A make of piano or a second-rate Haydn? Dianne James uncovers the life and work of Austrian composer, Ignaz Joseph Pleyel to find that he might be neither. A student of Joseph Haydn, Pleyel enjoyed great success in his early career with the public and his peers, including none other than Mozart. A lull in his mid-career output was attributed to his Pleyel piano business. This was to be famously esteemed by Chopin when he occasioned to purchase on in Paris, 1839.
Pleyel made his name however as a composer. By the late 18th century his fame was almost equivalent to Haydn’s.
“What composer ever created more of a craze than Pleyel? Who enjoyed a more universal reputation or a more absolute domination of the field of instrumental music [than Pleyel]” asked the Belgian music historian François-Joseph Fétis, as he reflected on first-hand recollections of Pleyel from a mid-19th century stand-point. Fétis continues:
“During a period of over 20 years, there was no amateur or professional musician who did not delight in the inspiration of [Pleyel’s] genius; no place so isolated that his compositions were not known; no music dealer for whom he did not guarantee a living. Reproduced in all forms by the speculation of business, his music occupied the leisure of the most inexperienced student as well as of the most accomplished artist.”
PLEYEL: String Quartet in E flat, Op.2 No.4, Adagio - Ensō Quartet (Naxos 8.557497)
PLEYEL: String Quartet in B flat, Op.2 No.5, Allegro - Ensō Quartet (Naxos 8.557497)
PLEYEL: String Quartet in D Op.2 No.6, Allegro - Ensō Quartet (Naxos 8.557497)
PLEYEL: Symphony in C minor (Ben 121), Finale: Presto - Capella Istropolitana/Uwe Grodd (Naxos 8.554696)
PLEYEL: Symphonie Concertante in A (Ben 114), Adagio - David Perry, Isabella Lippi (violins), Baltimore Chamber Orchestra/Markand Thakar (Naxos 8.570320)
PLEYEL: Piano Trio in F minor (Ben 442), Allegro espressivo - Trio 1790 (CPO 777 544)
PLEYEL: Symphony in G (Ben 156), Rondo: Allegro - London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert (Chandos CHAN 9525)