Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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German family of musicians.

(1) Ferdinand Rudolph Fränzl

(2) Ignaz (Franz Joseph) Fränzl

(3) Ferdinand Fränzl



(1) Ferdinand Rudolph Fränzl

(b Innsbruck, 12 Aug 1710; d Mannheim, 5 Sept 1782). Trumpeter and viola player. His family was taken with the court of the Elector Carl Philipp from Innsbruck to Mannheim between 1717 and 1720. He was established as a trumpeter in the Palatinate orchestra in 1744, and became the leading trumpeter after some years of service. From 1747 he also played the viola in the orchestra.


(2) Ignaz (Franz Joseph) Fränzl

(b Mannheim, bap. 4 June 1736; d Mannheim, 3 Sept 1811). Violinist and composer, son of (1) Ferdinand Rudolph Fränzl. He grew up under the influence of Johann Stamitz and in 1754 became a violinist in the Palatinate orchestra. At the age of 23 he was one of the highest-paid musicians in the orchestra, receiving an annual salary of 500 florins. He was applauded at the Concert Spirituel in Paris in 1768, and won enthusiastic praise from the Mercure de France. Mozart also paid his violin playing a great compliment in a letter dated 22 November 1777. Fränzl and his orchestra partner Giovanni Battista Toeschi were promoted to the joint leadership of the orchestra in 1773. After the court moved to Munich in 1778 Fränzl became musical director of the newly founded Nationaltheater in Mannheim. That autumn he assembled the remaining members of the court orchestra, together with some amateurs, to form the Akademie-Konzerte (which remains the centre of musical life in Mannheim); for it Mozart began composing, though never completed, his Concerto for Piano and Violin kAnh.56/315f. Fränzl may therefore be credited with the reorganization of the town’s musical life on a civic basis. As musical director of the Nationaltheater during its most flourishing period, under Dalberg, he was obliged to suspend his activities as a soloist and composer. He was, according to Lipowsky, one of the finest violinists of his day and through his pupils, who included Friedrich Wilhelm Pixis (i), exerted an influence on the style and technique of Rode and Kreutzer.

Most of Fränzl’s works were published in Paris and London. He wrote a mass, about six symphonies, nine ballets, seven violin concertos, four string quartets, duets for two violins, and six sonatas for two violins and cello. The surviving works are in the style of the second generation of the Mannheim school, and show a personal idiom only in Fränzl’s preference for the relative minor in slow movements and modulation sections.


(3) Ferdinand Fränzl

(b Schwetzingen, 24 May 1767; d Mannheim, 27 Oct 1833). Violinist and composer, son of (2) Ignaz Fränzl. He studied with his father, and when he was ten his violin playing aroused interest at an academy in Mannheim. He first won recognition as a virtuoso during numerous European tours; he played in Vienna, Paris, and cities in Switzerland and Italy. He took lessons in composition with Franz Xaver Richter and Ignace Pleyel in Strasbourg, and with Stanislao Mattei in Bologna. In 1789 he was appointed leader of the Munich court orchestra. In 1792 he became orchestral leader in Frankfurt and also leader of the private orchestra of a merchant named Bernard in Offenbach, where he made friendly contacts with the publishing firm of André. In 1802 he resumed concert tours to Vienna, Poland and (until 1806) Russia, where he enjoyed the favour of the tsar. After the death of Carl Cannabich (1 May 1806) he took over the post of music director at the Munich court, and from December 1823 that of Kapellmeister. He retired in 1826 and spent a year in Geneva before returning to Mannheim in April 1827.

Ferdinand Fränzl was the most important German violinist of Spohr’s generation. Although his technique was French in style, he exerted an indirect influence even on Spohr’s playing through his own pupil, Franz Eck. As a conductor he won the friendship of Weber, whose works he championed in Munich. Among Fränzl’s compositions the violin concertos and a few overtures were especially popular.



Die Luftbälle, oder Der Liebhaber à la Montgolfier (Spl, 2, C. Bretzner), Mannheim, 15 April 1787

Macbeth (incid music, W. Shakespeare), Mannheim, 1788

Adolf und Clara (operetta, 1, after B.-J. Marsollier des Vivetières), Frankfurt, 1800

Die beiden Gefangenen, Mannheim, 1802, lib (Frankfurt, 1800)

Carlo Fioras, oder Der Stumme in der Sierra Morena (op, 3, W. Vogel), Munich, Hof, 16 Oct 1810

Hadrian Barbarossa (op, 3, G. Wohlbrück), Munich, Hof, March 1815

Die Weihe (Festspiel, A. Klebe), Munich, Hof, 12 Oct 1818

Der Fassbinder (Spl, 1), Munich, Hof, 21 Dec 1824

Der Bandit (Spl, 2, after K. Ritter), Mannheim, National, Dec 1835

Der Einsiedler (Spl, 3), unperf.

other works

Vocal: Das Reich der Töne (cant.); 12 Songs (B.A. Weber), 1v, pf (Speyer, 1784); Lieder mit Melodien für Clavier, 1v, pf (Mannheim, 1787); [6] Neue Lieder, 1v, pf (Strasbourg, n.d.)

Orch: Ov., op.19; 9 vn concs., opp.2–9, 13, most pubd (Offenbach, c1795); 3 vn concertinos; Sym., str

Chbr: 9 qts, 2 vn, va, b, 6 as op.1 (Offenbach, 1791), 3 as op.6 (Charenton, c1800); 6 Romances, vn, pf, op.10 (Moscow, c1802); 3 airs russes variés, 2 vn, va, b, op.11 (Paris, c1805); 3 Trios, 2 vn, b, op.17 (Bonn, n.d.); Variations brillantes, vn, str qt, op.25 (Offenbach, n.d.)


R. Würtz: ‘Ferdinand Fränzl’, Mannheimer Hefte (1967), no.2, pp.43–8

R. Würtz: ‘“ … ein sehr solider Geiger”: Mozart und Ignaz Fränzl’, Acta mozartiana, xvi (1969), 65–72

R. Würtz: Ignaz Fränzl: ein Beitrag zur Musikgeschichte der Stadt Mannheim (Mainz, 1970) [with complete list of works]

J. Wingenfeld: ‘Die Mannheimer Fränzls in Offenbach und Frankfurt: erste Blüte einer beginnenden bürgerlichen Musikkultur’, Mannheimer Hefte (1988), 18–21

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