Classical Music

Carl Stamitz: Music, Failure and Alchemy

Today is the baptismal anniversary of composer Carl Stamitz, who would have been 268 years old and a day today if he had succeeded in the last act of his amazingly productive but wholly disappointing life. You see, in addition to being a brilliant creator of music, Stamitz studied alchemy as death approached.

First some background as Stamitz isn't one of the best-known names to the casual music listener. Born in Germany in 1745, he was the son of an equally badass musical genius, Johann Stamitz. He rose quickly through the world as a composer of symphonies, operas and a really spectacular series of clarinet concertos. That's the No. 3 up there in the video, and it's an objectively powerful piece of music that remains a standard repertoire work even today. Think of Stamitz as like a somewhat underground version of Haydn...minus the corpse desecration.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner