Carl Philipp Stamitz (1745 – 1801), who changed his
given name from Karl, was a German composer of partial
Czech ancestry. He was the most prominent
representative of the second generation of the Mannheim
He was the eldest son of Johann Stamitz, a violinist
and composer of the pre-classical area. Born in
Mannheim, he received lessons from his father and
Christian Cannabich, his father's successor as leader
of the Mannheim orchestra.
As a youth, Stamitz was employed as a violinist in the
court orchestra at Mannheim. In 1770, he began
travelling as a virtuoso, accepting short-term
engagements, but never managing to gain a permanent
position. He visited a number of European cities,
living for a time in Strasbourg and London. In 1794, he
gave up travelling and moved with his family to Jena in
central Germany, but his circumstances deteriorated and
he descended into debt and poverty, dying in 1801.
Papers on alchemy were found after his death.
Stamitz wrote symphonies, symphonies concertantes, and
concertos for clarinet, cello, flute, bassoon, basset
horn, violin, viola, viola d’amore and different
combinations of some of these instruments. Some of his
clarinet and viola concertos are particularly admired.
He also wrote duos, trios and quartets. Two operas, Der
verliebte Vormund and Dardanus, are now lost.
Stylistically, his music resembles that of Mozart or
Haydn and is characterized by appealing melodies,
although his writing for the solo instruments is not
excessively virtuosic. The opening movements of his
orchestral works, which are in sonata form, are
generally followed by expressive and lyrical middle
movements and final movements in the form of a
Stylistically, Stamitz's music is not too far removed
from the works of the young Mozart, or those of Haydn's
middle period. Stamitz's works are characterized by
regular periods and appealing melodies, with the voices
quite often led in thirds, sixths and tenths. The
writing for the solo instruments is idiomatic and
virtuosic, but not excessively so.
Although originally created for Strings, I created this
arrangement for Woodwind Quintet (Flute, Oboe,
Clarinet, French Horn & Bassoon).