Johann Baptist Wanhal (1739–1813), was an important
classical music composer. He was born in Nechanice,
Bohemia, and died in Vienna.
Wanhal had to be a prolific writer to meet the demands
made upon him, and attributed to him are 100 quartets,
at least 73 symphonies, 95 sacred works, and a large
number of instrumental and vocal works. The symphonies,
in particular, have been committed increasingly often
to compact disc in recent times, and the best of them
are comparable with many of Haydn's. Many of Wanhal's
symphonies are in minor keys and are considered highly
influential to the "Sturm und Drang" movement of his
Around 1780 Wanhal seems to have stopped writing
large-scale instrumental music, and rather contented
himself with writing piano music for the growing middle
class, and church music. In the former category his
programmatic pieces, often related to recent events
such as "the Battle of Würzburg", "the Battle of
Abukir", and "the Return of Francis II in 1809".
Judging from the number of extant manuscripts
available, these works must have been highly popular.
Wanhal was also the most prolific writer of Masses and
other Catholic church music of his generation in
Vienna. Despite this, it appears that he was never in
the employ of any religious institution. This means
that his late Masses are both testaments to a genuine
personal faith, and evidence of how lucrative his focus
on incidental piano music must have been.
Although this piece was originally composed for
C-Clarinet, I transcribed it for Bb Clarinet & Piano