Werkverzeichnis (Puchheim, 1993, 2/1997) [incl. full list of modern edns]
principal sources: A-Sca; D-Bsb, DO, Mbs, Rtt
Orch: 10 syms., 1 ed. in The Symphony 1720–1840, ser. C, vi (New York, 1981); 17 concs.: 1 for vn, ob, va, vc; 1 for 2 ob; 1 for cl, eng hn; 1 for 2 hn; 5 for vc; 1 for fl; 3 for ob; 1 for eng hn/hn; 2 for bn; 1 for tpt
Chbr: 30 partitas, 5–10 wind insts; 2 qnts: 1 for ob, vn, 2 va, vc; 1 for ob, hn, 2 va, vc; 24 qts: 14 for 2 vn, va, vc, 6 as op.1 (Frankfurt, 1777), 3 as op.3 (Vienna, 1785), 3 as op.4 (Vienna, 1785); 6 for vn, 2 va, vc [4 also arr. for bn, vn, va, vc]; 4 for ob, vn, va, vc, 2 ed. in MVH, xvi (1966); 10 trios: 6 for 2 vn, vc; 1 for vn, ob, vc; 1 for viol, vn, vc; 2 for bn, vn, vc; 18 duos: 7 for vn, vc, 6 as op.4 (Augsburg, 1799); 3 for vc, db; 1 for 2 fl; 2 for fl/ob, bn; 2 for ob, vn; 2 for ob, va; Rondo, pf/hpd, vn, in H.P. Bossler, ed.: Blumenlese für Klavierliebhaber, ii (Speyer, 1783), 17–30
J.F.Reichardt: ‘Forsetzung der Berichtigungen und Zusätze zum Gerberschen Lexikon der Tonkünstler u.s.w.’, Musikalische Monathsschrift (1792), 67 only; repr. in Studien für Tonkünstler und Musikfreunde (Berlin, 1973/R), ii
L.Schiedermair: ‘Die Blütezeit der Öttingen-Wallerstein'schen Hofkapelle’, SIMG, ix (1907–8), 83–130, esp. 91, 92
L.Finscher: ‘Mozarts “Mailänder” Streichquartette’, Mf, xix (1966), 270–83
E.Hintermaier: Die Salzburger Hofkapelle von 1700 bis 1806 (diss., U. of Salzburg, 1972), 112–16
J.R.Piersol: The Oettingen-Wallerstein Hofkapelle and its Wind Music (diss., U. of Iowa, 1972), 374–403
S.E.Murray: Introduction to Seven Symphonies from the Court of Oettingen-Wallerstein, 1773–1795, The Symphony 1720–1840, ser. C, vi (New York, 1981)