(b Butschowitz [now Boskovice], Moravia, 4 April 1804; d Vienna, 28 June 1857). Austrian music historian, pianist, composer and teacher. He had some piano lessons as a child, and in 1822 went to Vienna to study medicine while taking instruction in the piano from Anton Halm and in composition from Seyfried. After deciding on a music career in 1827, he taught the piano for many years and in 1833 joined the staff of the conservatory of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. Although well known in his lifetime as a pianist and composer, he is remembered chiefly as a collector and as the author of several articles and monographs, including a history of piano building (Vienna, 1853). His library, one of the great private collections of the century, contained a large number of published scores, books on music theory and music manuscripts. Most of the major composers of the 18th and early 19th centuries and many of the minor ones were represented in manuscript; the concentration of manuscript sources for the works of J.S. Bach was especially impressive, including nearly 200 cantatas. After Fischhof's death his library was bought by the Berlin music dealer Julius Friedlaender, who sold most of it to the Berlin Royal (now State) Library.
Die musikalische Bibliothek des verstorbenen Professors Josef Fischhof in Wien (Vienna, 1858)
R.Schaal: ‘Dokumente zur Wiener Musiksammlung von Joseph Fischhof: ihre Erwerbung durch die Berliner Staatsbibliothek’, MJb 1967, 339–47
V.Schwarz: ‘Josef Fischhof und das Wiener Klangideal um 1840’, Der klangliche Aspekt beim Restaurieren von Saitenklavieren: Graz 1971, 105–17
D.P.Johnson: Beethoven's Early Sketches in the ‘Fischhof Miscellany’: Berlin Autograph 28 (diss., U. of California, 1978)
Fischietti [Fischetti], Domenico
(b Naples, ?c1725; d ?Salzburg, after c1810). Italian composer. He studied at the Conservatorio di S Onofrio under Leo and Durante. Florimo listed an opera by him, Armindo (Naples, 1742), performed when he was still a student (unless it was in fact by his father). Comic operas by him were given at Naples in 1749 and 1752 and Palermo in 1753. He then settled in Venice and began a collaboration with Goldoni that in the next four years produced four extremely successful comic operas: Lo speziale (the first of its three acts was composed by Vincenzo Pallavicini), La ritornata di Londra, Il mercato di Malmantile and Il signor dottore, all of which were widely performed in Italy and elsewhere, remaining popular throughout the 1760s.
Fischietti seems to have been in Prague by 1762, working with the Molinari opera company. He is definitely known to have been part of Bustelli’s company, which began working there in 1764. A manuscript (in D-Dl) contains arias by him from several opere serie apparently performed there, although three are otherwise unknown (Zenobia, 1762; Olimpiade, 1763; Alessandro nell’Indie, 1764). Whether these were pasticcios or entirely composed by Fischietti is uncertain. Three other operas by him are definitely known to have been performed in Prague between 1763 and 1765. When the Bustelli company began performing in Dresden, Fischietti was also active there. In April 1765 he was engaged as court Kapellmeister (partly because he was prepared to accept a rather low salary). In this post he presented a revised version of Il mercato di Malmantile (1766) and composed an oratorio, La morte d’Abele (1767) and some small dramatic works, but no new full-scale operas.
Fischietti seems not to have been an effective Kapellmeister and in 1772 his contract was not renewed. He went to Vienna, where on 5 September the new Archbishop of Salzburg engaged him as Kapellmeister with a three-year contract. Again he seems not to have given entire satisfaction; he was still named in the court calendar as titular Kapellmeister between 1776 and 1783, but Rust was engaged as Kapellmeister in 1777 (remaining only briefly). Fischietti attempted to resume his career as an opera composer in Naples (1775, 1777) and Venice (1778), apparently without much success. Between 1779 and 1783 he taught at the Institut der Domsängerknaben in Salzburg. After Gatti’s appointment as court Kapellmeister, Fischietti’s name disappeared from the court calendar, but according to Villarosa he was still living in Salzburg in 1790, and, according to Florimo, as late as 1810.
Fischietti was a composer of importance only during the brief period in the 1750s when he produced his four famous comic operas. He was one of several composers trained in Naples who found success in Venice during the period of Galuppi’s domination of the opera there (Ciampi and Cocchi having preceded him). Although Engländer has analysed his important operas in considerable detail, it still remains to set his work in a larger framework and to ascertain the extent to which he combined such characteristics as can be identified as Venetian and Neapolitan. The popularity of these works lasted until they were outmoded by the more modern style of the younger generation, of Paisiello, Guglielmi and others, a change regretfully acknowledged in La Borde’s description (1780) of Fischietti as ‘one of those good masters who lived through the change from the former taste, but was too old to change his own. His beautiful music now appears too simple and too bare, but it gives great pleasure to connoisseurs’.
music lost unless otherwise stated
dramma per musica
Armindo (commedia per musica), Naples, Florentini, wint. 1742
L’abbate Collarone (commese chiamma, P. Trinchera), Naples, Pace, carn. 1749; rev. as Le chiajese cantarine, Naples, carn. 1754, addl music by N.B. Logroscino and G. Maraucci